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A Web of Poetry

For generations, writers have sought to capture the human soul in words. From Homer to Shakespeare and Browning to Yeats, poets have striven to define, in a few short lines of verse, the life force that flows through their veins.

The gift of poetry is not limited to the T.S. Eliots of the world. Nearly everyone has heard the sweet call of a muse at one point or another. Some vent frustrations, while others immortalize a love interest. While it is difficult to reach the stratum of Walt Whitman, literary mortals can refine their skills (no matter how rudimentary). A number of on- and off-line resources are available to the burgeoning poet, from discussion forums to archives of classic texts.

For writers, a good place to start is the Poetry Society of America. The oldest poetry organization in the nation, the PSA site is geared toward poetry education and awareness. The site provides little poetic text, but offers journals, awards, magazines, bookstores and publisher information.

The Academy of American Poets offers advice on publishing poetry. It also offers forums where poets can seek advice from their peers.

Reading Poetry

You don't have to write poetry to appreciate it. Sample a wide variety of verse at the following sites:

  • The Poetry Archives
    This massive database offers 3,653 poems by 137 authors.




  • Bartleby.com
    Browse a long list of poetry anthologies.

  • Internet Poetry Archives
    Focuses on contemporary poets.

  • Poetry.com
    Offers a list of the 100 Greatest Poems Ever Written.

Poetry in the Classroom

  • Fooling with Words with Bill Moyers, The Web accompaniment to a PBS series on contemporary poetry in America that ran last fall. It contains teaching plans, a forum and other relevant resources.

Just for Fun

  • Cowboy Poetry On-line
    For lack of better things to do after a hard day on the range, cowboys would sit around the camp fire at night and entertain one another with poems. Enter a competition to become "Cowboy Poet of the Month."

  • The Bad Poetry Page
    Browse a collection of the worst verse ever forced upon human ears (visitor submission is encouraged).




   --- A.L.

 
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