Viral poetry!

Michael Symmons Roberts - 21 November 2007

Where do you find the poems you read? I still get most of mine from books, but if you're looking for a single poem (especially a great poem from the past) it's almost certainly only a Google search away. Of course, this raises all kinds of issues of copyright and authorship, especially with more recent poetry, but it might be a way of opening up access to poems.

Being relatively short (usually) poems are often well-suited to including in a blog, or posting on a social site. There are questions about trust and authority as ever - how do you know that the poem you are reading is reproduced in full and in the form intended by the poet? I found a Geoffrey Hill poem reproduced online in the last few months with a stanza missing. On the plus side though, if poems become blogged about, emailed, shared online, that may open the doors to new readers, and rather than undermining the poet's books it may draw people to them. What do you think? I guess the key thing is that the poem doesn't become separated from the poet's name. But maybe some of you believe that doesn't matter either?

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Glossary term

Dramatic Monologue

A poem that shares many features with a speech from a play: one person speaks, and in that speech there are clues to his/her character, the character of the implied person or people that s/he is speaking to, the situation in which it is spoken and the story that has led to this situation.

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