I talked to Claudia Schoenfeld, co-founder of Dverse Poets and blogger @ Jaywalkin the moon. This is how she describes herself: “ When I’m not jaywalking the moon, I may ride on my street bike to my workplace, cook Spaghetti for the family or just sit in the dark on a sun-warm boardwalk in a small German town, close to the borders to France and Switzerland, and sip a glass of red wine…”
Why ‘Jaywalking the Moon’? What’s the concept that is central to your poetry blog?
The concept is that I have no concept.
No really, it’s a simple poetry blog where I’m leaving crumbs of my journey, nothing else..and jaywalking..probably because I’m not very organized where and how I write my poems…often I write on my phone while on walks, in hotel lobbies, airports, pubs and lost in writing, pay not much attention to what surrounds me (almost missed a flight once because of this..)
This is why I immediately loved the word when I heard it first and the moon maybe stands for a place a bit away from the normal cause. Writing poetry is always also a little escape from everyday life for me.
What started you writing poetry- what was the impetus?
Actually it was the poets I met on blogworld. My blog was not a poetry blog from the start. I was writing about this and that, browsed the net, met some people, through them connected with others, and the first poet I met on the internet was Ed Pilolla when he was guesting on a blog I was visiting back then. Reading his poem “Bribing the fireflies” lit a first poetic spark. Through Ed I met Brian Miller who was just about to start OneStopPoetry with a few people – and this made the spark a wildfire…
How did the idea dVerse poets come about? Tell us about your vision for the pub.
dVerse was Brian Miller’s idea when he saw that OneStopPoetry would come to an end. He asked me if I’d like to join him and I happily did. Our vision is to provide a place for people to meet, exchange, learn and connect in a relaxed, stress-free and non-sophisticated atmosphere.
How has hosting a blog pub changed your approach to poetry?
Through dVerse I read a lot of contemporary poetry but as my poetic journey is directly connected with my blog journey, they developed together… and still do.
I didn’t read much poetry before I started writing poetry myself about two years ago. Thinking back now, I always liked poetry but it wasn’t a part of my life. So maybe I can say that interacting in a poet’s community and reading contemporary poetry also made the connection to poets like Rilke.
(This is interesting- for the blog to become the muse.)
What pointers do blog hosts need to need to know, especially when it comes to dealing with comments (which you get in the hundreds?)
OK – first – I really value every single comment I get and I love to hear what people think about my poems. I also return every comment. The reason for this is that I want to connect to other poets and travel, reading-wise, beyond my borders – there’s so much to discover and for me the interaction with other poets is the big advantage in the online world compared to books which are more or less one way.
How do you use social networking to promote the poetry cause?
I use twitter and facebook to tweet and promote my and also other people’s poetry, as well as to interact with people. I met some awesome talented artists on both platforms and I find that twitter(especially) is a data highway full of surprises and inspiration.
What do you advise poets who write for prompts?
Writing for a prompt always implicates a certain time pressure. Nevertheless I would recommend to read the prompt carefully, let the theme sink, carry it around for a bit, let the poem have time to develop, edit carefully and only post when you feel it’s ready.
What I like most when reading prompt- related poetry is the big diversity, the different takes and multiple ways a theme is interpreted. I think that’s awesome.
What I don’t like is when people link up poems unrelated to the prompt or/and don’t comment on others that have taken the challenge. I think it should always be a giving and taking.
Can blogging poetry lead to commercial success?
I think blogging poetry can help you meet people who are responsible for online or print magazines. But so far, I know no one who has earned money just by blogging poetry nor by running poetry communities like dVerse or Critique- and craft groups like that of Luke Prater. I think it’s hard to make a living from writing poetry, even if you’re a good poet, even if you’re published. Poetry is a niche market and there are very few that make it to the top and really earn money with their poetry.
Great talking with you Claudia. You got many poets to reminisce in a poetry pub and poets, lonely creatures that they are, appreciate what the dVerse poets has on offer. Thank you!