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Poets and Pundits Pounce on ThoughtMesh
National Poetry Foundation uses Still Water tool to mesh a collection of essays on poetry in the 1970s
Poetry of the 1970s conferenceJUNE_2008. Over forty authors from the National Poetry Foundation's conference on poetry of the seventies have published their work using a new Still Water tool that reveals connections among different peoples' writing. Who knew that "1973" and "John Ashbery" were on so many poets' minds? ThoughtMesh did.


Steve EvansWhen U-Me English professor Steve Evans was planning the 2008 conference of theNational Poetry Foundation, he wanted a way to draw connections among a wide variety of speakers presenting over five days of the conference. He found it in ThoughtMesh, a tool developed by colleagues in the New Media Department's Still Water lab.

ThoughtMesh is tool for publishing and interrelating documents in a distributed fashion. Unlike blogs or articles in online databases, ThoughtMesh relates essays from all over the Web. When authors "mesh" writing from different sites, ThoughtMesh's software auto-generates "tags," or thematic keywords, that relate excerpts in semantic ways. Unlike the Web's standard model exemplified by search engines like Google, ThoughtMesh connects authors even if they have not made explicit hyperlinks to each other.

In meshing essays from the poetry of the seventies conference, Evans was the first to test-drive a ThoughtMesh feature that allows individuals and organizations to create their own "Meshes"--collections of meshed essays on a particular theme, akin to online journals.

Poet Rob HalpernEvans founded the National Poetry Foundation's NPF Mesh to gather contributions from the conference in one Web page; so far over forty poets and poetry critics have contributed to this Mesh. Now that the NPF has taken the plunge, other organizations have launched their own Meshes, including the University of Cambridge and Still Water itself.




NPF Mesh tags

A tag cloud on the NPF Mesh home reveals the most common tags across all the texts contributed by its members. Some are no surprise--"poetics" and "modernism," for example--while others, such as "1973," "John Ashbery," and "erotic," suggest themes for poets in the seventies that might not otherwise have been evident.

DC Poets at the Poetry of the 1970s conferenceReaders can click on these tags to find related essays from the NPF Mesh, or choose "All Meshes" to find related essays across the entire Web.

For more information on ThoughtMesh, contact Jon Ippolito of Still Water.


ABOVE: Visitors to the Poetry of the 1970s conference (photo by Ben Friedlander); Steve Evans (photo by Jennifer Moxley); the NPF Mesh logo; poet Rob Halpern (photo by Ben Friedlander); the tag cloud from the NPF Mesh; D.C. Poets at Poetry of the 1970s (L to R: Joan Retallack, Lynne Dreyer, Tom Orange, Doug Lang, Diane Ward, Phyllis Rosenzweig, P. Inman, and Tina Darragh, photo by Ben Friedlander).

Still Water logo

 

Updated: 2008-08-11 by Jon Ippolito
Posted 2008-08-11 10:31:01 by Jon Ippolito
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