Thursday, April 2, 2015

The value of blogging African American poetry news

Extending the conversation concerning the value of blogging about African American poetry, I'm inclined to mention my increased attention to documenting poetry news taking place across the course of a year. Like many people, I've often taken note of notable occurrences such as these folks winning awards or these folks publishing books. However, only after some time blogging did I take such documentation a little more seriously. 

These days, I always keep in mind that December is coming.

That is to say, I am often aware that like most folks covering news, I'll get involved in those year-in reviews or wrap-ups in December as the year closes. I've produced "the year in African American poetry" in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Prior to blogging, there was no impulse to document and then share news and events concerning black poetry in such systematic ways.

But now after becoming a regular blogger, I'm always keeping in mind that I'll need to offer some kind of recap of the year in African American poetry; thus, it's useful to keep track of things throughout the course of the year. As a graduate student and then scholar, I was aware of those occasional "state of the field" articles. Those pieces, however, almost always focused on the so-called biggest events and fairly well-known people, and considerable items were necessarily left out.

As a blogger, I've had more freedom to document and highlight a broad range of "news" items, topics that might not make the cut for an official state of the field article. I also get the rewarding feeling that I am getting a chance to bring attention to an award recipient or published volume or new development that may have previously been overlooked.

For instance, by December of this year, some people might forget that Elizabeth Alexander was appointed Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry in January or that Nathaniel Mackey received the Bollingen Prize for Poetry in February. But no worries. My "Year in African American Poetry in 2015" will offer a reminder. Inevitably, I'll miss items, and thankfully, people will contact me to let me know all the important items I forgot to mention.

Ultimately, the process of blogging about African American poetry assisted me in expanding and enhancing my capabilities as a literary historian and journalist of the field.

A Notebook on the value of blogging about African American poetry

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