View Full Version : Is the Internet changing the way we write poems?

05-09-2006, 07:10 PM
Here's a blog entry that says no:

Here's a blog entry that says maybe:

What do you think?

William Haskins
05-09-2006, 08:19 PM
great topic, though i was somewhat disappointed that the articles extended only to the positioning of lines (i do think there are other ways the internet influences the creation of poetry).

personally, i have almost always embraced a consistent left margin, and so i don't think my own work has been impacted either way. i'm interested in what others have to say...

05-09-2006, 08:53 PM
KTC, if you're a depthless hack, I shudder to think what the rest of us are.

05-09-2006, 10:07 PM
Interesting subject. I was also disappointed by the

Of course, that meant I had to do a little digging myself. This is what I could find that is pertinent to the subject. I might do a little more research later.



I think the biggest change that the internet has played in poetry is accessibility. More and more people are seeing poetry, good and bad. There are more avenues for publication, and there are more people writing because of the internet. That is just my opinion of course. I don't have any facts to back up that statement. ;)

05-09-2006, 10:10 PM
KTC, if you're a depthless hack, I shudder to think what the rest of us are.:D I was trying to figure out a way to respond to KTC's depthless hack comment. This sums it up quite well.

05-09-2006, 11:29 PM
The way we write poems or the shape we write them in?

It was odd to see someone lament the persistence of left margin writing in a day where it would be so simple to "avoid" it. As if it needs to be avoided. It is a simple matter of direct communication.

Aside from some novelty pieces, some center of page and shaped poems, the majority of written communication is left margin. Why? It's an easy and orderly read. Is that something we should abandon just because we have the processing power to do it?

I am much less likely to read something in a non standard format than I am if it hugs that margin. To have the continued use of the left margin compared to "a generation of swimmers afraid to let go of the edge of the pool" is silly. Something like asking why after all these years a bottle of beer is round. It could be square, triangular, a tetrahedron. But round fits your hand and its easy to use.

Cleverly formatted poems: There are exceptions that I do enjoy and I might read a few but! When I see one, I know it depends on something other than the strength of it's writing to communicate.

ee cummings for example. OK, he's a genius if you'd like. Everyone says so and I won't dispute it. I enjoy his straight conventionally formattted poems but I consider his
weirdly formatted poetry tiresome and gimmicky. It hurts my eyes. It's like trying to read those beer bottle cap puzzles (Lucky Lager was it?) or a page full of vanity license plates.

The way we write poetry? Certainly. The ability to gain feedback and ask for solutions to our poetical problems from people all over the globe in minutes is astounding. You had to send a poem by mail not too many years ago and wait days, weeks for a reply.

05-10-2006, 12:20 AM
I write poetry the same way I always have, however, the internet has changed it for me some, instant feedback from fellow poets, which better than the passing poetry notes back and forth to my friends in class while in h.s. (I still have all of that really terrible poetry in a binder somewhere..hidden forever hopefully!) Now instead of journals and binders I have folders on my hard drive and online doc storage for poetry and my novel MSs. For me the biggest thing with the internet's effect is convenience and instant gratification in the form of feedback. Not to mention safety of documents. They are not as easily lost, destroyed or misplaced as they used to be (and not as easily gotten into and read by people you didn't want to see them!) http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/wink.gif
Regarding margins, I've always been a left margin person. Seems to me the shape shouldn't play as much as the words do. Line hops and different margins whether a shape or simply to separate the words more definitively didn't make much sense to me, that's what punctuation is for, isn't it?
Probably the biggest change for me is the accessibility to other poets, workshops like this one, feedback changing what a poem would have been to something better, (I"ve done that several times here with the help of you fine poets). The finetuning and critique that occurs in online forums such as this one.

KTC, it would have never occured to me that some of your very fine work was "on the fly" and that it would be considered "hackish" - this may be a case of a talented person being his own worst critic! http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif

05-10-2006, 12:38 AM
Well it's my fault that the articles only extend to justification-- I probably overreached in the topic of the post.

I'm a left-margin person, too, but I've been reading a lot of George Herbert recently-- can't get much more classical than that, right?-- and he spends quite a bit of time off the left margin. So, I can't argue that indention is too hackish! :)

05-10-2006, 02:32 AM
I agree with Trish in that I write things as I always have, but the truth is that I do work with variable indentation, and breaks and pauses (either in the form of ...... or ---) that breaj up the lines in much of my verse, and I've found I have a hard time translating them to Forums like this in the exact form I wrote them in without a lot of work, (even with their center and indent options) and so I basically don't try, and what people get here is NOT identical with my printed versions of the same poems.

Other than that, the Internet, with the Forums like this and Scam sites (like Poetry.com) that are available, has provided a venue for those who want to write and are not satisfied with what the "Establishment" deems to be Poetry.

The results are sometimes good, and often awful, because most who take advantage of such are untrained, and undiciplined in the skills that "Poetry" requires, but their very existance and prolifigacy show that "Poetry" is far from being DEAD, and, I think, that bodes very well for the future.

Good topic.....Thanks for bringing it up.