The Digital Muse: The Poet as Website Owner

I have been encouraged to write this page by two regular and veteran readers  – Arthur Kemelman http://www.etsy.com/shop/arthurfred and Sylvia Selzer http://www.sylviaselzer.com/ who remarked that the site’s having existed since 2009 was something of an achievement in itself and that they would be interested in the expectations I had and have for the site, the issues regarding its maintenance and the experience of editing it. I’m assuming other readers might be similarly interested.

I have described the rationale for the site on the HOME and ABOUT pages. The origins are less grandiose. A friend and ex-colleague, John Plummer, was kind and trusting enough to share the development of his book, LIFELINES with me – http://www.islandsandlifelines.co.uk/The%20Author.htm .

As he was developing it, we talked about self-publishing. I raised the notion of his doing so via the web. He opted quite understandably for the conventional route. It took me some to realise that, since I’d thought the notion was in principle a good one, I ought for once to take my own advice!

The site was designed to my specifications by Sam Hutchinson http://www.realigndesign.com/. We seem to have done the job well as the site has required very little tweaking since its launch – and feedback suggests it’s user friendly.

I had anticipated that the content of the site would, for the most part, be work I had already produced – and that once the work was posted I might add the occasional piece. I had not thought beyond that and had certainly not  anticipated that one of the effects of creating the site would be that I would write more poetry. In fact, I’ve written more poems since its inception eight years ago than in the previous fifty years!*

I suspect there a two reasons for this. I now have a group of regular readers – from all continents except Antarctica! Some are people I have known for many others, others I have reconnected with through the site, and some I’ve never actually met and probably never will.

The other reason is that I have consolidated what I might call a blogging style of poetics, a style I realise I aspired to when I was a young man but, to quote Henri Matisse, ‘Even if I could have done when I was young what I’m doing now – and it is what I dreamed of then – I wouldn’t have dared.’

The only significant editorial decision I have made since the site was launched has been in relation to the use of pictorial images – diagrams, maps, paintings, photographs etc. – with the text. Originally I thought their use essential as in the print medium – to illustrate, and to leaven, the text. But I eventually realised their use in this context was redundant – primarily because my poetry has always been built on imagery, figurative or literal. Duh! as they say. If I were capable of being embarrassed at my age I would be!  ‘Even if I could have done when I was young what I’m doing now…’

 

*And, perhaps as a consequence, found less and less time for fiction, screenplays or stage plays.

 

April 2017