Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Heart of a Poet

Karen Solie
     We here at Commercial Poetry deal with poetry, not poets.  This foray into uncharted waters is an exception, but one with a larger point.  To appreciate this discussion, we need to put aside various weightier questions, beginning with whether or not we should feature failed poets during an era that has no successful ones.  The issue is how technology has reduced production costs while expanding the size of our potential audience.  Together, these should, in theory at least, be a boon to literature and its promoters.

Andrea Thompson
    The "Heart of a Poet" series was produced by Maureen Judge and hosted by Andrea Thompson.  It aired on "Bravo!" and "Book" television in Canada for two seasons, ending in 2007.  It included interviews and performance samples by Page and, in some cases, Stage poets from across that country.  Of the ones I saw, a few were rather good:  George Elliott Clarke (Episode 210), Anne Simpson (207) and Karen Solie (Episode 109).  Some, like Ray Hsu (Episode 212), were amusing.  The less said about others I saw and the cloying title of the series, the better.

George Elliot Clarke
    One of the problems with "Heart of a Poet" was the limited viewership, even among those few interested in poets.  These shows aired during prime time on cable television;  at least one of the channels was not part of basic cable.  From all appearances and with exceptions noted above, little of the verse had much popular or aesthetic appeal.

    How would you like to produce a superior series without a budget that will attract hundreds of times as many viewers as "Heart of a Poet" did?  If nothing else, you'll be popular in your local poetry community!

Ann Simpson
    Grab a video recorder (a GoPro would be more than sufficient) and someone who knows a little about editing.  Find an attractive host and some willing poets.  (Few would turn you down.)  Your local writers' group or publishers should be able to line you up with all the talent you need, including more than enough poets from the Book world.  Ask for volunteers at your local open mike and slam outlets.  Go to Eratosphere, Poetry Free-For-All or Gazebo and ask if there are interested Onliners in your area.  (If so, you may have scored a real coup!  Many of those characters are notoriously camera shy but can bring in a sizeable network of viewers.)

     Shoot and edit your videos, post them to YouTube, and publish the URLs and bios in venues such as your local writers' group's newsletter and site.


      You're done.

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