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What Poets Write

What do poets write and say when they don’t write pomes and poetics essays—or poems that ARE poetics essays?

Well for one, they write essays that are their own kunstlerromans, like Julia Cohen. Read some more essays about life and what it may throw at the living here in Diagram.

They exchange letters, like Thom Donovan and Brandon Brown. This is what we call “shaping the discourse.”

Poets, of course, blog, and if you put all the poet bloggers together they would circle the earth. But we especially love reading Tamiko Beyer, and we do wish Tonya Foster would blog anew already. Across the pond, Jonty Tiplady breaks it down U.K.-style.

They write eloquently about other poets, like Jeroen Nieuwland.

They organize, like Jonathan Skinner and Michael Rothenberg, who write passionately about the need to preserve the planet, and grow an international movement. Or like Filip Marinovic and Stephen Boyer, the People’s Librarians, who preserve the work of our downtown AlexandriaJustin Sirois and friends started the Understanding Campaign, which aims to open up dialogue between American and Arabic cultures by asking everyone to learn just one Arabic word—fhm (pronounced “fuh’hem”)—“understanding.”

Poets witness as journalists, like the incredible Linh Dinh.

Poets (especially Kristin Prevallet) hypnotize, which is a kind of word spoken … They listen to music and review the juice out of it, like Brian Howe and the countless poets of Coldfront’s Poets Off Poetry series.

Poets write songs too, and sing them—our faves are Juan and the Pines and i feel tractor.

Poets write novels: read Kirsten Kaschock and Eileen Myles and Magdalena Zurawski and Ammiel Alcalay and Collin Kelley … And plays, comme Ariana Reines!

They write young adult science fiction; check out Dan Boehl’s “Naomi and the Horse-Flavored T-Shirt.”

Poets tweet dubious classics, like Gone with the Wind—see Vanessa Place, and why she does what she does (or not).

Patricia Lockwood sexts on Twitter—and you can read her Selected Sexts right here. She’s a gem.

Really poets will write any old thing, and make it new. What more do they write? Send us your insights—’cause poets write roundups, too.

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