Tag Archives: social networking

The Wednesday Five

In case you haven’t seen it already, Phil Plait from Bad Astronomy has written a hilarious poem in rhyming couplets called “The ABCs of Skepticism”.  Jonathan Swift, eat your heart out!

In this week’s Five, I wanted to focus on poetry tools instead of poetry databases.  The sites I’ve listed are excellent resources for helping writers, readers, and teachers to deal with complex poetic issues.

1. Wikisaurus
A little known off-shoot of the vast Wikipedia project, Wikisaurus is one of the best online thesauri out there.  I’ve got nothing against Roget’s, but the interactive nature of a wiki fits the idea of a thesaurus perfectly.  It’s like asking thousands of your closest friends, “What another word for…?”

2. Wordle
Wordle Logo

Wordle is a great site for creating “word clouds” out of your own text.  This can be great for spicing up an otherwise serious topic.  A friend of mine used a cloud from Wordle as a title page for her project on literary freedom in Iran.  Also I think that it’s important for poets to never forget that although we deal in words, much of our art is visual in some ways.  Plus, this tool is just plain fun to use!  Here’s a really great anonymous one about Spring:

3. Poetry Forge

Above is a picture of a a great flash poetry tool for metaphor, but Poetry Forge is chock full of a variety of resources for both students and teachers.  Run by the University of Virginia, this site is well-maintained and straightforward: perfect for when you start to feel bogged down by poetic challenges.

4. readwritethink
Learning Beyond the Classroom

Not to be confused with last week’s excellent readwritepoem, this site is a fantastic reading and writing guide from the International Reading Association.  Geared specifically toward education and making poetry work for teachers and students in and out of the classroom, this site is recommended especially for those of you who instruct poetry in some way.

5. twiHaiku
TwiHaiku - Twitter Poetry, the new art of words

Alright, so I’ll admit that this site doesn’t fit with today’s theme, but it fit with last Monday’s post, and I can’t go another week without mentioning it.  This pretty amazing project is part of the makeliterature.com network, a social website that offers itself up as a self-publishing medium.  With your own makeliterature account, you can submit haiku to the twiHaiku site by simply typing it into the right box, just like tweeting yourself.  Your haiku is then displayed on the @twiHaiku Twitter account.  What this creates is a network of dedicated haiku poets who collaborate to provide the Twitter community with a steady stream of original poetry.  If you can’t already tell, I’m simply brimming with excitement about this project, and watching it grow has been great fun!

And that’s it for today.  I’d like to finish by asking a question to all the poetry teachers out there: what are your favorite resources for getting your students excited about poetry?



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Of Travel, Lapses, and General Merriment

To start off I’d like to apologize for having taken such a long unexpected hiatus from blogging.  Last Wednesday I left for Minneapolis to attend the Sigma Tau Delta Convention.  In case you’ve never heard of it, Sigma Tau Delta is an honors society for English majors across the globe, but is mostly made up of American undergraduates.  Anyway, I thought I was going to have more consistent access to the internet while I was there, and this wasn’t the case.  So thanks to all who stopped by looking for articles and didn’t find them; I’ll resume my regular schedule after this post!

I don’t think of this as a space to share my personal experiences with you, but when they pertain to poetry I can’t help but fold it in.  This conference is a gathering of students from all across the country, and in addition to scholarly papers they are permitted to submit and present original works of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction.  I was accepted for an original fiction piece, and it was nice to be able to travel there and share some of my writing with the larger world.

Needless to say, I spent the better part of the week listening to a lot people read their work.  I was instantly struck by how easily technology could have improved the experience.  Sigma Tau Delta is generally a place for people on the brink, future literature scholars and creative writers who are just finishing their undergraduate degrees and represent the next wave of thinking and writing literature.  The only whiff of technology I got the whole time was a rather unsuccessful proposal for a live-blogging program.  There is no current evidence on the website that this blog even existed.  If the literary world is to move into the 20th century, we must continue to embrace technology and the ways in which it can help us. 

Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress are quick, easy ways to focus a large group of people on a single goal, but for some reason many at this particular conference seemed uneasy to try these approaches.  I’m thinking mainly of the SXSW conference, where for the past three years Twitter has been responsible for main ebb and flow of events.  Had they begun their blogging project sooner, we could have used the site as a way to familiarize ourselves with the pieces before the short readings.  Questions to panelists could have been tweeted to a special account, making it possible to participate in several panels at once.  And though I’m not a huge Facebook fan, a 2009 Conference group would have made it possible to meet people beforehand, and recognize them throughout the weekend.  These are just a few of the ways that social networking can improve conference experiences.  And in an area such as poetry, which thrives on collaboration, social experiences should be enhanced in any way possible.

Overall, the conference was wonderful.  I discovered a beautiful new city, and I enjoyed the time spent with my fellow writers and thinkers, particularly the ones who I have gone to school with for years but never really gotten to know.  I only think of all the other connections I could have made had more people there been willing to use the extraordinary tools that other groups of thinkers have already embraced.

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