April 12, 2016

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

National Poetry Month 2013: Digital Poetry Archives with Diane Mayr

Librarians can be a writers' best friend. Are you doing research for your  next book? A librarian can help you refine your search and find the resources you need.

Just remember, librarians are now known as Media Specialists -- and for good reason. Helping patrons find books is just a fraction of their skill set. Media specialists assist people in how to find and consume information. And in 2013, information often equals technology.

Today, librarian(!) and Poetry Friday blogger Diane Mayr introduces us to Archive.Org, a great TechnoVerse resource for all things poetic.

The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.

You may already know about the Internet Archive if you've done research for writing projects, but, you may not know about all the poetry you can find.

"Like what?" you might ask.

Like an audio of class on writing poetry conducted by Allen Ginsberg back in 1984. It's the next best thing to being in a classroom.

Later in life, Ginsberg often played
musical instruments during readings.

Or, recordings of twenty-three different readers reading Robert Frost's "Fire and Ice." Why would you want to hear so many versions? Perhaps you have to read your work aloud--listening might give you insights into how you should perform.

You can get to know a writer like May Sarton through a video recorded interview with her.

May Sarton Quotes
Find a page of Sarton quotes at Rugu.Com.

Through its "Open Library," The Internet Archive provides many books of poetry, which are in the public domain. Some of the titles are not available through other sites such as Gutenberg.Org,
so if you're looking for something that's out of print, make sure to try The Internet Archive.

Or, do a general search using keywords such as "children's poetry," and you may come across something like Schnick Schnack: Trifles for the Little-Ones, published in 1867. It is not to be missed! Its poems for kids are delightful, as well as cautionary, and are accompanied by full color illustrations. (I never realized such lush illustrations appeared in books back then.)

Old volumes of Poetry magazine, starting with volume one: 1912-1913, are also available.  The first volume included a short piece, "The Motive of the Magazine."  Here's part of it:

If you're not looking for anything in particular, I recommend doing a search on a contemporary poet like Billy Collins or Rita Dove.  Leave the drop-down box on "All Media Types," and click "GO!"  I guarantee you'll be kept busy for hours!  Have fun, and let us know what you find.

Thank you for guest blogging in the TechnoVerse today, Diane. I am already having fun with this amazing resource. I spotted a tab entitled "Wayback Machine" at Archive.Org. How enticing!

Diane was kind enough to contribute a Media Specialist tanka for today's post:

another cup
of coffee while
fingers fly
from link to link seeking 
cures for curiosity

By Diane Mayr
Posted with permission of the author.

Diane Mayr is a public librarian in New Hampshire.  She is also the author of several books. Last November, her picture book, Run, Turkey, Run! was turned into a children's musical theater production!  [see photo]  Diane is a big fan of haiku, haiga (illustrated haiku), and other short form poetry.  Visit her blog,, to learn more.

Tomorrow, a poet from  my neighborhood -- Kay Weeks of Howard County, Maryland -- tests out a random poetry generator. Want to try one now? How about Vogon poetry?


Jet said...

Excellent and informative post!

Diane Mayr said...

Thanks, Laura! Just for the record, in my public library in NH, we're still called librarians. The media specialists are the people in the school libraries. Of course, we public librarians are expected to know all the technology. I'm not so good with the hardware end of it, but I do love social media and the internet!

Tabatha said...

Twenty-three different versions of Robert Frost's "Fire and Ice"? Awesome!

Also awesome -- having a musical made from your picture book.

I think maybe we need a cure for *lack* of curiosity...

Author Amok said...

Thanks, Jet. All credit goes to Diane!

Diane, I have to admit that I'm glad you retain the title "librarian." The word carries so many wonderful connotations.

Tabatha -- maybe we can lobby for a production of Diane's book musical in Maryland.

Liz Steinglass said...

What an amazing resource. I'm going to put the link on my toolbar.

Renee LaTulippe said...

Oh. No. There goes all my free time + a good percentage of my work time. What an amazing resource! Thank you, Diane (I think). You know I'm heading straight to Robert Frost x 23!

Laura, this series has been fabulous. Thank you!

Linda B said...

Wow-I didn't know about this, Diane. Thank you for tantalizing us with a few of the possibilities. I will certainly send this on to writer friends and my school's "media specialist". Actually we still call her our librarian, and beloved she is! Thanks Laura, I think these posts will be returned to again & again!

Diane Mayr said...

I'm glad you all like the resource. Recently unveiled (last Thursday, 4/18), is Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). It looks so inviting, especially to research nuts! Check it out at!

Author Amok said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I am so pleased that you're all enjoying this series. I've learned more than I expected to. The guest bloggers have shared poetry technology that's practical, exciting and creative.