I ♥ E-Poetry: Year Two Retrospective

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)

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I ♥ E-Poetry is two years old!

When I started this project back in December 19, 2011 I thought of it as a kind of public annotated bibliography of electronic poetry, powered by a simple, yet ambitious constraint: to read an e-poem and write a brief entry about it every day. And I did it for 500 consecutive days— what I now call phase 1 of the project. Along the way, I started to cultivate a steadily growing readership, almost won an award, recruited an advisory board, formed a partnership with the ELMCIP Knowledge Base, reconceptualized and relaunched the project, joined the Consortium of Electronic Literature (CELL), and attracted a team of contributors and interns to help me develop I ♥ E-Poetry.

According to Google Analytics, since its launch on December 20, 2011 we have welcomed 18,551 Unique Visitors, 26, 437 Visitors, and 53,879 Pageviews. (Read also a report of the visitor locations.) You can visualize the growth of its audience in the graph below.

Monthly visits to I ♥ E-Poetry in two years.
Monthly visits to I ♥ E-Poetry in two years.

The massive dip in readership between May and August 2013 was the migration from a Tumblr site and the leonardoflores.net URL to a WordPress powered site and its current URL: iloveepoetry.com. It was also a much needed vacation from writing daily entries, which I dubbed The Summer of Pedagogy. The dip in September/October was due to problems with a WordPress plug-in which blocked Google Analytics from accessing the site for over a week. Technical issues aside, the site has been blessed with readers who are interested and explored its resources beyond the casual visit to read about a particular work, which is evident from the relation between pageviews (in yellow) and the visits (in blue). The graph below (taken from WordPress Jetpack statistics data starting on May 2, 2013) shows the top 25 most visited pages.

Top 25 visits since May 2013
Top 25 visits since May 2013

Here’s a neat little story about my most visited entry [When it comes to] by Patton Oswalt, which earned that position during the ELO 2013 conference this past September. I had written the entry about this comedian’s virtuoso trolling performance on Twitter a few days earlier, and as I checked my Twitter account, I noticed that he was active on Twitter, so I sent him a tweet:

and he retweeted it to his 1.5 million followers! And some of them retweeted it on and on and on. It was our viral moment, surpassing by far when Ian Bogost retweeted my entry on accounts developed around his Twitter persona (in March).

More importantly, over a thousand persons outside of academia were exposed to the notion of e-literature and were hopefully drawn to explore further the resources reviewed in this blog. After all, I ♥ E-Poetry seeks to expand the audience of electronic literature beyond the academics, writers, programmers, and artists who see the importance of engaging the literary and artistic potential of language in digital media.

And so, as we enter our third year, this project continues its mission by developing:

  • Entries on Brazilian and Portuguese e-lit, under the expert guidance of Luís Claudio Fajardo.
  • Completing our coverage of the Electronic Literature Collections and other resources with contributors Bárbara Bordalejo and Samira Nadkarni.
  • Developing resources for teaching and exploring e-lit publications and venues.
  • Integrating its metadata and searchability with the CELL and ELMCIP KB.
  • Seeking funding opportunities to expand the scope of its coverage to other languages, nationalities, regions, and more.

I conclude this celebratory entry with thanks:

  • To my dear wife Kara and children Olivia and Blake, for supporting me by patiently allowing me the time to write these entries.
  • To the Fulbright Foundation, the US Norway Fulbright Foundation, the University of Bergen, the ELMCIP project, and particularly Scott Rettberg and Jill Walker Rettberg, who gave me a year in a nurturing research and teaching environment to develop my research like never before in my career.
  • To my home institution, the University of Puerto Rico: Mayagüez Campus, particularly the College of Arts & Sciences and the English Department, for granting me research release time and seed money to continue developing this project.
  • To the Electronic Literature Organization and the members of its Board, who have been so supportive of my work in this and other projects.
  • To my Advisory Board– Kathi Inman Berens, Alan Bigelow, and Mark Marino– whose guidance has helped me redefine and expand the project beyond an artisanal single-person critical writing performance.
  • To my team of dedicated contributors– Bárbara Bordalejo, Luís Cláudio Fajardo, and Samira Nadkarni– whose excellent readings enrich our blog every week
  • To my interns– Ian Rolón and Cynthia Román– and volunteer Hannelen Leirvag, who have allowed for the development of new resources for readers to better explore the project.
  • To the writers, artists, programmers– poets all!– who create such wondrous digital works.
  • And to our readers, who make it all worth it!

Here’s to a new year of growth and development!