Tea at Tympani Lane Records

World Message of Peace
Electronic Media and Poetry Workshop:
League of Canadian Poets Conference, June 2013


Introduction: I am the CEO/Artist at Tea at Tympani Lane Records, www.tympanilanerecords.com, I have been writing Poetry for 32 years and began to sing and put the poetry to music in 1997. In 2005 I created the WebSite with the help of a friend of a friend. I put away the guitar a couple of years ago (after writing about 20 CD’s of music, most of which still needs to be recorded) and began to write Poetry almost exclusively. I publish the Poetry EBooks I have written at Poets’ Corner on Tea at Tympani Lane Records. The EBooks are compiled like an html Web Page. I have learned how to cut and paste html, administer my own WebSite adding new information and projects and have even created additional WebSites, just by studying the html of the original WebSite, Internet tutorials and the occasional help of my WebHosting service provider.

My first experience with Movie Maker software was to produce music videos for my music CD’s The Madrigal and Dance Summer Blue, a series of .jpg photo files placed in rote sequence and set to an MP3 of music/Poetry to produce a video. I was watching video trailers for the CD: RainDogs by Tom Waits and I had the inspiration, why couldn’t I make video trailers for EBooks of Poetry? I began producing video trailers to advertise the EBooks (and they are an artform in and of themselves) with MovieMaker software but without the sound. I created .jpg’s of the written lines of words in sequence, I used pictures with The Angel. The first EBook I did this for was Running with the Night followed by The Grif and Other Conversations: poetry from the street, The Midnight Sun, The Angel and for The Book of Blue I announced every chapter with a video before I published it on the WebSite (these videos are all on YouTube as well).

As an electronic media collaboration I have begun to add photos to my EBooks of Poetry. With the Poetry EBook The Angel I included a photo installation of “The Eye” angel statue by David Altmejd by a local photographer Victor Tangermann. I took the colour photo .jpgs the photographer sent to my email after the photo shoot and turned most of them into black and whites using grayscale on Irfanview (.jpg software). And then interspersed the .jpg’s through the works of poety in html. I am currently working on an EBook of Poetry titled On Watching Snow Falling that I hope to include a photo installation with. With incredible inspiration for writing Poetry, I have written 8 books of Poetry in the last 6 years with 5 Poetry book projects in progress and I began to become fascinated with Online Poetry Journals. The entire process of submitting Poetry to be published has been revolutionized by the Internet. In the old days you would type up a series of Poems on paper with a cover letter and Curriculum Vitae and put it in an envelope, put a stamp on it and put it in the mail, waiting endlessly to hear from editors, often with no offer to publish. The best Online Zines offer email submissions and no entry fees, the entire process becomes streamlined, with less time investment, less drama and it is easier on the psyche. I love really great Poetry, original, direct, inspired work that is riveting and tells a story. So recently, I opened the WebSite Subterranean Blue Poetry, www.subterraneanbluepoetry.com, this is an Online Art and Poetry Journal, Poets send me their poetry and Artists send me their Art and if I like it I publish it. The journal is for both established and emerging Poets; all Poets and their poetry are welcome and we are especially looking for homegrown Poets from the American/Canadian Indian Community, Quebec, small town Canada, and anyone who was ever considered “the other”. The journal includes an art offering for the masthead, original Poetry by New Age Poets, a Featured Poet section, may have a Book Review and/or Author Interview, a Missed Connections feature inspired by offerings on Craigslist and Kijiji and the Biography section for all contributors. I am considering featuring video offerings by Poets for the journal. The site includes pages, an About page with our mission statement, a Contact page with an email, the Current Issue page, a Links page (with other similar WebSites) and an Archives page so we can keep the Poetry by the Poets as a longterm record. As a sideline I am considering including EBooks by Poets as a tie-in for the Journal, Poets offering EBooks can have poetry featured, a Book Review and/or Author Interview and for the Reader an offer to purchase the featured EBook. Self-publishing is really a glut of online work, with Subterranean Blue Poetry, I would like to wade in and publish the work of inspiration and true excellence.

I have also launched WebWorks, a WebSite creation company at www.webworks2.ca. I specialize in artists/musicians/writers WebSites and can create a strapline and Logo and all the html pages for a WebSite. I offer a basic WebSite for $100. All you need is a Web Hosting package with a Domain Name which can be bought for under $100 for a years service.

I also have a WebSite that I write Book Reviews for, The Book Reviewer, www.thebookreviewer.ca. In the morass of self publishing it is helpful to have a Book Review for a considered opinion.

Where do you think electronic media is taking Poetry and what possibilities do you foresee for Poets now and in the future?

The word for the new electronic media and Poetry is inspiration – the Internet pushes the edges of the imagine – the addition of photos, music, movie reels with Poetry. The Internet expands the scope of the Artist/Poet creating realms of possibility in other interconnected artforms with relative ease. The Internet encourages the study and execution of additional artforms, it is like having your own personal library to study from at little or no cost. And the new technology software to create Poetry Artwork is hands on, it is relatively easy to use, to teach yourself how to use it and inexpensive. Someone with an arts calling in self-study can produce work that is just as good as someone who takes coursework and it is sometimes a good idea to do both. Cost is no longer a barrier to education. And the Internet creates dialogue with other artists for Poetry and Art inspiration as well as the possibility of collaborations. It is very easy to network with other artists over Craigslist/Kijiji and use the search engine and traditional venues like art galleries and the grapevine to get in touch for communion and projects. Digital media is elastic, there is no end to the types of software you can use and implement from word processing to photo and art software to movie making and video and music/sound compatibilities. New software inventions are the realm of the Poet/Artist. Electronic media is clean energy – it doesn’t rely on traditional physical media (saves on the use of paper) and doesn’t take up space, imagine a room without books, DVD’s or CD’s as they are all on a hard drive. The greatest invention would be a virtual hard drive so that there is no possibility of losing this information, as it is there are backup systems, like email accounts and memory sticks. The new technology is hands on, it is easy to use and to learn how to use it, the software has help menus, you can look up tutorials on the Internet and often dialogue with other users of the software over the Internet. Ease of use and the dynamic abilities of the software create very powerful synergies, especially when most of the software is free or inexpensive. So one’s creative talents are not as impeded by finances and the worldwide scope of the Internet can potentially give you a local as well as international voice. The relative ease of acquiring an audience and getting people to actually look at and download your work, sometimes for monies is a modern day miracle. Poetry EBooks are relatively inexpensive to create compared to a printed hard copy book and this cost-effectiveness can be reflected to the Reader in a lower cost poetry book as electronic download (this is good when people have stressed finances due to the current economy). If the Poet is relatively unknown in their peer group circles or to an audience or they are just beginning their career as an Artist they can very easily create and distribute their work over the Internet. The Internet easily creates an audience, this in and of itself is a miracle. I can remember the days before Internet, there was a science fiction writer who could not get his books published in Toronto. Yet, he had enough financing to publish his own work in hardcopy but to get the books to market he would physically put them in a box and take them down to a corner on Yonge Street and attempt to dialogue with people as they went by to try to get them to purchase a book. This is a very hard reality, just to get someone to read your work is a huge event. There are many reasons people are not published, some of it has to do with the quality of the work (sometimes emerging Artists work is not “ripe” enough), or in some cases the work is good but the world has not caught up to the Artists vision place, sometimes if people have “enemies” they may not be considered. The Internet with one broad stroke of a hand has wiped this all away, and the Artist is free. In a reduced employment world, many people may publish their Poetry/Art, in varying states of evolution/quality, it has become a smorgasborg of offerings over the Internet. Often it seems that truly brilliant work is lost in such a glut or does not get enough attention. Reviews/blogs can be very important to acquiring an audience for someone’s work and sometimes the work just sells itself. If people like your work they will Bookmark it and look it up regularly to read or view, sometimes downloading or purchasing your work. The Internet also creates a dialogue with the audience through Comment Boxes, so that the artist’s work can be evaluated, appreciated, perhaps improved through feedback and providing the often lonely Artist with a Community of support. With the boon of the Internet, the Economy could morph into an Arts Economy, an economy supported by the sales of art in all its varying forms, a majority of the population Artists purchasing each others Art. For increased sales, I think the computer needs to be in every home around the world and the consumer needs to be comfortable with the new technology (I have never had a problem with a PayPal transaction but I check out the reputation of the WebSite with the Better Business Bureau first). Business transactions seem to operate better through a large 3rd party vendor like CD Baby, EBay or Amazon.com.

What concrete steps can League members take to get themselves involved in new media collaborations?

The Internet automatically creates an audience. Creating a Web Presence through a WebSite is very powerful. Study other peoples WebSites, put up some pictures and a biography, blurbs of your work, maybe offer up your own EBooks of poetry. The magic of a WebSite and an Internet presence is that it gives you a persona, a buzz. Over time, hopefully your work will catch on and you will have sales. Actually selling your work is like a vote of support, the Artist supported by their Community. It can be very inexpensive to create a WebSite if you network through your friends. I offer an incredible deal on WebSite creation through WebWorks, www.webworks2.ca. I have created 4 WebSites with Domain Names, Logos, Straplines and copywriting and written all the html for 3 of them. Think of as many ways as possible to advertise your URL. If you are a street musician, get a sign made up with the URL. Publish the URL in your Poetry EBooks. Add your URL to any blogs. Add your URL to your signature on emails, cheques, anything you sign. Get business cards made up with your URL on it and pass them around to people you meet, your friends, business contacts, put them in letters. Join Social Media Sites, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and blog often, posting your URL. The new electronic media is about Community, fellow writers and artists and young people supporting each other and getting the wordup. It is possible to lead people to your URL and your work through social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace and/or Review/Publishing Sites like Subterranean Blue Poetry (www.subterraneanbluepoetry.com), The House of Blue Skies Poetry, The Book Reviewer (www.thebookreviewer.com), Book Review Buz, Good Reads or Blogspots that have posted your work or who you have written for. It is possible to have your Poetry EBooks featured on BookStore WebSites, there are free venues like OBookO and the more popular sites like Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and for Poetry videos, YouTube. If you don’t have a lot of Poetry for a WebSite but would still like an Internet presence. You can apply to online publishing zines (like Subterranean Blue Poetry, The House of Blue Skies Poetry etc.) and have your work published and/or get posted on other people’s blogs. Or you could just create a Facebook page as a launch point, posting your poetry and advertising on Twitter and MySpace. Sometimes I just load my fresh poetry offerings up on FaceBook and Twitter direct. It is very immediate and very powerful. If you are interested in art, video and/or music collaborations for your Poetry look up Craigslist and Kijiji for Artists and their work, checking out their WebSites. It is also possible just using the search engine to check out what other artists are doing locally and in foreign countries and it may be possible to hook up with them and produce some Art over the Internet. Sometimes just hanging out on YouTube/Twitter/Facebook you can pick up ideas and inspiration from other people’s videos and comments. The Community of the Internet feeds Poetry and Art making the world incredibly real and interconnected. It is also a good idea to check out software for moviemaking, I use Movie Maker software and for print and art work I use Irfanview (photo software) and I like Photoshop. It may help to get some basic coursework in how to handle a video camcorder or in photography, or an art course, a course in Photoshop or music instruction. It is also possible to pick up free Tutorials and instruction over the Internet and to network with Artists/Friends who may be able to help you with your questions. Wherever inspiration lies there is the possibility of talent. It may also be possible to get around to local galleries/art exhibitions/movie festivals/music festivals and shows and seeing whose work you are inspired by possibly for collaborations. The new media can couple Poetry with photos/art, moving pictures and music – this is incredible, it brings alive a page of written word with color, shapes and sound. The possibilities of juxtapositions and contrasts are endless for getting the word out, for the intrinsic beauty of art and to bring the artist closer to his audience, perhaps drawing in more people to observe the wonder. The easy universal access to the Internet and the diversity of Poetry as Art in the new media is creating international bridges of thought and experience for imagine peace.


Tea at Tympani Lane Records

© 2013