Shoshauna Shy creates a 'one-stop-and-click resource' for poets
Published: March 6, 2007
|In 2003, Shoshauna Shy was winding down a stint as poetry editor for the newsletter published by the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. |
"I would receive inquiries from professors and librarians from around the state, asking if I could recommend a poet in their region to do a workshop or reading." But Shy couldn't always think of someone that would fit the bill. "So I thought if there was a way to put poetry event coordinators and poets in touch with each other directly, it would be helpful." She developed ideas for a site that would match a poet to a geographic area.
"I wanted it to go two steps beyond major search engines," she says. "List poets by region and have their contact info right there-a one-stop-and-click resource."
The Web site 'Book That Poet!' is the result. Each poet listed on the site has a page with biographical information, location, publications, upcoming events and contact information. A sample poem can also be placed on the page. A $12 annual fee covers costs for hosting the domain and updating pages.
Poets listed there have been invited to appear on public radio programs and to submit work to various journals and literary Web sites. Some have been invited to appear on TV programs. Book That Poet! is one example of the impact of the Internet on a genre that often has a hard time finding a mainstream footing.
Shy says because of the Internet, people have a way to reach her instantly. "I hear from people who've come across my work in bookstores or in classrooms. I've heard from students on both coasts, teachers, police officers, even a minister who wanted to use one of my poems in his Sunday sermon."
Not surprisingly, the reach is global. "Someone in China translated a poem of mine and sent it to ask if they'd done it correctly." She says she liked the idea that something she'd written in a Madison, Wisconsin courthouse "resonated with someone in Beijing."
Shy's focus on being active with poetry doesn't stop with Book That Poet! She started the Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf program in May, 2004. She aimed at getting poetry to the mainstream-"the idea that I'd like to offer people who may think they don't like to read poetry a chance to come across it in their daily lives." She partnered with two local companies with a philosophy about alternate forms of transportation. This resulted in poems about biking, walking, and nature being placed on bookmarks attached to the handlebars of bicycles and distributed by other means as well.
"The call for submissions brought in work from around the world," she says. There's a new call for submissions to Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf; the deadline is March 31.
Shoshauna Shy has published widely, and to meet her poetry makes for a memorable encounter. She has work forthcoming in three anthologies and a number of journals like Briarcliff Review. Her fourth collection, 'What the Postcard Didn't Say,' will be released by Zelda Wilde Publishing in April, 2007.
Asked if she considers herself a "poetry activist," she responds, "I'm not sure what that means. I'm actively involved with poetry." That is a definite understatement.
Our March 20 column focuses on a successful journalist and business book author who decided to self-publish a poetry book. Read about Linda Eve Diamond's inspiration and marketing plans for her new collection 'The Human Experience.'
--Posted March 6, 2007
|Kay B. Day is a poet and freelance correspondent living in Jacksonville, Fla. Her articles and poems appear in The Christian Science Monitor and The Florida Times Union. She is a stringer for UPI. Her collection A Poetry Break won several awards, including top poetry book from the Florida Writers' Association. Web: www.kayday.com.|
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