Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Samizdat Notes to Alt-Poetry: A Potentially Good Idea Upon Which I Probably Will Not Act

So there I was, going over my notebook of annotations to Maurice Scully's two new books, Sonata and Tig for the review I was writing, when a small, buzzing lightbulb appeared over my head. At first it gave off no more than thirty or forty watts, and was more of an annoyance than anything else. But as its light grew and grew, and I was able to switch off my reading lamp and contine to work by the light of my idea alone, I finally came to the conclusion that I may be on to something.

And that something was this: if I were to post my reading notes to the various relatively unsung books of poetry I teach, review, or otherwise get into with some degree of seriousness, and make those notes available to the public, then I might have the basis for a substantial critical treatment of each book. If I were to put those comments into a wiki, then those who were interested could add their notes and observations Wikipedia-style, and pretty soon we'd have something like a "reader's guide" to each of the books. And if I were to create a format that kind of echoes the Cliffs Notes or SparkNotes format (though, you know, not so thoroughly as to get myself sued), the whole thing could be kind of cool. I mean, I'd love to be able to go to the "Study Questions and Essay Topics" section and see what people had put up -- I imagine at least 50% of the attempts to be funny would work, and there may even be some serious, worthwhile areas for futher inquiry outlined there.

I admit, I owe many of the watts coming from my lightbulb to the Bill Allegrezza Electrical Company -- Bill's recentlys set up some kind of Wiki for poetry discussion, which I've been meaning to check out.

So. Whaddaya think? Is this something you could get behind? Is it something to which you'd contribute? Would it be instantly vandalized by haters, oddballs and highly partisan freaks (who are, after all, our people, here on the fringes of alt-poetry land)? Drop me a line (my email is on my profile page) before the new semester starts and my zeal wanes and, if there's an overwhelming outpouring of support, odds are even that I'll actually make it happen.