The Poetry Foundation: Poetry at your Fingertips

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

The Poetry Foundation’s website seemingly has it all:  They broadcast poetry, they broadcast critiques of poetry, they run a poetry magazine, they feature video and audio of poets and artists, and they have interactive tools to allow for more convenient and user friendly access to poetry.  The Poetry Foundation lives, breathes and yes, eats poetry!

One of the leading literary foundations in the world, the Poetry Foundation was established in 2003, developing out of the Modern Poetry Association, which was founded in 1941.  The non-profit organization is working to raise poetry awareness, so to speak.  Poetry POWER!  They aim to make the art form a more influential in American culture. The Poetry Foundation is leading the way in helping to re-frame the receptivity of poetry by creating new methods for availability and encouraging new kinds of poetry, poets, and readers.

The website generates news about poetry per day for dedicated readers.  It also has more simple tools, such as the “find a poem,” where viewers can navigate their way to poems by searching by category.  They also have a “poetry tool,” where viewers can limit their experience by occasion, poet, keywords, or titles.  These features are perfect for students in school who are assigned a project on poetry or a specific poet.

Also online is Poetry Magazine, which was founded in Chicago by Harriet Monroe in 1912, and is published by the foundation.  Online viewers can access limited content of current and past issues before deciding to subscribe.  There is also an opportunity for poets/writers to submit their work for possible publication.  Another piece to the website is “Harriet: The Blog.”  Harriet is a news blog on the website and provides online discussion about poetry.

If I could contribute to the Poetry Foundation’s website, I would pitch the following three concepts:

One: Implement an online video forum for poets and fans to connect.  Perhaps, run a week out of the month where poets with new material come to talk about poetry and answer questions about their work via live chat.  I think the poetry world is not only niche enough to have people be interested in something like this, but specific enough to foster a friendly and mature atmosphere for discussion.

Two: I have this idea of a piece on the Marilyn Monroe book, “Fragments,” that was released this month.  (onMason interstitial here) Though I am not completely sure how it would work, I want to do a slideshow of her most iconic pictures, and pair them with an excerpt from the book that corresponds chronologically to when each picture was taken.  This would aim to demonstrate the contrast between her public image and her private-self.

Three: I would like to see something on the website that dives into “How-to’s.”  For example, how to critique a poem could possibly be featured in a section of the website.   Or perhaps, how to write certain type of poem would be useful.  I see this bringing traffic to the website and consequently, increasing the reputable image that it already has.

Website Response: Ebert’s got everything you want

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Romantic comedies can be, well… predictable, and most reviews of romantic comedies can be, well…very predictable. Roger Ebert is not predictable critic and it’s refreshing to read a review that doesn’t shy around the truth because there are big name stars in the film. Humor always adds a little spice to what could be a boring negative review and Ebert executes humor in a tasteful and deliberate manner without losing his purpose on the website

Ebert’s review of “Life as We Know It” follows a structure of adding “Awww” before each new paragraph, which set up his sarcastic comments.  Ebert’s reviews aren’t limited to just one genre but they touch on many aspects of movie culture.  Diving into many different genres Ebert gives a unique perspective and is one of the top names in the critic businesses. If you have a little more time, the Review section is where you will get the most in depth information about a movie.

Ebert’s One-Minute Reviews are a quick-to-the-point review accompanied by a star rating. A complete opposite review of “Life as We Know It” is the One-Minute Review of “Hatchet II” (complete review)where Ebert rips apart this cheesy horror movie. Ebert says:

There are many good movies opening this weekend. “Hatchet II” is not one of them. Tickets are not cheap and time is fleeting. Why would you choose this one? That’s a good topic for a long, thoughtful talk with yourself in the mirror.

Ebert also dives into movie classics on his website under his Great Movies section. Ebert’s review of “Some Like It Hot” instantly influences the reader want to see the great classic.  His ability to analyze social issues in the movie makes this much more then a simple review; instead it’s a comparison of taste.

To contribute to this website I would pitch a section for actors and directors responses to reviews written by Ebert. It would be interesting to see why certain creative decisions were made and what inspired the actors and directors. A specific example would be interviews with the cast of “The Hangover” which would be hilarious with such an outgoing cast. Another pitch would be to have a section of Ebert’s all time favorite reviews of both good and bad reviews selected by the readers would be interactive. Lastly, I think a section of the top box office flops and commentary on why they didn’t do well would be interesting. All of these ideas would add a little humor and more interaction among the readers.

Awww, are you wishing that more critics and website would be honest about a movie, instead of trying to flatter the actors and directors?   Check out and you won’t be disappointed.

Website Response – Comic Book Resources

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

There is only one website (that I know of) that has everything a person needs to know everything that is currently going on in the world of comics: Comic Book Resources.

They truly have it all: interviews with creators, reviews of each week’s comics, analyses of each month’s sales, videos, blogs, a twitter page and a popular message board.

One of my favorite blogs hosted by CBR is “Comics Should Be Good,” which is posted on by a few regular writers, but mostly by it’s creator, Brian Cronin. Cronin rarely reviews individual comics, but writes more about the people who create comics in his “Comic Book Legends Revealed” feature. He often takes a comical approach to his writing and tends to poke fun at comics and it’s creators, an approach that is normally rare from comic book fans that see writers and artists as gods that can do no wrong.

Also one of the best features of the website is its message board. There, fans can argue to no end on what comic book company, series, hero, villain, etc. is better. It’s always fun to read the crazy crap people write.

One of the biggest drawbacks to this site is that they focus mainly on mainstream comics like Marvel and DC, and not some the smaller and independent companies. Which brings me to my first story proposal.

I propose a monthly feature column in which a comic book is highlighted as something good that an independent company is doing, and would be worth buying. This would do better than just a simple review that people tend to pass over indie reviews on their website and this would be given a prominent space.

Second, I would love to see a NCAA bracket type competition where super heroes or villains are matched up against each other, and fans who go to that site would vote to see who would beat the other character in a fight or who is more popular. This is something I’ve seen done on other websites, but never on CBR.

Third, I would also propose a weekly or daily section were they highlight and review an old comic. This would help remind people that comics aren’t just about what’s new, but also what’s old. Plenty of people search for good back issues to buy, and having a feature that highlights older comics would help fans find the best of the back issues.

Other than those ideas, I’m not sure what else I can add to CBR because, like I said, they already do so much and do it well. If you ever want to know what’s going on in the world of comics, go to CBR.

Website Response – The Cut

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

If you are looking for reliable and recent fashion news, The Cut is the place to soak up that knowledge. The blog originated from the very popular New York magazine in 2009, which has now become an online enterprise. New York magazine has a variety of online blogs, such as Restaurant reviews and an Entertainment section, and of course, a fashion goldmine called The Cut. While the Fashion tab on the New York magazine website is pretty informative and current, The Cut is a more chill and friendly site, a super popular spot for fashion bloggers.

Although the site is fashion oriented, not everything is about telling you what sweaters to wear this winter and how to style yourself. One of the strong features that The Cut offers is the variety of news coverage in the fashion industry; anything from new and upcoming men’s fashion lines to “The Look of The Day” to celebrity gossip such as OMG Rachel Zoe is prego! The Cut also lets its readers be heard. Under every story post, a comment box is available; readers may express their opinions and agree to disagree.

The Cut always provides readers with the most current fashion ideas and trends. However, I’d love to see a variety of high fashion and street wear. It would be interesting to feature posts on regular people (not celebs) with brilliant fashion taste. Or people could send in their own pictures and talk about where they shop and who their fashion icons are. Speaking of fashion icons, it would be interesting to see The Cut do a feature on Fashion Icons per decade. For example, they could feature Audrey Hepburn in the 50s, Jackie Kennedy in the early 60s ,and maybe Amber Rose as an upcoming icon today. Another interesting thing would be to have weekly reviews on Who What Wear; this would be basically critiquing who wore what during the week, and stating whether it was a success or if the fashion police had to be called.