Friday, March 8, 2013

Building Audience for Speculative Poetry: Overall Goals

Euterpe - Muse of Poetry
In my first post on this topic "Definitions," I talked about the initial steps I would take to expand the audience for speculative poetry.  My thoughts were "first to define terms, and then to plan initial assessment.  I can't do anything without assessment - too long working in science and science education."  It's good to know thyself :)

To that end, I started my foray into definitions in that post (and I will continue to work on definitions throughout the whole audience-building process), and now I am going to start thinking about assessment.

By assessment I mean the suite of tools, data, and procedures that let you know if you are succeeding, and if not, what you need to change to put yourself on the right path.  Assessment helps you define your goals and then lets you know if you've actually achieved them.  Like definitions, it is something that goes with you throughout a project.

In considering what assessment I would develop for my little (har) project here, the first thing I need to know is, what do I really want to accomplish, what does that mean, and how will I know when I've done it?  Trying to frame an overarching goal into words is tough ... so instead, here are some of the markers one might look for as they go forward.  This is just a brainstorm at this point - I'm looking for input from you.

  • More people writing spec poems (also could be more poems being written)
  • More people reading spec poems (also could be more poems being read)
  • More journals and mags publishing spec poems
  • More general buzz about spec poetry (more blogs with spec poetry and related topics, more tweets, more general literary news about spec poetry.)
  • More spec poetry events like readings, talks, panels, etc.
  • More spec poetry education opportunities like IRL or online classes
  • More spec poetry by POC, queer, marginalized, people-we-historically-miss authors
  • More spec poetry awards
  • More spec poetry groups, organizations, societies
  • More spec poetry resources, such as bibliographies, Who's Who lists, etc.
  • More interaction with spec poetry and other fields such as science, visual art, music, etc. 
  • More general respect for spec poetry as a genre
  • etc.

What would you like to see on such a list?  What changes in the area of speculative fiction would really fire you up, make you happy, thrill you, etc.?  What would success look like for you? (And here is the question to tip off the next blog post - how would you go about measuring it?)

Image Credit:  Euterpe, Muse of Poetry by Guffens, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain


Anonymous said...

I think promoting interstitial work, which you list as more interaction between poetry and other art forms, is important, because it can seduce an audience that doesn't already consider itself enthusiastic about sf or poetry. Consider how Shira Lipkin's poem "The Changeling" went viral, and we can actually point to views/likes for data purposes.

JA Grier (ee/em/eir) said...

Hello cafenowhere - Thanks for the comment. I like the idea of reaching for that "audience that doesn't already consider itself enthusiastic about sf or poetry" with work that falls between / blurs/ blends the lines of art. I'd love to know more about what "interstitial" work means to you, and what other examples you have! It would be great to have some easily tallied data like views/likes to call out.

Anonymous said...

Here's another example of what I consider interstitial art, though the speculative content is slight:

Again, we have the view counts to indicate popularity as one measure of success.

One thing "The Changeling" and "Swiftly" have in common is that they have a voice doing some of the interpretation. People who don't consider themselves knowledgeable about poetry can still appreciate it because they have some emotional guidance. Animation or dance or dramatization can all provide interpretative clues.

Inspired by Samantha Henderson's poem "Berry Cobbler," I've been working on a poem that includes a recipe. By integrating other arts and crafts into poetry, perhaps we give readers something extra to hold onto, another venue for meaning?