Friday, May 21, 2021

Building an African American poetry project with a DH Center, Part 2

from the Poetry Tracker homepage

Meg Smith, the research professor for the DH Center at my university has been doing all the heavy and inventive lifting for my project, The African American Poetry Tracker. Meg and I began collaborating back in February, and we completed a major phase on the project on May 19 (heeey, the born day of Malcolm X). 

We did various drafts over the last few months, but Wednesday was a notable mark because Meg solved some tech obstacles with our popup functions. Also, weeks ago, she set a May 20 deadline for herself, noting that as the day I could start sending out links about our prototype. 

Twice each week, Meg holds a couple of open hours. I've always signed up to meet with her on one of those days so we could talk about the development of The Poetry Tracker. The meetings gave me chances to talk out loud about what I had in mind, rethinking elements of the project, consider short- and long-term possibilities. 

Our prototype provides a sense of where we're headed. For now however, we have presented 75 questions with the answers available in popups. We have pages for three poets, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, and Langston Hughes, and a page for anthologies. 

In the future, we'll increase the number of focal poets and anthologies. Also, we'll develop a user-interface that allows visitors to pose and hundreds of questions and receive responses about anthologies and black poetry publishing history. 


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