No, not that poetry is written by or even for depressives, but that the News and Observer’s noble attempt at making poetry writing inclusive and fun was immediately hijacked by trolls.
For poetry month, that is April the month in which we are mid-way through, the News and Observer published a very broad sampler of poetry, 5 or 6 by different authors, in a beautiful layout in their Sunday Journal section. The online version has an even nicer color photo illustrated slide show.
Now the participation kicks in.
The News and Observer has some barely moderated forums populated by trolls who represent the darkest portion of the ids of some spiritually impoverished part of Raleigh. But never mind that. Poetry can bring light — perhaps.
Or perhaps not. The public, which must go through several hoops to join the forum, is encouraged to take a line for NC Poet Laureate Kay Byer’s poem and to create a new poem of their own.
I like the idea — part of it — The participation and the remaking and the building on in a personal and unique way off of the Byer poem.
The problem is the N and O forum. A glance at the postings immediately put you off. The first posters don’t follow that stated rules at all. What one has to go through to register for the privilege of posting with the trolls is just not worth it.
The poetry project is held hostage by a bad interface, an unpoliced community, and unfilled expectations.
In some ways, I’m happy to have this as an example for my virtual communites class upcoming in the fall. But frankly I would rather have seen it work out as designed.

Can this project be saved or salvaged?

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