Revered since ancient civilizations recorded their mythologies and histories, the art of poetry flourishes in the Digital Age. There are countless databases, professional websites hosted by literary editors, and personal blogs dedicated to sharing early and contemporary voices. Finding, reading, and sharing poetry has never been easier, and thanks to the powers of social media sites, poetry can travel from poet to audience in the time it takes to click the “Share” button.

The most comprehensive introductory online database is The Poetry Foundation. Here, users can browse freely for hours, or set search filters that narrow down precisely what they seek: subject, theme, mood, occasion, holiday, school/time period, poet’s region, and poet’s date of birth, to name a few. Furthermore, The Poetry Foundation provides a fantastic resource — a dictionary and guide — of poetic terms, verse forms, stanza forms, meters, techniques, and types/modes. Those who wish to understand the mechanics of poetry, after intuitively enjoying its musicality and imagery, will find a wealth of technical information.

The internet is inundated with literary journals and presses. Contemporary poets are increasingly submitting their work for publication to online magazines, and only when they are comfortably established and known in literary circles, do they pursue publication of print anthologies. Some of the best journals and presses are listed in alphabetical order at Poets & Writers. Some of my favorite small presses are Eunoia Review, Unlikely Stories, Word Riot, The Pedestal, Squalorly, and The Rusty Nail. And the fierce and fearless voice of contemporary poet Warsan Shire can be followed on her Twitter account and her blog.

Here at WPL, I invite you to be dazzled, to browse our aisles and the SWAN system for enriching finds such as World Poetry: An Anthology of Verse from Antiquity to Our Time, edited by Clifton Fadiman, John S. Major, and Katharine Washburn, which is an astounding volume of 1,600 poems that range from the earliest Sumerian epic to the contemporary American era.

“Still, what I want in my life is to be willing to be dazzled — to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world.”

“As a child, what captivated me was reading the poems myself and realizing that there was a world without material substance which was nevertheless as alive as any other.”

Mary Oliver

 

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