Posted by: Andrew | May 1, 2008

Poets of the world, unite!

Came across this cool site on an NPR podcast today. From the Fishouse hosts hundreds of mp3 files featuring up-and-coming poets reading their own work. I like its ambition, to use the Web to give voices to emerging artists, to bring them beyond the page and into the realm of recitation (which, arguably, is poetry’s proper place). But there is something about this site that reminds me more of the Internet’s early days. Here are some things I’d do to enrich this spectacular site and help it make some cash:

1. As a non-profit podcast, this company should raise money by collecting the best into a book and selling it. Teach new media an old trick. Look at it as a premium service.

2. How do poets get featured on the site? Why not open it up to all poets, letting them upload files directly? Clearly everyone has Webcams, so naturally everyone and their grandmother has an audio hookup.

3. Let poets set up profiles so they contact one another, start workshops, writing groups, share some of their favorite poems that have inspired them, etc. Host online “residencies” for some star poets who’ve made it big and can give aspiring writers some friendly advice and take questions.

4. With all these features, Fishouse can build a niche in the Web community. The targeted demographics would be attractive to advertisers that could add a revenue stream to this business, making Fishouse less dependent on PayPal donations.

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