Internet Poetry is Revitalizing

“I don’t think that people, like, think that people still like poetry”

Me neither.

Probably you don’t read poetry often.

But do you browse Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr often?

If you do, you may be digesting poetry without even realizing!

Enter “internet poetry.”

Video: Everything Here Now – Internet Poetry (I tried to embed this; it wouldn’t work T_T )

I came across this short documentary covering the “internet poetry” phenomenon while browsing Tumblr. It’s really pretty good. It has images of poems, interviews with ostensibly knowledgeable people, discussion regarding academia, distribution, minimalism, new media / forms, etc.

If you want to just go ahead and watch the video, that’ll probably be better than reading my post, at this point, if you’re at all interested.

But, if you’re still here, ya, I think internet poetry’s great:

It’s recontextualizing rather mundane things, like tweets, Facebook statuses, and memes, and making them into art. Ask yourself if you want your social media newsfeeds filled with ‘news’ regarding what your friend ate for lunch or ART.

Internet poetry is sorta doing what that light bulb ‘art piece’ in the art museum is doing: via the same way placing a light bulb in an art museum makes an artistic statement, internet poetry uses social media / new media / etc. to make poetic statements.

E.g., this image, from Internet Poetry, the Tumblr:

Normally, you wouldn’t consider poetic a search engine’s telling you that there are no results. But here, the context of a “poetry” blog, as well as the humorous choice of search words, makes the piece poetic.

Poetry like this, which makes the mundane aesthetic, isn’t exactly new. The internet is what’s new. The method of distribution, it turns out, matters a whole lot. It’s changing the game.

If your tweet can be a poem, and it can get published on Internet Poetry (I’ve gotten stuff published there; it’s easy; I encourage people to submit!), then the gatekeeping on poetry publication is being broken. What does that mean, for the gatekeeping on poetry publication to be broken? I don’t know, because it’s just started and it’s still happening, but it seems exciting.

“It’s encouraging people to write, because they don’t think like, ‘Oh I’ll write this but no one will ever see it, and if I send this in to literary magazines–like traditional ones, print ones–I won’t hear back for months and months, and no one’s ever going to see my work.”

I resonated with that sentiment from the video a lot^, because I’ve submitted to UofM’s literary magazines for years, and I’ve only ever heard back from Oddslot Xylem to say that I didn’t get chosen.

On the other hand, with the internet, I’ve been published by Internet Poetry a lot, and I’ve been able to self-publish to an online audience I earnestly believe to be significantly larger than Xylem’s.

Something seems cool, about that.


I feel like I kinda wrote about all this a couple weeks ago, in a post about vlogging (as poetry).

Shabby Doll House, an online publishing ‘house,’ Is Interested in the Way You Live Your Life

Wow! I was lucky enough to finagle LK Shaw, the super famous (26,000 Twitter followers[!]) editor of Shabby Doll House into an interview. Let’s see what she had to say about her publishing house and stuff:

Me: Hello LK Shaw! 🙂

I’m sitting on my couch in my living room and drinking coffee. I just finished rereading issue five of Shabby Doll House, your “online publication of various forms of art/literature.” I particularly liked Pancho Espinosa’s series of tweets about leaving to attend college in Santa Cruz, which reads like an experimental short story–his voice comes through brilliantly in 140 char chunks. And the final piece, “so special,” subtitled A LOVE POEM FOR EVERYONE THAT EXISTS AND WHO HAS EVER EXISTED, is a wonderful journey of a poem, with terrifically quotable lines, like “fuck me like money fucks the world.”

I suggest the Shabby-unfamiliar reader starts right away by reading those pieces if they want a glimpse of what Shabby’s about.

But for any skeptics still lingering here,

1. What is Shabby Doll House, and why should anyone care / read it?

LK: Shabby Doll is a publishing house on the internet. People should read it if they are interested in not being bored, or if they want to be distracted from the inevitability of death, or if they want to feel a little bit less alone in the world. All of the content on the site is created by people who are alive and making art right now. A lot of it is very funny. A lot of it is very sad. I am interested in the ways that people live their lives, so that is what a lot of Shabby Doll House is about.

2. And who are you? What exactly do you do for Shabby Doll House?

I’m the editor so I select which pieces of writing I want to publish based on the submissions I receive and I find visual artists to create corresponding illustrations. I publish a new issue every month so it’s an ongoing process of finding works to publish and from there, forming a cohesive collection.

3. How did Shabby Doll House start? Was there any specific impetus behind it, or was it more like, “Okay, yeah, let’s make an online publication”?

I just didn’t feel like there was anywhere that I wanted to publish my work and I knew other people who didn’t have anywhere to put theirs either… and this is the internet, so you can do whatever you want.

I want to tell stories, and to present them in new and interesting forms. I want to keep accepting submissions from people I’ve never met or heard of and to introduce them to a wider audience. I want to make people feel good about having their work published on Shabby Doll House. I want to do things that haven’t been done before. I just feel like there are so many possibilities for what we can do with literature online and I want to make the most of that.

4. What are new online publications like SDH offering that more traditional publications are not offering, like…idk, The Paris Review (?)?

I feel like if The Paris Review was an orchestra, then Shabby Doll House is a punk band. I think a lot of people have an idea of what they think poetry or prose is supposed to be like or be about, and they think it’s supposed to be very complicated and intimidating. I just want to present ideas and stories which will make people feel and think.

I want it to feel accessible. I think the internet is democratizing the ‘art world’, because it’s so much easier now to find your audience.
Older, more estabished type publications, don’t feel relevant to me or my life, and I don’t want to change the way that I write in order to be published by them. That would feel like going backwards, I think.

I like reading old interviews from The Paris Review. I like to know about the methods that writers used in the past. I think it’s interesting, but I think we’ve got to learn from that and move forward because this is our time.

6. You yourself write, too, right? E.g. I see you’ve got a pretty cool story on Thought Catalog. Can you say a little about your own writing? Any artistic goals or aspirations? Influences?

Yeah, I write stories and poetry and songs. I recorded an ep of my songs recently, and I’m working on writing stories all the time. I would like to try to put a book together in the next year. I like Tao Lin and Guillaume Morissette and Scott McClanahan. I like Richard Yates and F.Scott Fitzgerald and William Burroughs. I want to keep making things all of the time and to make enough money to not have to do anything else. That is my goal currently.

7. Can you talk about submissions a little? What do you look for in submissions? What’s your selection criteria? How many submissions does SDH get on average? Ever receive anything crazy?

I had over 100 for the next issue and I’ve had to close submissions for a little while so that I can catch up on replying to people. I don’t know what I look for specifically. I usually just know straight away when I find something that I want to publish. I like it when people write in the same way that they speak or think. I don’t like it when people try to over-romanticize something or use complicated language that they wouldn’t use in conversation. I want to publish things which I feel are engaging and relatable. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad. Sometimes hopeful. I don’t have submissions guidelines because I want to be open to any sort of writing.

8. Shabby Doll House has a pretty interesting layout–the pieces are all displayed and linked in a grid with unique images for each one. How important do you think layout/design is for online publications? Everything ain’t just paper between a front and back cover these days, you know? And who decides the illustrator for each of these images?

I think presentation is incredibly important. I know that if I go to a website or open a magazine and it doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing, I’m very unlikely to bother reading much of it. I imagine that there must be other people who feel the same.

Once I’ve chosen a piece of writing, I usually think about who would be a good fit to do the illustration, then I send that person the piece and ask if they’ve got any initial ideas. Then we talk about different options and they get to work.

Other times, if I know that the person who submitted is also a visual artist (like Nic Rad or Mallory Whitten, for example) then I’ll ask them if they want to do their own illustration. It seems cool to give people the opportunity to create something holistic.

9. What do you imagine your readership is like? Does SDH get ‘a lot’ of readers? There’s viewer statistics included on the site, but what’s your general feel for the size and scope of your reader base?

I’m not sure. I’m always surprised when I go different places and people know a lot about it. It’s definitely growing. I try to avoid looking at the stats because I don’t want to get caught up in that too much but I feel like a lot more people would be interested in it if they knew about it, which is why I’m doing interviews etc.I think people need to be aware of alternatives to mainstream entertainment.

10. Why is Shabby Doll House named “Shabby Doll House”?

There is an Elvis Costello song called Shabby Doll, which I like. And because it’s a publishing house, it also has the double thing of being a dolls house. Also, it’s all a bit thrown together, and ‘shabby’. Just seems to work.

11. Your top three pieces currently on Shabby Doll House? Why? Your favorite issue?

I honestly/obviously like every single piece on there. Some highlights for me are, ‘Lorrie Moore’s First Draft’ by Serge Astapkov, ‘I Can Read A Novel’ by Mira Gonzalez and ‘Senior Year’ by Matthew Landry.

14. Do you have any other publications / blogs / etc you recommend for readers interested in Shabby Doll House-y material?

Parlor –
Habitat –
Oddslot –
Illuminati Girl Gang –

15. Any last words? Something I didn’t ask?

The new issue comes out on November 20th at
Thank you <3 --- And thank you, LK! I personally cannot recommend Shabby Doll House enough, and I encourage people to check it the frick out. The next issue drops in two days, so if you’re unfamiliar, that’ll be the perfect chance to see what Shabby’s offering.


Are Great Authors Necessarily Sad?

Today is my birthday!

It’s also Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s (spelling?) birthday, apparently.

I found out that I share a birthday with the Crime and Punishment guy when I ran across this STARTLING image tagged as “Dostoyevsky’s birthday” on my Tumblr feed.

Personally, I’ve never read a Dostoy boy book.

I do have Crime and Punishment sitting on my book shelf, however. It looks nice there.

But the above image / quotation got me thinking: Are people with “large hearts” and “big intelligence” always sad?

That seems needlessly pessimistic on face value but seems maybe somewhat true when you think about how many good ‘sad’ books there are versus how many good ‘happy’ books there are.

But I don’t know. The more I reread the quotation, the more I think it’s just reductive and wrong.

Like, okay, people with big brains inevitably experience pain and suffering, but doesn’t literally everyone inevitably experience pain and suffering? And why must the ‘really great men’ (who are they? I’d like to ask Fyodor) have great sadness on [E]arth? Because they’re sooooo smart, they can’t find a way to be happy?

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It seems to me that part of being smart is ‘being able to be happy / not being inevitably greatly sad.’

I am annoyed when ‘great men’ seem to ‘get off’ on being despairing.

Despairing is not sweet.

Whence this tie between intellectual merit and pain?

“Two Words, Jackass: #YOLO”: “Vlogtober,” and the “Poetry” of YouTube

“whether or not you think poetry has adapted itself to the internet in general (with online lit mags, sites like htmlgiant, ebooks, and more writers with blogs), i’ll assert that poetry has not really adapted to social media in any major way beyond that. and maybe it doesn’t need to, but i’m curious what could be achieved if it did” –Steve Roggenbuck

Two words, Jackass: Define poetry.

Can you?

Is this question otiose?

October is almost over ): , and with it Vlogtober.

What’s “Vlogtober”? Vlogtober is a celebration / challenge month for video bloggers to post a video everyday, like on YouTube. It’s sorta like NaNoWriMo (write a novel in a month [November]), but videos instead of a novel.

Steve Roggenbuck, internet poet wonderboy, participated in Vlogtober, along with his pal and fellow internet lit-ster Daniel Alexander.

Their videos are “poetry,” allow me to suggest.


Carpe diem-ish Steve Roggenbuck “poem video”: make something beautiful before you are dead

(This video is not from “Vlogtober,” but it’s his most popular, I think, and seems like the best introduction to the idea of YouTube / video / internet poetry IMO.)

Exploratory and posi Alexander “poem video”: Explore, Create, Live

Comment regarding Roggenbuck’s video:

I think the most beautiful part to the structure of his videos is that he practically assaults the audience with such fast-paced disconnected ideas and flarf poetry that when he gets serious, his audience is in such an overwhelmed blanked state of mind that they are rendered completely receptive to what he has to say, without being distracted by any preconceptions they may have. This I think, is what makes his words so powerful. BOOST 🙂


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As lit fans, we hear a lot about the death of the book; we don’t hear as much about the rise of the vlog.

New media is exciting for poetry. The internet isn’t sucking kids’ attention away from poetry; it’s just packaging it in a new box.

“Carpe diem” was a Latin phrase meaning “seize the moment.” #YOLO is an internet phrase meaning, in essence, the same thing.

What could be achieved if #YOLO wasn’t seen as a stupid trend but as a modern version of “carpe diem”?

Could poetry be made out of #YOLO?

Watch the videos I linked and decide for yourself.

“Welcome to the internet // You logged on // You are here and alive on the internet.” -Daniel Alexander

Round 2

Hello arts, ink-viewing people,

Apparently arts, ink is starting up again. Cool.

This is my Hello! post.

So, Hello! 😛

My name is Mark Buckner.

I am a senior double majoring in English (/ creative writing) and informatics.

I play drums in a band

I write, mostly fiction but also other less traditional forms, like I tweet a lot and Tumbl dumb image macros and stuff. And this blog, I suppose, is writing.

Here is an image macro I Tumbld, which has a picture of me. Look at my beautiful blurry face, and now you can picture who is talking to you:

I’m very interested in the internet and its culture, particularly the “art” surrounding it. With my blog here this year I intend to talk a lot about “internet art.”

I feel traditional, IRL art is losing its appeal and relevance. I feel the internet is “where it’s at.” Probably I feel this way because I am mostly interested in literature, and books are a dying art form while internet literature is rising. Maybe other art forms, like paintings or something, are still good IRL.

My favorite book is ‘the internet,’ is my clever answer to “What’s your favorite book?”

Speaking of music, the new Godspeed You! Black Emperor album is sweet.

What, we weren’t speaking of music?

Well, I won’t ramble; I know your attention is a scarce resource and, statistically, you are likely to navigate away if confronted with a daunting wall of text.

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It is very cool that the University of Michigan provides a space like this for students and art.

I look forward to writing at you.

I want to interact with you online. This blog is a good gateway.

Add me on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and I will literally talk to you online.

Tonight I went to a punk rawk show at Launch Skate Shop on South University ave. This band played, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is my Hello! post. What is your first impression? Arts, ink needs more commentors. I dare you to comment at me.

You should Gchat or email me!

What brings you here, to arts, ink?

7 ‘Aesthetic Experiences’ I can Remember Where Art More or Less Saved / Affirmed my Life, or Something

My junior semester is ending and I’m feeling reflective and wistful and seriously stressed and time-crunched and I’ll probably do poorly on my exams / final papers, and I’m thinking about how or why I’ve ended up becoming an ‘arts blogger’ and vaguely thinking about things like ‘what is art’ and ‘why does it matter’ or ‘what does it mean to me,’ and before long I’m realizing that ‘art’ in general is pretty much the one thing that seems to ‘matter’ to me, and I recently read this thing this philosopher guy Ludwig Wittgenstein said—Wittgenstein said, “It’s impossible for me to say one word about all that music has meant to me in my life. How, then, can I hope to be understood?” (which is broody and philosopher-y but so trueeeee, right?)—and I stopped and thought about it for a minute and was like, ‘whoah,’ and I just instantly wanted to write similar things about ‘all that music / literature / art in general has meant to me’ in my life, even though it’s kinda impossible to say how much they’ve meant and I know that’s cliché to say but I also know it’s true. Let’s face it we’re bombarded with art-talk almost constantly in this day-n-age, what with the internet and 18 credits of humanities courses and blogs like this one etc., but maybe it’d be cool if we all took a moment, as this semester ends, as beautiful spring begins, to breathe and think about what art ‘means to you’—maybe people can like comment on this post, answering the question ‘what does art mean to you?’ (nobody will do it)—and breathe in and out, slowwwlllly, and maybe just, like, appreciate (?) those moments in your personal history where a song made your stomach flutter or a film made you cry or a book made you think and maybe just, like, feel good about how sometimes, despite the generalized shittyness of existence and final exams and essays, things can be beautiful?

Earlier this year, I read a post ( from my arts, ink blogger friend Jessy Larson that said, “After 2.5 years of being an art history major, I have watched myself care less and less about what a work of art actually looks like” and “I rarely have that ‘oh this sculpture is so beautiful!’ feeling anymore.” It made me feel sad. Because I know the feeling—or lack thereof—all too well. The ‘nothing really seems oh-so-beautiful’ feeling. And to hear the feeling from one of my good friends, well, that hurt. I mean the older I get the less mystical and mind-blowing and wonderful a lot of art seems. A lot of it just seems like average things average people make, averagely. A lot of it seems shitty—like that episode of South Park where Stan starts seeing everything as shit (’re_Getting_Old). That episode is really good. Watch it, if you haven’t. #Disillusionment. I often can watch a ‘tear-jerker’ film and feel Nothing. I can read a novel in one sitting, without once feeling excitement or suspense or sorrow or empathy or anything really, with complete knowledge of how the story will end before I reach the final page, with vague antipathy towards the author for writing a predictable story, with vaguer antipathy towards myself for predicting. I can listen to a song without really ‘hearing’ it. Maybe I’m just getting older. Maybe I’ve oversaturated myself; after 21 years of book after book after song after song after film after film, they’ve all started to ‘taste like chicken.’ Etc. Etc.

But as my…’aesthetic experiences’ (?)…become rarer, they also become more precious. And it’s night’s like these, when I’m pounding on my keyboard in the grad library and have 10000 papers due soon and finals to study for but won’t study for, when I’ve just read a deep-seeming quotation from an Austrian philosopher, that I feel compelled to drop the ennui and the blasé and the jaded and the three years of A-grade analytical essays re art for university courses for a second and feel compelled to just run with my inexplicable current passion vaguely about ‘art’ and to acknowledge its ability to make me tremble, cry, hope, acknowledge its ineffable…something.

So these are some of my top ‘aesthetic experiences’ I could remember.

1. In 7th grade, I was just starting to learn how to play the drums and was like ‘studying’ John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), who is probably my favorite drummer, and I remember this one night: there was a thunderstorm and I couldn’t sleep and I was worried about going to school the next morning for some angsty seventh-grader-y reason—maybe I had a presentation, maybe some kids were going to pick on me—and I was listening to “Stairway to Heaven” on my first CD player ever, which was a P.O.S. Sony, via big whole-ear-covering headphones and I cranked the volume all the way up and sobbed uncontrollably and made vague promises to myself about ‘being a better person’ at school the next morning and about getting good at playing drums so that I could be a super famous drummer and so that I could always have music in my life.

2. In 11th or 12th grade I was grounded and alone in my room and bored and decided to read for whatever reason, so I downloaded “The Catcher in the Rye” and read it as a Microsoft Word document on my like 7in.-by-12 in.-netbook screen in like two sittings, and I liked it, so I Googled “books like The Catcher in the Rye” and got the result “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and downloaded it and read it as a .doc too, in one sitting, and loved it and felt like the protagonist in it was pretty much me exactly and felt good knowing there were ‘people like me out there’ and decided—and I mean decided—I needed to ‘participate’ in life more—that’s pretty much like the whole point of the book: you have to participate, in life, instead of just being a ‘wallflower’—and now I still think about ‘participation’ in life very often, and if I hadn’t read that book I’d probably participate in life less.

3. In high school in my first band ever we covered the song “99 Red Balloons” and every time we played it I would get PUMPED and hit my drums way harder than normal—like to the point that my entire arms would hurt from it and my hands would blister—even when we we’re just playing in my basement for nobody, and but one time we were playing at a stupid place called “His Rock café,” which was basically a medium-sized stained-carpeted room with musty couches pushed up against the walls and shitty lighting, and after we played some shitty screamo band played next and their guitarist jokingly played the 99-Red-Balloons riff as they were tuning up to like make fun of my band or something, but I wasn’t even mad—I felt like ‘I don’t care if anyone thinks “99 Red Balloons” is a lame song because when we play that song we kick its ass and nobody can tell me otherwise, ever, especially not this stupid screamo guitarist kid.’

4. Summer 2010 I was jobless and had way too much free time—it seems like most of my best ‘aesthetic / art-related experiences’ happen during periods of ‘too much free time,’ I just noticed—and drove myself to Borders (RIP) and bought the 1,000 page behemoth Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, which my creative-writing teacher whom I liked way more than 95% of my teachers had suggested I read over the summer, and for ~2weeks I read it for ~7hrs. every day and only stopped to like eat or urinate or stuff like that, and I’ll probably never read so consistently constantly intensely deeply ever again ever, and it made me fall in love with reading—I’d always liked reading, but I couldn’t take our relationship to the next level before that fateful ‘infinite summer’—and made me realize other people exist. ‘Made me realize other people exist’? Yeah, well, it’s kinda hard to explain but when you’re a jaded, big-university-attending, blasé, rocker drummer cool guy like me you tend to be a little solipsistic and self-centered and egotistical and oh-so-alone and lone-wolf-y, to the point that skepticism about other’s consciousness isn’t all that far-fetched. But in Infinite Jest I saw a conscientious human on the page, for 1,000 pages, and I ‘interfaced’ with him, and I realized people exist outside my head, realized that although I’m literally at the center of my universe, because of how perception works, I’m not at the center of The Universe.

5. Every time I hear the Crime in Stereo lyrics “It comes around when I need it most / it’s mostly closer to me than anything / closer than you could ever be / the antidote for everything” (which reference music), I think something like “The effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts, for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence”—Schopenhauer.

6. Summer 2011 I could never sleep and would always stay up until like 5 a.m., and music was beginning to lose its luster for me—this was the summer I really started developing that ‘nothing feels oh-so-beautiful anymore’ feeling—and so I started listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Attenas to Heaven” (which is my favorite album title ever btw) every night to fall asleep, because some of my friends had told me they listened to ‘post-rock’ to sleep, and, yeah, it helped me sleep every night because every night I’d sorta ‘lose myself’ in the music and ‘get carried away’ and sorta enter into a trance or something and meditate and think about things I wouldn’t normally think about, like God or lack thereof (maybe I just thought about God because of the name of the band / album [but I like to think I thought about God because of the music itself]), and one night I literally Lifted My Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven during a big climax in one song—if you don’t know anything about post-rock, it has like ebbs and flows and ‘climaxes’—and held my fists up for like two entire minutes, in the middle of the night, lying supine on my bed, looking out my bedroom’s big window, at the stars / ‘Heaven,’ and my stomach was dropping non-stop.

7. Once I thought, “Art, in general, is the only thing about the world that seems prima facie ‘meaningful’ or ‘life-affirming’ or ‘Good’ to me, and without it I’m literally not sure I’d have ‘the will to live,’” in a near-silent large arch-ceilinged room in a graduate library while all around me students idly typed things on computers and coughed and flipped pages and maintained facial expressions communicating ‘I’d rather be dead right now than doing this mind-numbing school-related thing.’