Poets, do you promote poetry-not-your-own?

Amy King asked this question on Twitter. She has just finished a marathon tweeting session on behalf of the Academy of American Poets, in which she spent many hours asking questions, promoting poets, poetry, poetry presses and poetry initiatives.

I answered her question with a prompt tweet that said ‘every day!’ Because what with Whale Sound, Voice Alpha, flagging things I like on Facebook and Twitter and writing the occasional review, I do spend a lot of my total poetry time online in promoting other poets. Now I focus, though, am not sure if ‘every day’ was 100% accurate. Do I promote poetry-not-my-own every day?

Whether I have been doing so or not, I’ve decided to articulate and formalize this commitment going forward. I will do at least one thing every day – even if it’s just as small as linking to someone’s poem or collection or website or blog – to promote poetry-not-my-own.

So there you have it.

Published by

Nic Sebastian

Nic is the author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark And Like A Web. She founded the now-archived Whale Sound site and is co-founder of The Poetry Storehouse. Nic blogs at Very Like A Whale and Voice Alpha.

15 thoughts on “Poets, do you promote poetry-not-your-own?”

  1. Not every day, but I do make a point to always read from one-two other poets’s work in my own readings (usually at the beginning and end), and with the magazine, through reading others’ work, offering suggestions and working closely with writers, publishing and promoting their work…I guess, yeah, most days.

    The really interesting thing is, I think the more you help other poets, the more good things happen for you. Karmic law for poets. So if there is a poet out there feeling ignored, or out of the loop, I’d encourage them to find a way to get involved–write reviews, post other folks’ poems on their blog, create a reading series… endless possibilities.

  2. Yes, a lot! Never a bouncy cheerleader in uniform, I am a happy “cheerleader for poetry” now. I try to review poets in my own blog and in online magazines, and I wrote several reviews for RHINO when I was an editor there. Seems to me we 1) get better as poets ourselves by reading a lot of poetry and 2) ought to be reading the journals we send our poems to, so I promote the reading of journals as well as the reading of books.

  3. One of the best things about being a teacher is promoting the work of poetry by poets other than myself. (I rarely mention my own work in the classroom.)

    Also on my blog and facebook, I try to link to other poems and provide reader responses to the books and journals I love.

    Kathleen’s #2 should be a mandate in poetry.

  4. yes! I don’t “do” reviews since I am not good at it…but I’ve written many blurbs, buy tons of books by other poets, discuss and promote many poets in my poetry class, help others get readings, suggest places to publish, encourage friends both on and off facebook etc. I believe it’s an important part of being a poet.

  5. There are so many wonderful poets out there who are experts at promoting poetry above self-promotion! Nic, you are absolutely at the top of the list. I aspire to be better. I am not sure if it is something that has changed online over the past decade, or if I just recently found the communities that weren’t all about self-promotion and “read my poem”, and “like mine” and I’ll “like yours”.

    I realized the other day that I have a habit of scanning the walls of new Facebook contacts to see if they ever recommend other poets, discuss poetry or if they are there to post their own work exclusively. If the later, I unfriend them. Dialogue is important to community. I think poetry should be community.

  6. And another thing I’m starting to look for… blogs that cross genre. Prose writers inviting poets to post, and vice versa. Opens up new conversations and audiences, and expands horizons of all sorts.

  7. Just came across this post, and I must agree that your selflessness in what you do can be infectious and is just the encouragement aspiring poets need to continue their good work. Truly inspired by your writings as well. You have a gift; thank you for sharing it with others.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s