Poet, teacher, and founder of Brooklyn Poets Jason Koo emailed me a few days ago to tell me more about its new venture, The Bridge, which he describes as “the world's first poetry networking site connecting student and mentor poets.” After a few exchanges, it turned into a real interview, which appears below. Brooklyn Poets launched a campaign to develop The Bridge; their Indiegogo page has a video and more details.
I enjoyed exchanging thoughts with Jason about poetry and mentoring, as well as new ways of teaching and learning--“delivery models,” as we say in the education business--and, of course, The Bridge.
I guess the first question I have would be: Is this a social media poetry site?
Essentially, yes. The Bridge would be a social network for poets, though something like "craft network" would be closer to what we have in mind. There are a few examples of poetry networks out there, such as poetry.com, but the design leaves a lot to be desired and there's a lack of seriousness about craft--it looks like a site for amateurs.
Ah, the BBS and message boards. I remember them well. So The Bridge will take a different approach, I take it?
What we're hoping to build is a space where amateurs can interact with professional, teaching poets--poets who wouldn't be caught dead on a site like poetry.com. You see this on Instagram, where professional photographers share work in the same community as amateurs. But in our community, poets wouldn't just be sharing and commenting on each other's work, liking it, etc.; student poets--a better term than "amateurs"--would have an opportunity to get serious critiques of their work from mentor poets they admire.
On poetry.com, a "review" of a work consists of a little comment and some stars and everyone tries to accumulate points and badges. That sounds like a lot of fun, but no one's going to learn how to become a better poet that way.
Well, you also have an actual faculty, a super line-up of poets, from Melissa Broder to Jenny Zhang.