Saturday, June 4, 2011

Verse Daily & Poetry Daily: Poetry Aggregators

When I was in college, I was a devoted reader of Poetry Daily. It was an easy and casual way for me to read new poets and new poems outside of my workshop classes, as I wasn't really too aware of online lit journals and didn't have enough money to subscribe to print journals. I kept up with it for awhile after I graduated, too, but eventually I started to find the poems boring. My tastes changed, I guess, and I wanted to read poems that were somehow different than the ones I kept seeing.

I switched to reading Verse Daily. Verse tends to have poems I like just a bit more, poems that are more vibrant, more interesting, more unusual. Less of the typical poetic conflation of physical landscape and personal state of mind, more of poems that felt real, voiced, and tangible. That said, Verse Daily certainly doesn't pop out a amazing poem every single day (oh, and I don't read every single day anymore, either. I have it in my bookmarks, but Google Reader slowly solidifies it's hold over my Internet life. It just occurs to me as I write this that I could subscribe to Verse Daily's RSS feed and read it in my Google Reader, but that's another post about how set I am in my Internet habits, maybe) and I find myself reading it less and less. I'm wondering if these sites, which aggregate mainly from book collections and print journals, are becoming or will become less relevant when there is such a wide variety of well-edited, aesthetically-diverse and completely badass online journals to choose from.

That said and on the other hand, I like that the sites are updated daily and that they only feature one poem per day. It's easy, not overwhelming, you don't have to wade through a poorly-designed website or click on an author's name without knowing if the work you're going to read is poetry or fiction. You know it's a poem, you know what it's called and who it's by and if you don't like it, there will be another poem for you to read the next day. It's simple. Oh, and the archives are always well-organized and easy to get lost in if you're in a poetry-reading kinda mood.

The sites are clear, however, that they are not literary journals. Poetry Daily bills itself as an "anthology of contemporary poetry," and Verse Daily uses the word "republishing." Both websites are good resources for finding out about new work and getting an idea of the kind of work being written. In the past month, Verse has published poems from the latest books of Laura Kasischke, Alice Notley, and Matthew Rohrer. Poetry Daily has featured Kim Addonizio, Kevin Prufer,  Fanny Howe, and Tom Sleigh. I perceive some aesthetic differences in the editing of the sites, which is interesting due to the fact that both Verse Daily and Poetry Daily are essentially aggregators, although clearly not random ones.

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