Poets & Writers Online Service Debuts In January

from Poets & Writers magazine, 1997

On January 17, after a year and a half of planning and preparation, Poets & Writers, Inc. will unveil Poets & Writers Online, its new Web site located at http://www.pw.org. The site brings Poets & Writers magazine to life through interactive links, gives writers around the world access to writing and publishing information, provides links to other useful literary Web sites, and features an electronic message forum called Speakeasy.

Poets & Writers Online "will take Poets & Writers out into the world," says Brian Lemna director of Information Services. "A great deal of valuable information will now be accessible all the time, and through the forums, people have the ability to exchange experiences with each other."

The Web site is organized into four areas: Poets & Writers magazine, Publishing Information, Fun & Games, and Speakeasy. All this information is interconnected and accessible from other points on the site.

Current offerings from the magazine include a glimpse of 1996 issues, the ability to e-mail the editors, and literary news that is updated weekly. Poets & Writers Online also includes the magazine's Grants & Awards and Classifieds listings. In their electronic format, these listings -- which include prize deadlines, calls for manuscripts, and conference and workshop opportunities -- are searchable. For instance, a poet from Louisiana can cull the listings to find those of particular interest to a poet from that state.

"Having deadlines and grants online is especially useful. I don't have to rummage around for my dog-eared copy of the magazine," Carol Ebbeke, a poet from Tucson, wrote to Poets & Writers.

In the pages of Publishing Information, writers can read and download Poets & Writers' "FAQ" sheets, which address "frequently asked questions" on subjects such as how to publish, copyright basics, and how to find writing-related employment. In Amy Holman's Literary Report, the associate director of Information Services delves more deeply into hotly debated issues of the writing world, such as reading fees, literary agents, and submitting to literary magazines. Writers can also access more information about Poets & Writers Publishing Seminars, held in New York City.

In Speakeasy, writers can post and receive messages, tapping into a growing network of fellow writers who share similar interests and experiences. Speakeasy is currently organized as two conferences, "The Magazine" and "Writing." "The Magazine" features discussion on issues recently covered in Poets & Writers Magazine, while the "Writing" conference includes areas where writers can connect with their colleagues and exchange opinions on their writing.

When writers have exhausted the wealth of information available on Poets & Writers Online, they can click on the Literary Links page, which lists other literary organizations that provide information and services to writers, including the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in California, the Log Cabin Literary Center in Nebraska, and the Poetry Society of America in New York City. Through a link to the Library of Congress, writers can search the digital card catalogue to find information on just about any published book or writer. At the Literary HyperCalendar, users can take a chronological tour through literary history. New links are added weekly.

For a break from the serious business of writing, users can visit Fun & Games to test their literary knowledge with the bimonthly trivia question and enjoy Word Play, a collection of words and their definitions relating to a particular theme, such as birds, horses, or the Southwest.

Poets & Writers, Inc., hopes that Poets & Writers Online can expand on the organization's mission to foster the professional development of poets and fiction writers, promote communication throughout the U.S. literary community, and to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public.