The Poetry Foundation

November 22, 2010

If the goal of [the Poetry Foundation website] is immersion in the genre for students and lovers of poetry, the opportunities that this website affords to that end are plentiful.  The children’s poetry section, which aims to expose children to poetry from a younger age, endorses fun ideas like lunchbox poems and encourages reading aloud to and with one’s children. Even tools like the Learning Lab and Poetry Tours are moving toward the idea that people who are learning about poetry should be engaging with the material upon multiple levels. However, the Poetry Foundation does not go far enough. Until these resources are fleshed out, this website will simply be a limited poetry archive and article source for people who already have a relatively full understanding of the genre. The basic materials for an interactive, poetry-teaching website are there. The tools that exist are getting students to engage with the work’s meaning and rhyme, using their basic comprehension skills. The tools that will help students develop the skills needed for a complete understanding of the genre are not yet in place, and the importance of poetry—why we love it, and the breadth of what it has to offer us—has yet to emerge on this website.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Tags: , , ,

Faults in the Creation of Poets.Org by the Academy of American Poets Based Upon a Competitive Outlook

November 16, 2010

Since Scanlon was nice enough to let us abandon our Poetry on the Web Projects, I figured I’d just go ahead and share what I thought the project was, and how mine was turning out. I was only half way finished, but I’m dropping it and fully intend on doing the prompt assignment instead. Is this what ya’ll thought the assignment was, or were your visions completely different?

The Academy of American Poets, a non-profit organization created to foster a growing environment conducive for the studying and sharing of American poetry, has created a numerous avenues for fulfilling its mission. Acting as its international touchstone, Poets.org familiarizes its audience with prestigious poet biographies (not all American), their poetry, essays, interviews, as well as audio and visual enhancements. However, due to the website being ran by a nonprofit academy, nor being that academy’s main focus, the website’s information inconsistently lacks width and breath versus its competition The Poetry Foundation.

Though the Academy of American Poets has allowed for the creation of Poets.org, it also hinders the website. Poets chosen to be featured on the website are selected based on criteria set forth by staff members. The final decisions are influenced by chancellors from the board of the Academy as well. The website itself declares that “while we have over 500 poets on our site, our ‘to do’ list includes over one hundred poets, many of whom won awards from the Academy of American Poets, or participated in the Academy’s programs, dating back to 1934” (Poets.org Help). Thus, the staff at Poets.org admit that a key feature of the poets elected to be featured on the site have contributed to the furthering of the Academy’s other programs personal agenda: “to provide background information in support of the Academy’s programs” (Poets.org Help). This makes the website itself void as an unbiased source of which poets and poetry should be studied. It should be noted that the website does offer a section titled “For Educators” that offers advice, curriculum, essay and project ideas for teachers of poetry, the research for which can be inconclusively accomplished on Poets.org.

The Academy of American Poets hosts numerous events throughout the year in order to promote poetry across the nation, though many of their events are more prominent in largely populated cities such as New York City where the Academy was founded. The Academy encourages membership, the only criterion for which is money. This monetary contribution supports the mission of the organization which is “to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry” (About us). The site recognizes the inconsistency of this statement with some of the non-American or non-contemporary poet that features on the site. Other projects of the Academy include public readings, a gift shop, creation of National Poetry Month, conferences, and American Poet magazine among others. Thus, the resources compounded by the not-for-profit organization spreads throughout all of their endeavors leaving each program to suffer from lack of appropriate funds and paid staff. The website itself acknowledges this claim stating “due to limitations in funding and staff time, the number of poets we plan to add always outstrips the number we are actually able to add” (Poets.org Help). In the websites defense they do not attempt to showcase all major poetry of each poet, rather just a selection. Also, each poem they do feature has been licensed and follows copyright guidelines, whereas not all poetry is allowed to be freely reproduced at Poets.org. However, this is also another con to the website, for if they had more money they would be able to pay copy-right fees, thus being able to feature a deeper breath of poetry.

Though Poets.org acknowledges the pitfalls the website faces due to lack of funds, they do not go into detail the depth of this problem. When searching for poetry on the site, one can do an Advance Search and browse through the different movements of contemporary poetry. The limited choices prove the underwhelming information available. Contemporary Formalism brings up only seven poets for a movement that began in the 1980s almost 30 years ago. The Confessional movement, popular in the 1950s which helped to spawn numerous reactionary poetry includes only six poets. Sylvia Plath, one of the most influential Confessionalists features only three poems whereas a competing nonprofit website PoetryFoundation.org features 28 poems. Though Poets.org does not claim to be a one-stop-shop of sorts for all poetic needs, they’re anthology perspective limits them from truly being a useful tool in the spreading of poetry on a collegiate scale.

Categories: Uncategorized.

Tags:

css.php