The journey of discovery
Am I poet or an archivist? Perhaps I am both. This has been on my mind as I worked for the better part of an entire year during a pandemic, trying to port over Read A Little Poetry from a free blogging platform to a self-hosted one, with more robust features that will enable me to preserve the history of the site as much as possible and make proper attributions.
I have put down roots in this place, and they have grown deep. When I started posting in 2005, unsure of anything, mumbling under my breath as I flipped the pages of books, I did not know then that I was a wild thing about to be saved by poems.
I wanted to have a record of my life and my being human. I wanted a witness for how poetry has shaped the way I think, and deepened the way I feel—and so this place was borne out of that deep desire.
The work of archiving that I do in Read A Little Poetry is never-ending. I have tried my best to preserve the poems in their original form, as they appeared in print or online publications where I originally found them. This means inserting code in order to create the necessary spaces or line breaks where needed, in case using a normal WYSIWYG editor is not enough. As a poet, this is important to me, too, and I wanted to accord that same respect to other peoples’ work. If you come across a poem with incorrect spacing or line breaks, whether on desktop or mobile view, or discover that a work is incomplete, please let me know immediately.
Sourcing the work
I do my utmost to conform with Fair Use. I understand the amount of work it takes to pour one’s self onto the page, and so the poems that appear on this site are from books I have diligently purchased or am working actively to acquire. The process of providing credit for every post is ongoing: ideally, each post should reference the book (or journal) where the poem appeared, the publisher, and the year it was published.
No copyright infringement is intended in creating and growing this project—I do not own the poems, and all the poets own the rights to their work. If you happen to be one of the authors or journals in which the poem originally appeared and would like me to update credits or remove your poem, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
I also request readers, visitors, and those who plan on sharing the content here to give proper credit and attributions—to the poet and their poem, or to me, in case you are interested in the text that comes before the poems.
This is a non-commercial project. I do not accept requests for sponsored posts, nor do I participate in any advertisement arrangements or accept unsolicited offers in exchange for my writing.
People have left thousands of comments over a thousand posts in this site—some are funny, some are kind and generous. Others are emotional, affectionate, open. I often think that they come here to read then share something of themselves because they are looking for solace, or trying to comprehend their own wounding. Sometimes I may receive requests to take their comments down after many years have passed. I immediately comply.
The life we make unfolds every day according to what we are brave enough to share, or ask for, or be vulnerable towards. This has always been a safe space for readers to feel and just be, however way they want. I respect everyone’s boundaries and remain protective of the community.
In the same manner, I gently ask for your indulgence, understanding, and acceptance for all of my past selves who have appeared here. Previous versions, younger versions, who may have been ignorant, reckless at the mouth, oversharing, overthinking. All of them are loved all the same.
I Was Told the Sunlight Was a Cure by Hanif Abdurraqib
"on the days I want to be alive I tell myself I deserve a marching band / or at least a string section to announce my arrival
La Chalupa, the Boat by Jean Valentine
"No, not drifting, I am poling / my way into my life."
[Goldenrod, I could say, you know, everybody wants something] by Diane Seuss
"Goldenrod, is your dying hard? I know, / I know dying's hard. Are you reaching toward, you know, or just reaching?"
Transformation by Adam Zagajewski
"I’ve lived humbly, reading the paper, / pondering the riddle of power / and the reasons for obedience."
Starlings in Winter by Mary Oliver
"I want / to think again of dangerous and noble things