Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Introducing our newest contributor: Wallace Stevens

I've been thinking about what I'm going to use this blog for. On the one hand, its original goal -- to be a place for writing and archiving "Betty" on the net -- is completed. On the other, its new purpose -- being used to promote "Betty" to a wider readership -- means that I have to continue writing in it, so it will continue to show up in search engines.

Another thing I'd been thinking about, to promote the poem, was posting the entirety of "Betty" to usenet over the course of National Poetry Month (April). I did a similar thing last year with Wallace Stevens' "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction", and had been planning to follow up this April with Stevens' "The Man With the Blue Guitar". (I chose Stevens because, as he died in 1955, his poems are now in the public domain in Canada.)

Then "Betty" came along, and I thought of taking her to usenet for NaPo instead. In the end, I decided not to; I'd rather wait for a year, when with luck there'll be more to offer readers. (One thing I'd like to have developed is an interactive CD of the poem, in which readers can click on each colour name in the poem and actually see the colour on their monitor. Just a pipe dream, but who knows? Speaking of who knows, "Betty" could even be in book form in a year.) So Betty will have to wait for now, while Wallace and I will go to NaPo with the Blue Guitar instead. (I will, though, be adding a link to the blog as a sig line to those posts.)

But that in turn got me thinking: why can't I post "The Man with the Blue Guitar" here as well? Preferably in March, so that it will all be archived and ready for usenet posting in April. Then, I thought, why not archive "Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction" here as well? Doing both would give me quite a lot to post over the next couple of months.

So that's what I'll be doing. I'll be posting "Supreme Fiction" over February, and "Blue Guitar" in March. Like "Betty," each will be posted over the course of a month, and nothing else -- so that the blog archive for that month will be the complete poem. Also like "Betty," both will be posted in reverse order (so that when read in the archives, they'll appear in proper order).

In the next ten days, I plan to introduce readers unfamiliar with Mr. Stevens to his work by posting a couple of his shorter poems -- not the well-known and easily-found-on-the-web ones like "The Emperor of Ice Cream," "Sunday Morning," or "Peter Quince at the Clavier," but more obscure ones that I particularly like.

I hope you enjoy that new approach for the blog.

For more information on Wallace Stevens, please read this biography from the Academy of American Poets:

or this one from the Poetry Foundation:

or this one, from Penny's Poetry Pages:

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