Colorado Poets Center E-Words Issue #1

The Art and Practice of Webbing

Thinking of starting a website for your work? At least fourteen poets on the CPC have them up-and-going and have opinions and advice on the process and the product.

Some, like Jessy Randall at Colorado College, started because it was a free service of their school. Her site shows publications, a photo, information about readings and some links. She uses ‘Statfinder’, a free statistics tracker, so she knows the traffic on her site, “very little,” she says, but about 20 hits a day. She can also tell “how” someone got to her site. Her favorite was finding someone who had typed “poems about lettuce” into Google and finding her because she has – well, a poem about lettuce in the Broken Heart Diet chapbook. She looks at it almost every day to add some small information or fiddle with formatting.

Chris Ransick says his site evolves as he learns more about what’s possible. At first it was mainly informational, “to connect online with an audience,” but he’s recently added a blog – WordGarden – which has opened up more possibilities.

Ransick finds it convenient as a place where he can direct inquiries that would take too much time to repeat. He can also track hits on his site and measure other websites linking to his as well as add new readers to an e-mail list for information on readings and appearances.

A website can consume one’s time and energy, he warns, and writers have to be careful. He keeps “a tight leash” on his own, setting aside a specific work-time to go in, update and make entries.

Ed Hanson has both a personal website ( and a blog (Crowpoetry. blog “seemed like a good idea at the time,” he says, but it requires so much time with very little traffic that he’s thinking of taking it down. He finds a website useful for posting information on books and CDs as well as events and contacts for readings.

Reg Saner has “an economy model,” a photo, book covers, and information, publications, and awards. It is a quick way of referring people who ask for a lot of material. He feels the website shows he’s “serious, and not just a wannabe.”

Jeffrey Lee had a website connected with the Univ. of Northern Colorado, but he also has sites for each of two recent books, Invisible Sister, from the Many Mountains Moving site and Identity Papers .His personal site featured sample poems, reviews, interviews, mp3s, links, and events. It didn’t seem to directly sell many books, he says, but it’s attracted a lot of visitors. Furthermore, Lee believes that a poet’s website with links to small presses can provide an alternative to the online book shopping at “superstores” like Amazon. He sees directing readers to small presses as the challenge and promise of the web.

If there’s enough interest in what people are doing with websites, E-Words can run other stories about other poets. Let us know.

Other poets may have sites that we don’t know about and your information is solicited, but here’s a list of websites specifically identified on the CPC.