Gushue, a DC writer who has been featured in Beltway
Poetry Quarterly, agreed to supply the following list. Michael
is an inveterate surfer who has turned up some real gems. We asked him
to compile the following list, so we could share these links more widely.
One thing I do is send friends, family and associates
in poetry links to sites on the World Wide Web. A lot of these online
places usually have something to do with some form of creativity, either
some creative operation, or a spur to doing something creative yourself.
But not all of them are like that.
If I had to pick a defining characteristic, I
guess it would be that, if you open up one of these places, and give
it a minute or two, and the benefit of a doubt, you will probably find
yourself addicted to what’s there—and what you do there—for
maybe a day, or a certain part of the day, or years, but—let’s
be realistic—probably not stretching cycles of years.
So here is a roster of my current addictions. “Addiction”
makes it sound like a bad thing, but I’d rather think of “addiction”
as a neutral phenomenological concept. Rather than harmful, I think
you will find the sites below relaxing and stimulating, and cool. And
• Jackson Pollock dot Org
This site lets you produce a Jackson Pollockish action painting just
by moving your mouse around the screen. Click to changes colors. Made
by Miltos Menatas, a founding member of an art movement called Neen.
I refuse to reveal how long I did this when I first found it:
My second most addicting favorite site. Click on “make an erasure”
and you are sent to a new page with a paragraph from a source text (from
a book in the public domain). Clicking on any word or punctuation mark
and it disappears (click again to have it return). Erase as needed to
produce a new, sculpted poem/text. Sponsored by Wave Books, an independent
poetry press in Seattle, Washington:
Quickmuse’s tagline is “Great poets. Fifteen minutes. Poetry
under pressure” which sums it up nicely. Two poets are given a
text and have 15 minutes to write a poem in response to it. Quickmuse
records each keystroke over the time period. You can playback the poem
stroke by stroke and watch the pauses, deletions, misspellings and bursts
of poetry as poets at top of their game write against the clock. This
an amazing site, and if you are interested in poetry, it’s like
looking into a poet’s creative mind as the sparks and flares go
off. Robert Pinsky vs. Julianna Baggott, Paul Muldoon vs. Thylias Moss,
Although it seems to be intended for expecting parents, NameVoyager
doesn’t require pregnancy to be addicting. It’s an interactive
portrait of first names graphed by popularity and by year. Type a letter,
and the graph lines morph tracing how often that initial has been used
over the past century. Each time you type an additional letter NameVoyager
narrows the search to show those letters until you get to a full name.
Each stripe is a timeline of one name, its width reflecting the name's
changing popularity. There’s also information about each name
if click on its stripe.
• Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood
This site is a literary magazine that has a map instead of a Table of
Contents. The map is of New York City, in an aerial photo taken from
a plane. The litmag contains reportage, creative nonfiction, sketches,
Click to zoom in on the map, even down to a specific building. Then
click on red dots for writing, green dots to tell you where you are
The writing is good, and there is something oddly compelling and, yes,
addicitive, about looking at a bird’s eye view of Manhattan, and
wondering: “So, what happened there?” and then being able
click your mouse to find out.
Thomas Beller is a writer and editor who collaborated with Sabin Streeter
and Tomas Clark to design and build Mr.Beller's Neighborhood which was
subsequently redesigned and rebuilt by James Thoms of squareimage.com.
• The Periodic Table of
Not strictly speaking interactive, the Periodic Table of Poetry shows
up as the beautiful, elegant periodic table of elements. If you click
on an element, it takes you to a poem or poems written for that chemical
element and specifically for The Periodic Table of Poetry. Designed
in 1998 by writer and communications specialist Maggie Schold, the site
is still apparently accepting poems for yet to be claimed elements (that
qualifies as the interactive part):
I also have to mention the Periodic Table Table, because it is so cool:
• Lunch Poems
This site is interactive in the sense that listening to poetry is always
interactive. “Lunch Poems” is noontime poetry series curated
by Robert Hass, and can be a great impetus to your own creative stuff.
You can watch (in some cases just listen to) a half hour video of poets
such as Billy Collins, Li-Young Lee, Cornelius Eady,
Mary Reufle, et cetera. Really, the readers run the gamut from popular
to innovative and in between. Maxine Hong Kingston, whose poetry I didn’t
know, impressed me. Sponsored and archived by the Media Resources Center
of the Morrison Library in Doe Library of University of California Berkeley.
There are readings from 2000 to 2006 you can watch. Thank you, Media
• DC Places Issue Map
One more map: I also have to say I really like the map accompanying
the Summer 2006 edition of Beltway Poetry Quarterly: