Friday, November 04, 2011

Review: Puss in Boots

I just got back from seeing Puss in Boots at the cinema. It's a good movie, not a great movie, but fun for a couple of hours. The frustrating part is that half of the movie is an imaginative, even insightful interpretation of classic fairy tales and nursery rhymes, but half of it is a bucket full of Hollywood clichés featuring cartoon physics, chase scenes, rivals who are romantically attracted to one another, and multiple gratuitous doublecrosses. Antonio Banderas is perfectly cast as Puss, Zach Galifianakis is great at Humpty Dumpty, and Selma Hayek is lackluster as Kitty Softpaws, although to be fair, Kitty Softpaws isn't much of a role.

The really good parts of the movie involve the reinterpretation of Humpty Dumpty as an orphan boy who never really fit in. A dreamer bullied by Little Boy Blue and other children in the orphanage, he grows up alienated and becomes a thief. Puss in Boots is his blood brother and partner -- until Puss gets a taste of a mother surrogate's approval and decides to go straight.

What happens is a series of doublecrosses, leading ultimately to the climax of the movie. No spoilers, but as Humpty *almost* pulls off the robbery of the San Ricardo Bank, only to have things go wrong, and his wagon crash, we are given an entirely different story about why "all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again." Humpty is broken on the inside, and although Puss is the protagonist, who is a fugitive from justice trying to clear his name, what really drives the story is Humpty's psychological development.

I don't usually use terms like 'psychological development' for a cartoon character, and I'm not saying that his is a masterpiece of mental movie-making, but you have to admit, having any psychological development at all in a fairy tale movie remake distinguishes it from almost every other movie made. Fairy tales and cartoons work by reducing their characters to a few keep features to deliver a simple morality tale--many of which are outmoded for today's world. Case in point: Belle's love redeems the Beast (See girls? Don't leave that abusive man! If you try hard enough, you can solve all his problems!)

The morality in Puss in Boots is classic fairy tale morality, but it's also a good contemporary lesson: be a good son to your mother. If you live in the way your mother approves, your community will approve to and you will be their hero. If you disappoint your mother, you've definitely done something wrong and will come to a bad end. Humpty Dumpty is the Bad Son, and Puss in Boots is the Good Son who goes astray, but who is always trying to return to what he knows is right.

Along with the updated yet timeless fairy tales, there's also contemporary humor and plenty of Hollywood clichés. Although we are in a land of magic, reality asserts itself from time to time, as when Humpty's golden egg disguise chafes and wedges up (his inventions always work, but they don't work well). This is juvenile humor to be appreciated by those under the age of 10 (Rugrats has made a trope out of babies pulling at their wedged diapers), but there's adult humor that will pass completely over the kids' heads too. For example, when Puss is busted for a crime he didn't commit, the jailer inventories his personal possessions, "One hat, one belt, two boots, and one bottle of catnip." The guard glares at him, but Puss looks sheepish and says, "It's for my glaucoma." Sometimes the humor comes from taking the fairy tales to their logical extreme. I won't identify the guardian of the goose that lays the golden egg; suffice to say, it fits, it's funny, and it's a real menace to the heroes.

If I were a wizard with video editing, I'd be tempted to go through the movie and cut out all the Hollywood clichés, leaving a movie that is much shorter and much better. Magical bean stalk as paranormal tornado? We can snip that right out and nobody will care. The egregious and gratuitous final doublecross in which it turns out that just about everybody is in cahoots with Humpty Dumpty? Sigh. That's so Hollywood. Why in the hell would Jack and Jill team up with Humpty anyhow? Okay, that's a spoiler, but it's a stupid plot twist so it doesn't deserve to be protected.

There's a real danger when remaking fairy tales; updating them tends to destroy their charm. Being faithful to the spirit of the fairy tale while finding a way to make it new is much more difficult than most people realize. Hence the descent into special effects wizardry, multiple chase scenes, and characterizations that make no sense. That's why the reinterpretation of Humpty as the loner who's broken inside works so well. As for Puss, he's given slightly more depth than the usual swashbuckling hero by making him love his mother and want to win her approval. Over all, Puss in Boots works on several levels, but that only makes the parts where it falls down more obvious and more frustrating. Puss in Boots could have been a great movie, but it settled for being merely good.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Visually Impaired Kindle Users Group

I don't normally post forwards, but I care very much about people with disabilities being able to access things the rest of us take for granted, so I'm posting this notice about the Visually Impaired Kindle Users Group


As you may know, Timothy Emmonds and I started a group to share tips for visually impaired people on how to use the Amazon Kindle for reading. We want it to be useful to people so we need it to grow.

I am asking two people to send this whole message keeping the subject as is to two more people they know who might be interested in learning more about whether the Amazon Kindle would work for them. Even if a person getting this note is not fond of Amazon or the Kindle, I hope they will pass this message on to two people in order to give them the option of joining and sharing.

All we ask is you send this message to two people.

Here's the point:

Subscribe to the discussion group Visually Impaired Kindle Users Group list by sending email with 'subscribe' in the Subject field.

Thanks for your help. Feel free to share on groups too.

Nan Hawthorne
Visually Impaired Kindle users Group

Monday, October 03, 2011

Great New Kindles, but They Still Suck

I've been watching the Amazon Kindle Press Release from September 28, 2011. The new Kindles are exciting, and the prices are coming down. I am intrigued by the Kindle Fire--it integrates all sorts of things, such as music, reading, and watching movies. It's in color. And yes, I did say, you can watch movies on it. And it's cheap for a tablet -- $199.

But you know what? Kindle still sucks.

I enjoy my Kindle. With a reading disability, it makes reading possible and enjoyable for me again. It's great. I like listening to books. I like being able to read classics for free. I like the nearly instantaneous delivery. I like being able to email documents for free to read on my Kindle with text-to-speech.

But what I hate, absolutely hate, is that Kindle has made it possible to download thousands of books, and find none of them.

Oh, they have collections. You can sort by title and author. But you can't sort by read and unread. And it's a pain in the butt to try and press through my hundreds of books and put them into collections, which I can't arrange the way I want to arrange them. I can't see covers, either. Not even when I open a book for the first time do I get to see the cover. Covers help me remember.

I want to be able to organize my content in the way that works for me. I want to be able to put it into hierarchies to sort it. I want a folder system.

But you know what? I'd settle for being able to manage my Kindle from my Mac. I can't. All I can do is delete and download from my archive. It would be so much easier to be able to use a keyboard where I can actually type at a reasonable speed instead of pecking out the collection names.

And given that Kindle says it wants syncing to be simple and invisible... that means, if I bust my butt to go through the incredibly awkward, tedious, and time-consuming process of setting up collections, I want them to appear on my other devices. Like my Mac.

Kindles are supposed to make reading easy -- but if you have over a hundred books loaded on your Kindle, reading is no longer easy. I want more books, I do, but I have curtailed my appetite for Kindle because I don't want to bury myself any further in books I can find and which take such a gargantuan effort to organize.

When I need to look something up in a book, I don't reach for my Kindle. I go to my bookshelf or I look it up on the web. It's just plain easier to call up the Gutenberg edition of Moby-Dick and search it than searching through a Kindle. Typing a search term on the web is so much easier than typing a search term on the Kindle.

The Kindles are now very cheap -- an ad-supported Kindle can be had for as little as $79. A lot of people are going to be getting Kindles. This is a good deal, and even though Kindle has its flaws, I still recommend it. It's still better than the competitors. But when oh when will somebody actually create a reader for people who love books?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

So Many Good Reasons Not to Tell the Internet Who You Really Are

Well, after being denied and disabled, and me spending time frantically trying to find how to get my account back again, it has been reenabled. Maybe it's a coincidence that it reappeared after I posted on my blog about it. I decided to leave the post so as a warning to the rest of the world that if they have something to hide, the Google Identity Police will get them.

You know, hiding something like you're not using your real name because you have an ex parte order against your abusive husband and you don't want him to find you.

Or maybe, you're not using your real name because you're gay and they will fire your ass if they find out, or if you're lucky, just key your car.

Or maybe, you're a dissident in Iran, and they'll arrest you. Hell, maybe you're a dissident in the USA, and you don't want the Tea Party on your doorstep.

Or maybe, you're the author of the Totally Erotic Lesbian Sex Guide (I made that up) and you don't want the world to know you're actually unemployed Joe Sixpack with flabby manboobs.

Or maybe, you write totally tame stuff, but you'd really rather not have some rabid fan showing up at your kid's school so they can ask you for an autograph.

Or maybe, you have a disability and you want to suck the American teat like a leech by doing something evil like getting a job and not wanting your disability to be a source of discrimination in the employment process.

Or maybe you're doing something nefarious, like running a small non-profit organization and are using gmail as your email. Because yanno, it's free, and you'd rather spend the money to feed the hungry or fight AIDS or something.

So many good reasons not to tell the Internet who you really are, but if you need more, here's a few suggestions:

Atlas Poetica a victim of Google Identity Police

Help! I'm a victim of the Google identity police. With their new 'real name policy', my journal Atlas Poetica's email account is now locked and slated for deletion with no way for me to appeal.

I ran afoul of the new policies for Google+ when I accepted an invite for my journal, Atlas Poetica, whose email address is Atlas Poetica at gmail dot com. I put the data for the journal, including its founding year as its 'birth year'. This flagged me for underage. I then used my charge card to pay 30 cents to correct my birthdate. That was denied and my account is now flagged to be deleted in 30 days, with no information at all how to appeal this.

I'm assuming the charge card proof wasn't accepted because the charge card has my personal name, not 'Atlas Poetica.' This 'real name' policy is really really stupid. I know lots of small presses that use gmail for their email. Further more, I use a pen name for damn good reason -- I'm gay and I work in a profession where I could lose my job if employers knew, and I've also been the target of harassment (vandalism to house and car, assault), so that when I moved to a new town, I went back in the closet. Google has no right to force me to out myself and run the risks to life, health, and property. Furthermore, my pen name is a valuable asset, I have published under that for five years now and I am successful in my chosen field under that name.

I want my journal's account back. How do I get it?


M. Kei
Editor, Atlas Poetica

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Born That Way

Lindsay Miller, a lesbian who calls herself a queer woman, logged 'Queer by Choice, Not by Chance' over at the Atlantic. The general thrust of her argument is that she is erotically attracted to both men and women, but she chooses women. She likes the equality of a same sex relationship and the fact that there is no male privilege to dismantle when both partners are women. She likes basing her relationship on the abilities and attributes of the two partners, instead of falling into social expectations regarding what's appropriate for men and women.

She rejects the notion that gays are 'born this way' as condescending, the poor dears just can't help themselves, so we should tolerate them because they are incapable of being anything other than what they are. I agree with her. The 'born this way' argument makes not a jot of political sense. People are born with Down's Syndrome, but that doesn't mean they're allowed to join the military. Being born that way is an argument for eugenics: test them in utero and abort the undesirables. That is indeed what is happening to children with Down's Syndrome. If LGBT people are indeed 'born this way', then clearly, we ought to figure out how to test for it so that they too can be aborted. Society will be better off without the burden of their abnormality.

There are activists on behalf of people with Down's Syndrome who are deeply dismayed by the large numbers of parents who are choosing to abort Down's Syndrome babies. This is a complicated moral dilemma that depends on what we define as a 'life worth living' and who gets to decide. I have a son with autism, and although I don't know if he will ever be able to live independently, he's a wonderful young man and his life is definitely worth living, even if it may not be the life I would have chosen for him, had I the power to choose.

Actually, I did have the power to choose. My partner and I (I was married at the time), knew there was a possibility of him being born different, both because of the genetic heritage and because before his mother even knew she was pregnant, she was negligently X-rayed, and we had to go for genetic counseling in order to find out exactly how many rads the less than three week old fetus had received, and what sort of risk that posed to the infant. We discussed the risk, discussed what a 'meaningful life', and chose to carry the pregnancy to term. Our doctor told us most people do not make the choice we made. Faced with the risk of possibility bringing a less than perfect child into the world, they abort.

The risk in our son's case was not great; the amount of rads he had received showed no greater risk than the naturally occurring background risk. Therefore, we believed our baby would be all right, but we knew he might not be. We underwent further testing. We decided that if our child had no capability for independent adulthood, we would abort, but testing was normal. Medicine gave us as much reassurance as it could, and yet, our son was born autistic.

Now that he is a young adult, I know that he might not ever achieve a fully independent adulthood, but I also know now that the ability to become a corporate drone is not the measure of a fulfilling life, a meaningful life, a life worth living. My son loves dogs and cats, and the mutual joy of him and a new dog is definitely worth seeing. He is good and kind to others, funny, and works well within his knowledge. Recently he completed a job training program where he was working in housekeeping. He didn't like it, but he won praise from his supervisor for working well and cheerfully. His supervisor didn't even know he didn't like the work he was doing.

How many wonderful LGBT people might be aborted if indeed we are 'born this way?' I'm guessing most of them. If parents aren't willing to have a child with Down's Syndrome or autism or any of a myriad of other 'defects', if they can't see value to a life that is different from the norm, if they think abortion is the appropriate response to difference, why on earth would they carry a child to term who is at risk of growing up Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender? Whatever other argument you might make, it must be easier to parent a straight child than a gay child.

When my son was young and it was very difficult to be a single parent (we had divorced), an Amish man who was the father of a child with a severe congenital illness said something I have never forgotten, "These are the children that teach us the meaning of love."

A bigoted parent who cannot love a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender child, a parent who perceives their child as defective, damaged, damaging, and unworthy of equality, affection, and dignity, does not know the meaning of love. As parents it is our duty to love unconditionally, and although we have a responsibility to teach our children how to live, we also have a duty to learn the lessons that our children teach us: the lessons of love, laughter, and faith that we are the people God wants us to be.

These are lessons that can be learned by anyone. You don't have to be born with a special gift to have compassion, you don't have to be born with a special intelligence or ability to care about the welfare of a child to want that child to grow up happy and healthy as the person that they are. You don't need to be born a certain way to respect your child's right to become the person they think they ought to be, to choose their own religion, creed, politics, and yes, love.

The First Amendment protects our right to live according to our conscience. Christian demagogues, you were not born that way. You can change your religion if you choose. Although your religion is a choice, the Constitution protects it. You weren't born Republican or Democrat, but the Constitution protects your right to political expression. You weren't born with a creed, but that, too, is protected.

I do think I was born this way, but because I don't believe biology is destiny, I fully believe that I have the right to choose the life my conscience requires me to live. Our Founding Fathers understood the right to conscience as the fundamental motivator to secure the right to freedom of religion, freedom of creed, freedom of politics, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.

Every single one of these freedoms is the right of LGBT people, not because we were born queer, but because we were born human. I choose to believe that God created me and that to hate myself is to hate God's handiwork. I do not belong to an organized religion, but I have a deep and persevering faith in the rightness of God's creation, and that includes me. I choose to assemble with other queer people and I choose to publish articles like this one because I have freedom of the press to promulgate my views, no matter who disagrees with them or dislikes me. I choose to vote Democrat because I believe, that for all their faults, they are the party most likely to do the most good for the most people. I have the right to vote Democrat because even though I was raised Republican (I worked the 1972 and 1976 campaigns as a Republican youth volunteer), the Constitution protects my right to change my mind in matters of conscience; I am not compelled to vote as my parents voted.

So I say to the demagogues: you too have the right to choose. You can choose love, freedom, and dignity for all people, or you can put up with me exercising my Constitutional right to be publicly queer, and to insist upon the goodness and equality of all God's children, whether they were born this way or not.

These are the children that teach us the meaning of love.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Further Deceit by

In my previous post, I detailed what is doing wrong with ebooks. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. The Lulu response is enlightening--an ebook from Lulu is not, in fact, and ebook. Except, it might be. You, the consumer, have no way of knowing before you buy it, and after you buy it, you're screwed, because if you didn't get what you expected, it's the author's fault. If you're the author, you can't fix it, because of how Lulu runs.

In the publishing wizard, the author selects 'make available as ebook.' The wizard asks nothing further of him, gives no information, and proceeds to complete the book. The author thinks he has made an ebook. No. All he has done is authorize Lulu to let you download the document that was used to make the interior of the book. However, on the website, it is advertised as an 'ebook' and it shows the cover. You, the buyer, believe you are buying an actual ebook, not an ordinary electronic document. You believe you are getting an ebook with a cover. But you aren't.

If the author wants to make it available as an actual ebook, he has to create a second project and set it up differently. Nowhere does Lulu explain this -- expect in response to a complaint to the Better Business Bureau. As a separate project, ebooks won't have the same project number as the print book; therefore they will not be associated with one another when you're shopping. If you see a title, you will only see print, or ebook, and you won't know the other format is available, unless you happen to stumble over it in browsing. This is inconvenient for the buyer, and therefore likely to diminish sales.

If the author does go to the trouble of making an actual ebook, it will look just like a document sale. Therefore, when the consumer is browsing the Lulu catalog they have no way in advance to know if they're buying an actual ebook, or just an electronic document.

Thursday, May 19, 2011, Defective Ebook Publisher

You know what they say, if you can't beat them, humiliate them publicly. publishes defective ebooks and denies all responsibility for doing so, and refuses to investigate the malfunction of their publishing wizard. Specifically, even though the author uploads the cover file and they display it on their website, implying that an ebook does in fact come with a cover, they don't. You get a naked PDF for your money.

The cover for Atlas Poetica 8 was obviously correctly uploaded because the paperback version prints properly and it shows up on the website for both the paperback and the ebook versions. Therefore, the error must be internal to their automated software that churns out the ebooks.

Unfortunately, in spite of two complaints to, they refuse to admit error and won't fix it and won't even offer me a replacement or a refund. Therefore I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.

It's pathetic that a business that claims it's here to serve authors has no intention of actually doing so.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Still More Twitter Tanka

Trying to blog more of my Twitter poetry, that most ephemeral of literatures.

they can't stand
the silence,
they want
hearts that ring
like bells

what fractions
of a heart were carried,
counted, divided,
summed, until the whole
was zero?

go out in the sun,
a burrowing creature
all winter,
heart cracked open
by beams of light

there was never
a muddy spring that
ran clear,
and this heart
is no exception

burning rubber
across your asphalt heart—
skid marks
lead to the wreck
you've made of me

a harem of books—
he loves each of them
even though he
hasn't spent the night
with them in years

another candle lit
at his grave,
chokecherry trees
bloom as white
as ghosts

i gather them,
the green pine candles,
white chokecherry tapers,
and wild wisteria
for a funeral bouquet

once there were so many
grasses swaying in the sea,
beckoning to traders
who never thought
their pleasures would end

his heart
is a skeleton key
that unlocks doors
that should never
be opened

in retrospect,
it would have been wiser
if we had skipped the sex
and gone straight
to the tearful breakup

my handsome son,
posed so that
his scarred arm
doesn’t show
in the family photograph

I was not lonely
with the snow-capped heron
as my company;
but when my lover returned
the silence was desolate

I am too old and slow
to keep pace with the whirlwind
the world has become.               
Mansei's boat rowed away
without a trace this morning.

the police officer
questions the autistic child
and receives back 
scribbles that mean nothing
in this world of ours

when the rain pelts down
fair weather fishermen leave
the old wooden dock;
an old black man dons his hat
and stays a little longer

he writes poetry
for her birthday,
but fearing
it won't be enough,
he adds a scented candle

full well do I know
that this transient pleasure
is like foam on the sea;
yet even so I want it
to last a thousand years

Langston Hughes
was a sailor
and a lover of men.
I thought I'd see more of that
in his verses

'snake gardens'
the country folk
call them,
full of weeds and
rusting tractors

send a man
shopping for clothes, and
he comes home
with a pair of socks
and nothing more

Pearl Harbor Day . . .
The Japanese-American student
stares at the enemy
who looks like
his father

on the hearth,
the pop, hiss, and crackle
of green wood;
he dreams as he dozes,
the aging housecat

Friday, April 15, 2011

More Twitter Tanka

Twitter is so ephemeral, I am trying to unearth poems that have only appeared on Twitter and put them on my blog so that they will be easier to find and can be more readily seen.

night watch
at three am
the drunks asleep
but the fishboats
heading out

aloft in a gale
shoulders aching
as they battle
the mainsail

a whale
named "Salt"
swimming circles
and slapping the sea
with her tail

Stellwagon Bank, off Cape Cod

the bluest skies
and a fair wind blowing
no sign
of the hurricane
beyond the horizon

two days later
the sodas 
the passengers
didn't want

the roll gauge
as still
and motionless
as the crew

Buzzard Bay
slowly building
on an August afternoon
before the hurricane

the ship murmurs
to water, wind,
and sky,
prayers full of spume
for a safe anchorage

storm watch
midnight rain
and the roar
of wind
through the rigging

the witching hour
but the ship
in a safe harbor
not even a black cat
on this black night

to cancel
Martha’s Vineyard
and take refuge
in a fishermen’s town

season’s end
I’ve had enough
of tourists
I long for the cold work
of oystering

during a tropical storm,
but still traffic,
lights, and noise
in a sleepless city

security lights
gleaming on
the herring hopper:
my view for
most of the night

the cruise ship
with her passengers
dwarfs us—
and so do
their wallets

the lullaby
of rain on hatches
rolling off
the quarterdeck
all night long

her spars
across the river
slim and wooden,
all day we ask passing boats,
“Who is that ship?”

fairy lights
tiny sea creatures
in the dark
beneath the pier

Martha’s Vineyard—
the green scruff
of hills
dotted with
enormous houses

the soft roar
of the sibilant sea—
a sea turtle
raises his head
to look at us

not to like
Martha’s Vineyard,
then the old lighthouse
illuminates history

heading into port,
a shimmer
of salt scales
on the windward rail

sunset fading
a constellation of
airplane lights
over Manhattan

listening to
some other boat’s
man overboard
on the radio,
a quick head count here

city dwellers
never look up from
their televisions
as a tall ship
ghosts by at night

ten million people
in New York City
never saw us
as we passed by
one evening

migrating bird
support ship—
two warblers and a kestrel
take refuge in our rigging

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Twitter Tanka

The following tanka have been published on Twitter, but nowhere else. I thought I ought to gather them up and put them some place easier to find.

move over, Shiki,
there’s more than
a wisteria branch
to be seen from
this invalid’s bed

nothing certain
but death and taxes,
I suffer from
a little of each

I look like Frankenstein:
I’m green,
and I have stitches
in each temple
where they took the biopsies

ah, Melville,
what’s Moby Dick to me
when I can
conquer the world
from the comfort of my desk?

the clock
above my desk
talks to me
when everyone else
is asleep tonight

aluminum extrusion—
that’s my cousin’s business
down in Georgia,
vague recollections that
once they owned slaves

some words
are harder
to open than

the ghosts of winter
drifting aimlessly
amid the green and yellow
blinking lights
of the holiday

tall ships
in a shallow fog
trapped in
the bowl of heaven

another chill evening—
finding love poems
I wrote
last winter to
a married man

everything ends
at the beginning of winter—
mother, nephew, lover
nothing but
grief remains

the cat always returns
is it any wonder
I give my love
to a rover
in the night?

things that come
with the fog:
horseshoe crabs,
tall ships,
and wandering hearts

the ensign again
on the hatch
as the sun sets

the minor key
of an old song
as sailors
keep watch
in the dusk

that cool breeze
is a harbinger 
of storms to come:
Earl, Fiona, Gaston
crossing the Atlantic

a tarnished sun
in a glistening sea
a wooden ship
makes her way
towards shelter

a forest 
of fishboats
side by side
in the hurricane hole

tied up
at the State Pier,
I can watch the city
as if it were
a million miles away

sitting in the pew
where Melville sat,
with a hurricane 
bearing down on me,
I contemplate the cenotaphs

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Twitter Special Focus for Atlas Poetica 9

Atlas Poetica : A Journal of Poetry of Place, issue 9, Summer, 2011, will be focussing on Twitter. It's been two years (can it really be so long?) since we did our first focus on Twitter. Twitter continues to grow as a micropoetry community with poets publishing tanka, kyoka, and gogyohka via Twitter. There are several Twitter microjournals such as microcosms and 7x20, as well as archives, such as the Dragonfly Archives (now closed), and Jars of Stars.

For ATPO 9 we will relax our rule requiring first English language rights to accept tanka, kyoka, and gogyohka that have been tweeted and not published in regular or tanka journals. We wish to focus attention on Twitter poets, as encourage and support Twitter poets to submit to the regular tanka journals. Twitter is the single largest publisher of tanka, kyoka, and gogyohka in English, publishing approximately two thousand a year. That's as large as Modern English Tanka, the journal that is now defunct, and larger that Atlas Poetica (we published approximately fifteen hundred tanka, kyoka, and gogyoka a year). Atlas Poetica is the most voluminous publisher of tanka, publishing more tanka per year than any other journal in print or on the web.

As a consequence, Twitter is a major force for introducing tanka to readers and writers, and the workshopping and fellowshipping that occurs on Twitter spurs literary development and appreciation. However, the succinct nature of the forum also means that in depth discussions and analysis are very difficult. Since anyone can publish anything, it is an excellent opportunity for novices to try their hand and receive feedback, but it's also an overwhelming and confusing means of reading tanka if one wishes to be a serious reader. Twitter publishes fifteen hundred micropoems a day. Trying to sort out the tanka, kyoka, and gogyohka from that flood requires time and patience, and means that in spite of the efforts of curators and archivists, a complete record of tanka on Twitter is impossible to achieve.

Atlas Poetica hopes to introduce readers to Twitter poets who deserve their attention, and to provide information and a list of resources for the reader who wishes to dip into the fecund stream of micropoetry published on Twitter. We also hope to encourage Twitter poets to submit their poetry for publication in print and online journals and anthologies so that it will be more durable and accessible.

The reading window for ATPO 9 is March 15 – April 30, 2011. It publishes in July. Complete guidelines, free back issues, and free Special Features are available at: