PoetrySpeaks: That cha-ching you hear is the launch of a poetry site
Poets talk about community more than just about anyone else. Go to a slam or open mike and you'll hear countless folks at the mike thanking the community or passing the hat to support the community. There's no setup here: It's actually one of the things that makes the scene here an inviting one. But it's funny that that community has never really extended itself online.
Naperville's Sourcebooks has launched the most complete poetry social-networking site we've seen to date in PoetrySpeaks.com. Users can log on, create a profile and upload their own poetry (written or recorded). There's also plenty of poetry on there to browse and listen to. It's not just user-generated content, either: I just clicked on Emily Dickinson's face. You can preview recordings of famous and not-so-famous poems, and buy them for 99 cents a pop (though text versions are free), all of which means the site aims to turn a profit.
Of course, now that everything is supposed to be free online, it's easy to think that people won't pay for, of all things, poetry. But PoetrySpeaks.com is an extension of Sourcebooks' enormously popular Poetry Speaks books, which have sold nearly 200,000 copies. So, hey, if it works, you might have to change that old Internet adage: People will only pay for porn and poetry.