Editor’s Note: Every once in a while on this series I like to give a shout out to an organization that is furthering poetry in America today, and so today I want to introduce you to the wonder that is Poetry Genius. What is Poetry Genius? “Your guide to the world of poetry, prose, and drama,” with a library that “includes poems, stories, novels, essays, even scripts, all annotated by community members and verified authors.”
In my experience Poetry Genius offers the poetry world the best of techniques employed by Wikipedia (users can annotate works directly, with a verification process in place to make sure that the most legitimate information makes its way to users), reddit (check out their forums for a wealth of information and discussion around the materials available in their vast library), and social media (see what friends are verified users and how much they’ve contributed, and add your own verified account to become a part of this endeavor). Their verified authors include the likes of Junot Díaz, Tao Lin, Patricia Smith, Matthew Zapruder, Robert Greene, and Sheryl Sandberg. And you, too, can be among them, helping shape the future of the site with your own knowledge.
According to Poetry Genius founding editor, Austin Allen, “Once on PG, readers can browse crowd-contributed (and editor-reviewed) annotations on lines and passages. They can also participate actively by contributing annotations of their own, discussing literature in the site Forums (or privately via the site’s internal messaging system), and even adding and annotating their own writing. It’s been great to see what was at first a tiny community grow into a big, lively, motley hub for scholarship and discussion. There are currently people on the site breaking down everything from Wallace Stevens and Wittgenstein to selections from the original Game of Thrones novel.”
If you find the site a little difficult to navigate at first, have no fear; Poetry Genius is in the process of redesigning to make the site an easier place to explore both old and new works.
Poetry Genius is also helping spread poetry love to the classroom via a large and growing network of teachers at the secondary school level and above, through their Education program.
The idea behind Poetry Genius—and its implementation—is awesome. The site deftly returns relevant results for specific line searches from particular texts. Google “shantih shantih shantih” and click on the Poetry Genius search return (the second search return that comes up, after Wikipedia) to see what I’m talking about. No, really. Go do it. This feature speaks more to the awesomeness that is Poetry Genius than anything I could tell you here.
Welcome to the encyclopedia of the future, centered around a love of the written word, brought to you today, and every day by Poetry Genius. Go forth and read.
Want to read more about Poetry Genius?
Poetry Genius: Discover the Meaning of Literature