The internet, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites, iPad, iPod, podcasts, digital video and who knows what else. What do they all mean for the poet qua poet? For Poetry? Is it still pretty much where the Gutenberg press left it? Is Poetry technology-proof? Below are the ten questions we are posing to a group of illustrious contemporary poets in our fearless ongoing quest to exploit other people’s wisdom in general and on this topic in particular. Read on!

1. Characterize your general attitude as a poet towards technology.

2. Do you use Facebook in your capacity as a poet? If so, how, and what are its upsides and downsides? If not, why not?

3. Do you use Twitter in your capacity as a poet? If so, how, and what are its upsides and downsides? If not, why not?

4. What other technologies – including blogs, websites and podcasts – do you employ in your capacity as a poet? Explain how, and the upsides and downsides of each. If none, explain why.

5. What do you dislike most about how other poets use technology?

6. What do you like most about how other poets use technology?

7. Technology is enabling poets today to take poetry off the page in ways that were previously inconceivable. Either comment on this piece by Tom Konyves or provide a link to and comments on a different piece of work that uses technology to take the poem off the page.

8. Do you use technology as an integral element of your poetry? If so, how? If not, why not?

9. What has technology done for or to Poetry?

10. What should Poetry do with or about technology that it has not yet done?


Eric Elshtain
Sandra Beasley
John Vick
Dave Bonta
January O’Neil
Ron Silliman
Cati Porter
Chris Hamilton-Emery
Ren Powell
Collin Kelley
Amy King

Poets who have answered the ten questions on their own blogs:

Rik Roots
Caroline Crew

19 thoughts on “

  1. [...] have a newly defined form of Poetry through which to express our grief. Be sure to check out the previous interviews by Nic Sebastian, too! var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_config.linkname="Interview on Very [...]

  2. Bill Knott says:

    um, aren’t most of the “illustrious” poets you’re interviewing deadtree poets?

    if I’m wrong, forgive me—

    some of these illustrids, don’t you have to buy their deadtree books to read their poetry; they’re not posting it on their blogs for free open access perusal, or offering their books for free in pdf downloads, are they?

    if I’m wrong, i apologize

  3. Bill Knott says:

    Beasley for example, if anyone wanted to read her poetry they’d have to buy her deadtree books, she doesn’t post all her poetry on her blog for open access perusal, and offer free pdfs of her work—

    she posts her prose on her blog, not her poetry—

    she’s an offline poet

    • Hi Bill, thanks for stopping by. I hope you noted Sandra’s response: http://bit.ly/bG5uu6

      Posting one’s work for open access perusal is one way poets can use technology, but just one way among myriad. This series is attempting to take a fairly broad look at the places where poetry and technology intersect – hope you continue to read the responses as they are posted! Best, Nic

  4. Bill Knott says:

    Beasley’s “response” was BS. I repeat my question: are any or most of these mediocrities you’re interviewing posting their work online for free open access. The only way the internet has effected their poetry is to provide a venue for them to PR promote their careers as dead tree poets—

    are any of them doing the equivalent of this:


  5. Bill Knott says:

    it’s the phoney misnomer of it I object to: if you don’t publish your poetry on your poetry blog, why is it called a poetry blog? what makes it a “poetry blog”?—

    why don’t you be honest: why not term it what it is in most cases (Beasley et al):

    a dead-tree advertisement blog,
    a pobiz career blog,
    a PR blog,
    a notification of my upcoming dead-tree publications and my readings blog—

    unlike Beasley and most of you, I post my poetry on my poetry blog, all my poetry, rough drafts and all—

    (hey, that must be why my poetry blog is never listed on the “100 Best Poetry Blogs”—)

    (isn’t that why Beasley is always on the “100 Best Poetry Blogs” list, because she never posts her poetry on her poetry blog—?)

    when are all you “poetry bloggers” going to stop lying and stop your hypocrit shit, and start admitting what your blogs really are,

    because your poetry blog without your poetry is


  6. [...] over at Very Like A Whale (a blog I thoroughly recommend) has recently been running a series about Poets and Technology. Like How a Poem Happens, the series uses the same set of questions for each poet, which creates [...]

  7. C says:

    Hi Nic, have used your technology questions as inspiration on my blog: http://wp.me/pVklI-6Y. Hope that’s ok, really enjoying the series!



  8. Rik says:

    Hey, Nic. Thanks for adding my blogpost to the standing page (though you need to add an ‘l’ to the end of the link to make it work – damn technology!)

  9. [...] Read the rest of this fine interview and take a look at the whole series. [...]

  10. Dave Bonta says:

    @Bill Knott – Some of us mediocrities do, indeed, post all our work online. It seems you’re too busy posting your usual egocentric vitriol to actually follow links.

  11. [...] of the questions in the recently-completed Ten Questions on Poets & Technology series was: “Technology is enabling poets today to take poetry off the page in ways that were [...]

  12. Thornton says:

    elsewhere in here you say you are on facebook, but i canna find the Very Like A Whale Captain! Sorry, having a Star Trek “Scotty” flashback…urm…

  13. [...] very readable interview on this subject. I suggest you read all of this one. I suggest you read the whole series. 0 I like This This entry was posted in Poets and tagged Ron Silliman, Very Like a Whale. [...]

  14. [...] TEN QUESTIONS SERIES – poets on poetry – poets on publication – poetry editors on publishing poetry – poets on technology [...]

  15. [...] find links to poets on poetry, poets on publication, poetry editors on publishing poetry and poets on technology. The ten questions used also appear along with links to the completed interviews (Christine [...]

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