Notes from a working group

Standards geek: “I think we need to establish a standard for representing poetry on the Internet. I’ve drawn up this draft which encapsulates stanzas inside an Atom feed. It’s pretty simple; the spec fits on a page, so it should be easy to implement.”

Visual poet: “That’s pretty cool, but what about visual poetry? You know, that Fluxus kind of stuff? Because you can’t really separate that into stanzas.”

Standards geek: “Hey, you’re right. I’d better create a new element for visual poetry.”

Visual poet: “Awesome. Thanks, man; now I can represent my visual poetry using your standard.”

Spoken word poet: “Hey, that is awesome. But I don’t have any way of representing my poetry, which is all spoken. I don’t write it down at all.”

Standards geek: “Good point; I don’t have anything for spoken word poetry. I’d better create a new element for that.”

Performance poet: “While you’re at it, could you create a sub-element for performance poetry? We’re like spoken word poets, but we also sometimes use music and elements of theater in our performances.”

Standards geek: “… Okay, I’ve added some new elements that represent performance poetry.”

Haiku poet: “Could we also have something for haiku? Although haiku can be thought of in stanzas, it’d be useful to draw out the kigo and the kireji and represent those explicitly. Also, haiku can be drawn as a line of Japanese characters or as three lines of Latin text, and it makes a difference to the overall interpretation of the verse.”

Standards geek: “I don’t really know what those are, but I’d like to support haiku, so okay, they can go in.”

Linguist: “This standard is only going to be useful to me if I can add interpretations to a poem, and group poems together to make a themed collection.”

Other linguist: “And I’d like to comment on other peoples’ interpretations so I can tell them why they’re wrong.”

Standards geek, two months later: “Okay, I think I’ve got every major representation of poetry that everyone’s asked for. We’re ready to lock down the spec and build some libraries for initial testing. The only problem is, the specification is now seventy-two pages long, so that might take a while.”

Kinetic poet: “Sorry, I just got here. Can we add a marquee tag?”

Photo by surrealmuse, released under a CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.





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