Thursday Resource: Ablemuse Eratosphere

Emily Dickinson wrote in a vacuum, but most poets thrive on open discussion, exchange and critique. Local writers workshops are one avenue, and can be found in nearly any city. Open mic readings, book stores and the like often encourage exchange. The internet is another source of poetry discourse and critique, and poetry groups of all sorts have been part of the online scene almost since its inception. Too often though, budding and established poets are discouraged when they fall into one of those “everything you write is wonderful!” discussion boards where the only acceptable critique is praise, and the watchword of the forums is “sharing your work. Eratosphere at Ablemuse is not one of those.

Sponsored by Ablemuse, an online literary review of metrical and formal poetry, the Eratosphere discussion board offers thoughtful, mature commentary on poetry, both literary criticism of published works by established poets, and workshopping by members on the forums. Headed up by a staff of conscientious moderators, the boards maintain a civilized tone without slipping into the feelgood non-crit that you”ll find on so many other poetry boards. Where can you find comments like:

I have the impression that when you put your mind to it you can produce far better and deeper poetry than this – and occasionally you do. But far too often your focus appears to be on quantity, not quality, on just grinding something out quickly and mechanically, and the poems look simplistic, unworked, often prosey, loaded with the cliches we all tend to spit out in our first drafts. And I usually don”t bother commenting. But every once in a while I get particularly riled, and convince myself that a slap upside the head might do some good. Hence, my comments.

Both moderators and members appear to take the time to read carefully and comment thoughtfully. If you”re looking for a virtual spot to hang your poetic hat, Eratosphere just may be the right place for you. They offer a place for both metrical poetry and free verse, as well as other types of writing and art. There are forums for discussing literature and reviewing poets and books.. in short, there”s a bit of everything for those who are looking for a community of poets and thinkers.

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