The Poetry Menu

Back in February of 2000, it seemed to me that there were maybe 3 poetry readings in Omaha, and usually all 3 on the same night. I figured if there was a simple, user-friendly and well-maintained website out there to list these things, maybe people would use it when they're planning events and also when they're looking for a poetry event to go to. I knew a little about making websites, I figured I could do it and it'd be easy seeing as there are only three events a month, right?

It turns out, when you look for poetry events, they are definitely there in Nebraska. But before I started The Poetry Menu, it took some searching to find out about many of these. How much is out there? Last April (National Poetry Month) had over fifty events on The Menu, but even a summer month like July can have 30 events listed, mostly in Omaha and Lincoln.

And does it work? Do people use it and get anything out of it? Well, it's close to 1,000 hits per month by users. It also supports a weekly emailing which goes to about 200 subscribers as well as to the Omaha and Lincoln papers, making it a useful publicity resource for anyone putting on a poetry event be it open mic, featured reading, poetry festival, reading series, poetry slam, most anything poetry.

My hope is just that it lays a decent, accessible groundwork for poetry information. The easier it is for an audience to know about poetry readings, the more people we'll have at these readings and the more attention we'll be giving to poetry, hopefully inspiring better and better writing and performance of poetry.

And, with the help of folks like yourself who come here, it's working. It's the users of this site who keep me informed (by emailing new readings, changes, and corrections to, and without such help, this resource would be a shambles. As is, it's the most accurate and complete list of poetry events available.

Yes, running the website takes many more hours per month to maintain than I expected when I figured there were just three events per month to keep track of, but it's been worth it. I love a good poetry reading; anything I can do to see more happen is time well spent.

Matt Mason

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Last update: March 9, 2012