You may have noticed our snazzy new design. You may also have noticed that there are six more options in the header. While not every site section is completely up and running yet, we thought it was best to put as much of the new site design as possible online as soon as we could.
The search engine is offline for a few days while we re-tool it to improve performance and increase page relevance.
We'd like to welcome Paul as a moderator of the Members forum - Paul will serve as "Forum Mom" for the Members' Poetry Post, Poem-A-Day, and Members' Announcements forums. Please do your best to contribute in a positive and helpful way in the forums - you'll be treated thusly in return.
We're also pleased to announce the arrival of our own publications, the Plagiarist PoetryNotes. For students who need help researching a poem or need help with analysis, the PoetryNotes should be just what you need to speed you along to an easy "A".
We're aware of some display problems in IE 5.x for the Mac - we're working on it.
Let us know if anything seems to be awry - we're still working out some minor issues with the new design, which is more demanding of a "modern" browser than the previous was. Anyone using IE 5 and above (running any version of Windows), Netscape 6 and above, or any version of Mozilla (any OS) will see these pages as they were intended to be seen. Any older browser, and you're on your own.
Last week I wrote a book review nearly each day. The last of those is of Kate Northrop's gorgeous new book, "Back Through Interruption
." My review doesn't do it justice - it's easily the best 'first book' I've ever read.
There's also a selection of poems by Kate Northrop
in the archive.
Also posted this week are reviews of:
Lee Upton's Approximate Darling
Ron Rash's Raising the Dead
Ron Rash's Among the Believers
David Lehman's The Daily Mirror
As if that wasn't enough, we also added a whopping 559 new poems this week, including a number from Edna St. Vincent Millay
, and many more by Emily Dickinson
There are actually so many Dickinson poems now that some people with slow connections have to wait a long time just to see the list of Dickinson's poems we have on the site. We'll be remedying that this week.
Also, you may have noticed that we made a change to the way comments are added. Because so many people abused the form we're now screening all of the comments.
I would have thought that students were brighter than this, but the text above the form explicitly states that questions or requests for help are not accepted. Do they listen? No, we continue to receive idiot comments like "analysis of the poem" which of course is neither a question nor a comment. Visitor's comments are still a vital part of the site, and we welcome them and have benefitted greatly from some of the intelligent and varied posts many visitors have made - unfortunately the annoyances outweigh the good comments by ten to one.
We'll be back in two weeks with the new feature on Frank O'Hara. We hope you'll have enough to read until then.
-- Jough Dempsey
Finally added another book review, this time for Reginald Shepherd's "Angel, Interrupted." Link below.
The Frank O'Hara feature has been pushed back another two weeks or so - not only because I've been busy with other things but also because I'm giving a few of our contributors more time to work on their essays. We believe that the quality of the feature will be worth the wait.
I'm going to be adding a new short book review (a brief review of full-length books, not reviews of short books) each day this week. The backlog of books that poets and publishers have sent in for review have been growing, so I want to jumpstart the "Book Reviews" section by writing and posting reviews for a number of books that I've been reading over the past few months.
Book reviewing is a new skill I'm trying to practice, so please use the Talkback form at the bottom of each review to let me know how I'm doing, offer helpful suggestions as to how I could improve my reviews, etc.
I've also decided to not post (too many) negative reviews. While it's fun to be nasty sometimes, there isn't really much point to trashing a book online. I'd rather spend my time boosting good books than trashing bad ones (although from time to time I'll post a negative review of a book that was otherwise reviewed favourably by the standard press).
It's true that most magazines and review sites tend to only publish positive reviews, and there's a reason for that: when people buy poetry (rather than fiction, or CDs, or automobiles, etc.) and like it they'll tend to buy more of it - increasing the market for the genre is good for everyone publishing in it.
Plagiarist.com is never going to be one of the sites that publishes glowing reviews of every book regardless of its quality. What I propose is to simply write about books that may have been overlooked, or books that are new and may be of interest to our readers.
Having said all that, feel free to contribute your own book reviews, even of the same books we've already reviewed if your opinion differs from the reviewer's. Just e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
and let us know what you'd like to review.
Poets and publishers may also use our "Contact Us" form if they'd like to submit a book for review.
We've also added 222 new poems this week, including more Dickinson (we're up to about half of her collected poems now) and all of the submissions we've received in the past couple of weeks. Thank you to everyone who continues to submit poetry to the archive. Keep 'em coming.
Also, there's a new section in the forums where members can post a Poem-A-Day
. Check out the forums for more details.
More reviews this week, a new article next week, and the O'Hara feature in a... in... well, eventually.
-- Jough Dempsey, ed.
For those of you who have been wanting to read my
work, you can see a small sample of it in the Summer 2002 issue of Main Street Rag
. The issue is available for order online through the MSR Bookstore (<full-disclosure>built by yours truly</full-disclosure>) or by clicking on the purple cover image to the left.
Besides my work there's also a great interview with Publisher/Poet Richard Peabody about starting a magazine, getting financing, printing, dealing with poets, etc. I don't mean for this to be a commercial. I don't have any association with MSR other than being a regular reader and now published poet in their pages. Okay, I did some web design work for them, too. But it's still a good read, and for those of you whose poetry I've rejected in the past (on a statutory basis, not for any personal bias against it) here's your chance to see what mine's all about.
Tune in next week for another grand chunk of poems from Emily Dickinson
Greetings to those of you who are visiting this page for the first time through our new listing in Yahoo.com
This week's updates include more Dickinson, all the way up to number 500 (and some beyond that) representing a little more than 27% of her collected poems. We'll be adding more over the next few weeks until they're all up.
Only two weeks left until our deadline for essays on Frank O'Hara. Check out our call for papers on Frank O'Hara
if you want to contribute something for our September feature.
We'll be back next week with more poems, some new articles, and some news on a new project that we're very excited about around here.
-- Jough Dempsey, ed.