Whale Sound listed at Duotrope

A nice surprise out of the blue. An email from the folks at Duotrope saying:

“Dear Editor (me?!): We are writing to inform you that we have added a listing for Whale Sound to our free, online resource for fiction writers and poets.”

Here’s the Whale Sound listing. Do go over and report your responses from Whale Sound, O best and beloved submitters.

baobab girl

Finally, my tree poem chapbook, baobab girl, is READY. Now to figure out where to send it. It has 16 poems in it, nine of which have already been published in some nice places. There were 18, but I had to ditch frangipani and willow – I don’t where they thought they were going. I also abandoned the idea of titling each poem only with the English name/Latin name of each tree (which became dull, frankly). Coming up with new titles was fun, but exhausting, and I know it will result in people reading some of the poems and going, wait, this was a poem about a tree? To which I will respond: YES. They are ALL poems about trees! (In a way.)

So glad to feel that’s done, done. I have this primal urge to clear the decks, get the old stuff out, leave space for the new.

Are you a Web-Active Poet?

Okay, how’s this for a definition?

If #1 below and at least two of the remaining items accurately characterize you, you are a Web-Active Poet:

1. A good portion of your finished work is freely available online (on yours/others’ blogs/sites or in online poetry journals).
2. You check and respond to email at least once a day.
3. You have a comment-enabled blog that you update at least twice a week.
4. You have a Facebook/Twitter/other online social network account that you check/post on at least twice a week.
5. You have a website that consistently displays current contact info and material.

“celebrating the poems of web-active poets”?

Thoughts following yesterday’s post on poets & their web presence and its interesting comment stream:

We all make choices about how we want to embrace (or not) technology and social media, and there is good and honest reasoning behind almost every position. I think Whale Sound has not yet thought through exactly and honestly where *its* position is in that regard. But things are becoming clearer.

The Whale Sound motif is currently “celebrating your poems.” Given everything discussed in the earlier post, especially the essential ‘webness’ of Whale Sound and general workload issues, am now wondering whether that should not morph into “celebrating the poems of web-active poets”, or something along those lines. A motif that clearly puts Whale Sound in a specific place with regard to both solicitations and submissions.

poets & their web presence

The material on Whale Sound is generated partly through submissions (self- and third-party) and partly through solicitations. The project is a lot of fun, but also a lot of work, and I have to find ways to maximize the effectiveness of the time I have to spend on it. Submissions will carry on as they are, but one thing I’ve now decided is that I won’t be soliciting material from any poet without an active online presence.

On the conceptual plane, Whale Sound is a web-dependent project – it simply could not have existed pre-web – and focusing on web-active poets strikes me as a good way to honor the project’s essential ‘webness’. But there are some eminently practical considerations behind this decision. Here they are, wrapped up in the three questions I now ask myself before pursuing any solicitation:

1. Does the poet have work freely available online, as opposed to locked up in print journals or in copyright-sealed print collections? I’ve had some experiences with trying to get permission to include such text on Whale Sound. Although I succeeded in one case – and still love the piece in question – I quickly decided that dealing with publishers and agents and filling out forms, sending endless emails and/or being asked to pay for usage is simply too much trouble – however amazing the piece – when the supply of freely available amazing online pieces is frankly enormous. After a couple of months on the project (and the levels of poetry-dross out there notwithstanding) it’s absolutely clear to me that Whale Sound won’t exhaust freely available online poem amazingness for years to come.

2. Is the poet easy to contact? In some cases, I’ve found a piece online I really liked that lacked contact info in the journal bio. A Google search did not throw up a website, blog or Facebook page for the poet. What next, then? In three instances, I emailed the editor of the online publication and got two positive responses, the third is still out there after several weeks. In another case, after much searching, I found an email address online buried in small print and linked to the poet’s day-job and got lucky that way. But again, I have a life and a day-job of my own and this is all just too much trouble, given the quantity of excellent work out there attached to an easily-contactable poet with an active online presence.

3. How will the poet promote his or her Whale Sound reading? Do they have an active website/blog or active Facebook/Twitter accounts? The more each poet promotes their own reading, the more they promote all the other poets on Whale Sound. It’s collective self-promotion. The entire project benefits most from including poets with an active web presence, since that raises the level and intensity of that collective self-promotion. Of the three considerations I list here, this is the least pressing to me, since I think the levels of collective self-promotion already at play on Whale Sound can afford to carry a few less-active-online poets, but I’m keenly aware it’s a balance I need to keep in mind.