Poetry Readings Online? Yes, Please.

October 24, 2010

No Shoes Required for this Kind of Poetry Reading

Perhaps it’s surprising that poetry, as an art form, has embraced technology so much. I suppose because poetry has never exactly been a commercially viable life-choice, poets have had nothing to lose by embracing the internet. Or perhaps it’s because poetry has always existed as an adaptable, and radical, art form. Either way, poetry book sales have not been hit by the digital revolution in the same ways that fiction and nonfiction have.

Online journals, workshops, and literary relationships existing entirely online have reinvigorated poetry and hardened it against accusations of it being a dying art. Part of this effect, I’m sure, is the immediacy that the internet can provide. An immediacy which HTMLGIANT is using to its fullest with their series of ‘Live Giants’ online poetry readings. Can’t get to New York or Chicago to experience Mary Ruefle and Matthea Harvey read? Just tune in online, instead. To be honest, the virtual ‘crowd’ that gathers for these readings is larger than most poetry readings I’ve ever been to. Not only does it allows the wonderful poems to be heard by people who are geographically inaccessible, but it provides yet another online platform for poetry folk to come together. Who doesn’t enjoy a love-in? Ok, so the animal masks are a little scary, but it all adds to the experience. HTMLGIANT are up to number 8, and previous readings have included Mairéad Byrne, Zachary Schomburg and Sam Lipsyte

Best of all, HTMLGIANT’s archives mean you can replay the readings over and over and over until your heart’s content. It’s always frustrating when you grow to love a poet’s work after you’ve seen them live and can’t quite recall the poems in the same way. Well now you can, whenever you like. Doing laundry, cleaning, jumping up and down… the possibilities are endless.

Who wouldn’t want poets in animal masks reading you to sleep?

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