The problem with sharing poetry on the internet: how to properly cite poems found online

I’ve been taking Buddhism classes at the Auckland Buddhist Centre almost nonstop since the beginning of the year, and on top of that, have been reading a lot of books by / about / for people committed to living Buddhist practices more fully. One of the unexpected results of this activity is that I am regularly encountering poems that are both “old friends” and many that are completely new to me.

These days I’m far more interested in keeping track of my favorite poems than I have been in the past. As someone who appreciates both accuracy and giving credit where credit is due, sharing poems on the internet feels fraught with peril… and it gets worse when I’m often using the internet to track down poems I encounter in the wild, remembering only fragments. Copyright infringement and amplification of errors and misattribution, Oh My!

Example: the Countee Cullen poem I shared recently is actually quite a bit longer than the portion that I (and many other people before me) shared online. I certainly didn’t realize how much more there is to it until I went looking for a reputable source; I considered including the whole thing in my post, but in the end opted to reproduce the “error,” Continue reading “The problem with sharing poetry on the internet: how to properly cite poems found online”

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters: a poem by Portia Nelson

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson

Chapter I

I walk down the street.
            There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
            I fall in.
            I am lost … I am helpless.
                       It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
            There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
            I pretend I don’t see it.
            I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
                        But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter III
I walk down the same street.
            There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
            I see it is there.
            I still fall in … it’s a habit.
                       My eyes are open.
                       I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
            There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
            I walk around it.

Chapter V
I walk down another street.

Continue reading “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters: a poem by Portia Nelson”

The Way It Is: a poem by William Stafford

The Way It Is
by William Stafford

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

There are many truths: on multiple perspectives and (too many?) modes of communication

Whatever it is that I’m tapped into right now reminds me a LOT of a similar period I went through back in 1998 (dropped out of University; went to Australia to chart my OWN path; “discovered” art symbols God yoga Buddhism and so many other things that remain very important in my life…)

I still have lot of questions about how to make correspondence work in an era when we have too many communication choices. And I’m still hoping you’ll interact with me via this YouTube channel!

You can read more about the Paradox of Choice and the actual details of the jam sampling study here; I didn’t quite get the details right during the recording.