Happy New Year, and welcome to the rest of your life. May it be a long, healthy and happy one.
Had a nice Christmas? Glad it’s over now? It’s OK to answer ‘yes’ to both, by the way.
I’m in a contemplative mood. It’s great to look out of the window and see just one car parked on the street where most days of the year they are nose-to-tail. It’s great to feel a great relaxing downpull like one of those huge blow-up Santas deflating.
Let’s look forward, not back. I thought I’d share a few of the blogs & online resources I’ve been enjoying, some of them old favourites and others relatively recent finds.
These are all sites I go back to regularly for insights, inspiration, learning and entertainment.
If you enjoy this post, please share it with your social media contacts and writer friends. These are excellent sites and many run on nothing much more than love and a prayer. Many thanks.
I subscribe to the LitHub Daily, a brief email with one-line links to thought-provoking articles on sundry (brilliant) websites. So I guess you’d call Literary Hub an aggregator site of curated material. Like the other sites I mention here it’s much more than just a load of links – the true value of this type of site lies in the quality of the curation and presentation of content, the design and ordering of material to give the reader a seamless and exciting way in and through.
Their description: Literary Hub is an organizing principle in the service of literary culture, a single, trusted, daily source for all the news, ideas and richness of contemporary literary life.
Once a month, live poetry reading podcasts which you can then access afterwards at any time. Usually one US poet and one UK, reading from the intimacy of their sitting room. There are a number of different hosts doing the introductions, including Anglo-American poet Robert Peake and Timothy Green, editor of Rattle (my current US magazine du choix). A simple idea, well executed.
Their description: Transatlantic Poetry is a global poetry movement bringing some of the most exciting poets from the US, UK, Europe and beyond together for live online readings and conversations.
Sample podcast: Danez Smith and Liz Berry, September 2015
I came across this site quite recently – transcriptions of interviews with poets by Kaveh Akbar, the brains behind Divedapper (yes, it’s actually a bird – you have to visit the site to find out more.) Kaveh has a nice way of bringing out the candour in his subjects. I suppose the poets are all or mostly US-based, as I wasn’t familiar with most of the names, so that’s interesting too as an interview often makes me want to read more of a poet’s work.
Official site description: a new project devoted exclusively to featuring interviews with major voices in contemporary poetry. It has no affiliation with any institution, academic or literary or otherwise.
Sample post: Interview with Sharon Olds– ‘I write as much crap as anyone.’
I know, I know – a longstanding (nay, towering) figure on the poetry scene, but impossible to leave out. There’s so much on this site that’s good, it’s easy to forget and think of it as ‘just’ the website for Poetry magazine. Listen to iconic poets reading their work, browse poems by title, poet, even season…read articles, find teaching resources (if that’s what you’re looking for) and explore the Foundation’s many initiatives.
Their description: The Poetry Foundation is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.
Sample: Winter poems
I’ve hardly scratched the surface of this rich site, but I’ve enjoyed listening to some of their podcasts in which poets gather for close readings of featured work, or interview poets and ‘poetry people’. There are reviews, features and in-depth essays … it looks like an awesome resource.
Their description: Jacket2 offers commentary on modern and contemporary poetry and poetics. We publish articles, reviews, interviews, discussions and collaborative responses, archival documents, podcasts, and descriptions of poetry symposia and projects.
Sample podcast: Roundtable analysis of James Schuyler’s poem ‘February’, featuring the poet reading his work.
It’s tough to describe this site adequately, plus it’s new to me to I’m only finding out as I go along. Its range is wide – from poetry to games. All I can say is DO take a look.
Their description: CCM-Entropy is the result of newly merged Civil Coping Mechanisms and Entropy, an independent literature community and portal that includes CCM: publisher & promoter of kick-ass independent literature, Entropy: a magazine and community of contributors that publishes diverse literary and non-literary content, and Enclave: a community blog that exists as an open and central space for contributors representing different literary communities, corners, and aesthetics to express themselves openly, urgently.
Sample post: Dear Blank Space: A Literacy Narrative by Jennifer S Cheng
Oh I know I’ve talked about this site before, but it continues to deliver wonderful content so I’ll say it again – it’s an amazing compendium of fine writing, insights, stories and inspiration, masterminded by Maria Popova. Subscribe to the ‘free weekly interestingness digest’ and you won’t be disappointed.
Site description by Maria: Brain Pickings is my one-woman labor of love — a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why. Mostly, it’s a record of my own becoming as a person — intellectually, creatively, spiritually — and an inquiry into how to live and what it means to lead a good life. Founded in 2006 as a weekly email that went out to seven friends and eventually brought online, the site was included in the Library of Congress permanent web archive in 2012.