Welcome to poetry out loud week at the BAP blog! Warm thanks to blog management for giving me such a great soapbox upon which to indulge my ongoing obsession with poem-as-voice.
How did that obsession start? I've found that a good way to satisfy curiosity about a dynamic in the poetry community is to launch a Ten Questions series - a specific set of ten questions posed to a group of online poets. I've done four series so far (list in the left-hand sidebar here), but the one that started me off on poetry out loud was Ten Questions on Poetry & Technology. Specifically, Amy King's response to question No. 10, in which she said: "If every poet were to record just one book of poems that they loved for the rest of us to listen to, and not just their own poems, how excellent would that be?"
The result of that thought was Whale Sound (more below) and a result of Whale Sound was Voice Alpha (even more below). As a warm-up Sunday post for this blogging week, I'd like to describe those two sites and recommend several other poetry-out-loud websites to you. (This is by no means an exhaustive list - please do add your own favorites to the mix via the comments.)
Whale Sound - an audio poetry journal I started in August 2010 featuring my readings of contemporary web-active poets. I post about three readings a week, partly from submissions and partly from solicitations - audio only, with a link to text elsewhere. In addition to regular submissions, Whale Sound takes audio submissions and third-party submissions. Whale Sound also has a group reading series and an audio chapbooks publishing arm (I'll be writing more about both later this week) and is available as an iTunes podcast.
langstonify - uses You Tube as a platform and features readings by Hans Ostrom, Professor of African American Studies and English at the University of Puget Sound. We recently interviewed Hans at Voice Alpha. Hans writes: "the site features the reading of poetry, mostly by others, with a few by me. [...] I think my mission is to present poems I value, work by poets I’ve liked for a long time (Langston Hughes, Karl Shapiro, and W.H. Auden are good examples) [and] lesser known poems by well known poets." Listen to Hans on Whale Sound.
Belly Up, it's a Poetry Feed - run by Minnesota English teacher Karsten Piper. Similar in conception to langstonify and Whale Sound, this site features readings by Karsten of contemporary and other poems that take his fancy, with occasional guest readers. We interviewed Karsten at Voice Alpha in January. Like Whale Sound, A Poetry Feed does not post poem text. Listen to Karsten on Whale Sound.
Linebreak - Johnathon Williams' terrific poetry journal posts one poem a week with audio and what I love most about its operating style - and the reason I list it here - is that each poem is read by a poet other than the author. We interviewed Johnathon at Voice Alpha last week. Listen to Johnathon on Whale Sound.
Soundzine - Another great journal and again, one that features poets reading other people's poems (or OPP - another obsession of mine, as you will see this week). They have a stable of readers (full disclosure: I'm one of them) who voice many of the poems selected for publication.
How Pedestrian (Canada) - This make-poetry-more-accessible audio + video site is fun and awesome in both concept and execution. From its manifesto:
How Pedestrian is a video blog that seeks to make poetry more accessible to the general public. We go out into the street regularly to bribe and beg people to read poems on video.
From the Fishouse - This Maine-based website "showcases emerging poets [...] reading their own poems, as well as answering questions about poetry and the writing process." A nice variety, good navigation and presentation.
PoetCasting (UK) - Easy to navigate and somewhat similar in archival conception to The Fishouse, "PoetCasting is contemporary British and Irish poetry online and out loud."
Poems Out Loud - A site belonging to the publisher W.W. Norton, so you only get poems that appear in Norton publications, but plenty of variety and some hot-shot names read at the site.
Poem of the Day from the Poetry Foundation - daily readings delivered right to your feed reader if that's how you like them.
Classic Poetry Aloud (UK) - The reader/curator, who prefers to remain anonymous, will read "anything in the English language that is out of copyright." A good variety of classics with user-friendly layout and navigation. Available through iTunes.
So what are your favorite poetry-out-loud sites?
Coming tomorrow - Poetry out loud: Group reading