What are The HyperTexts? Where do we find the most compressed, the most intense, the most highly charged works in the English language?
Here dead lie we because we did not choose
To live and shame the land from which we sprung.
Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose;
But young men think it is, and we were young.
If it arouses your curiosity that A. E. Housman was able to capture something essential about war, death, youth, honor and humanity in two perfect sentences, perhaps The HyperTexts is a site you'll enjoy exploring.
All I know is a door into the dark.
Outside, old axles and iron hoops rusting;
Inside, the hammered anvil's short-pitched ring,
The unpredictable fantail of sparks
Or hiss when a new shoe toughens in water.
Seamus Heaney describes "The Forge" so that we
can see and hear it: the bright flurry of sparks that never cool or blur, the
twang of iron that reverberates forever. This is poetry, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "best words in
their best order," in an electronic format: The HyperTexts. We encourage you to
explore our web site. These pages are inlaid with the near-flawless gems of the
and the paler, still-coalescing pearls of contemporary poets. There are names
you will recognize and those you have never heard before: each a unique, compelling
voice. Each, we believe, well worth the price of admission, which is simply your
We hope you'll visit the poets and artists listed in our Spotlight and the other indexes on the left. If you've visited The HyperTexts before, you can quickly catch up on "things new and improved" by checking out our Current & Back Issues page. For more detailed information, please see the Site Guide below.
Current & Back Issues is the
place to quickly see what's new, improved and changed on our other pages.
If you've visited The HyperTexts before, this is the best place to quickly
"catch up" on our latest shenanigans.
The Glob Blog keeps you up to date with the latest escapades of the poets and editors of The HyperTexts, via letters, essays, rants, etc., on topics like the right of adults to euthanasia, the right of non-heterosexuals to marry as they please, and the right of Palestinian kindergartners not to be spat on and cursed by Israeli soldiers armed with Uzis.
The HyperTexts is a leading online publisher of Holocaust Poetry. We also have extensive pages dedicated to The NAKBA (the Holocaust of the Palestinians) and Palestinian Poetry, Art and Photography. Related pages include For Darfur, The Holocaust of the Homeless, Nadia Anjuman and In Peace's Arms, Not War's.
The HyperTexts is a top-ranked site with Google for epigrams with our A Dram of Epigrams page.
The Masters contains poems by all-time greats like William Blake, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens and Robert Frost. This extensive page also features the passionate, highly musical poetry of Dylan Thomas and Hart Crane, the ever-precise lyrics of Elizabeth Bishop, and the work of a number of less-well-known but essential poets like Ernest Dowson and Louise Bogan.
Our Spotlight Poets and Artists, Featured Poets, Contemporary
Poets, Holocaust Poets, Contemporary Artists, Blasts from the Past, etc.,
can be found in the indexes on the left. Every month The HyperTexts spotlights the work of one or more contemporary
poets and artists, along with occasional "Blasts from the Past."
Mysterious Ways is a page devoted to poetry, art and literature that deals with "things mysterious," including, but not limited to, questions of God, eternity, death and the afterlife. Interestingly, our most popular pages here are by Einstein and children ("Kids on Love: the Real Experts Speak", things children say in church, things children say about God, etc.).
In Peace's Arms (Not War's) is a page dedicated to the poetic proposition that Peace's arms are far more desirable than War's. This page highlights poetry from around the globe, with an emphasis on the poetry of Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.
AFTER by Sharron Rose is an free-form online book by a mother whose deceased son, Richard Bomer Manzullo, communicates with her from a heaven-like dimension he calls AFTER.
Esoterica contains poems by Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Elie Wiesel, Ronald Reagan and Ernest Hemingway, comments about poetry and art by Plato, Goya and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and a highly illuminating, high-wattage collection of poetry excerpts, quotes, quips, trivia and anecdotes. And for good measure, we also have pages dedicated to Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) and Elie Wiesel.
Essays & Assays contains essays on "things poetic" and other themes. Included are a series of essays by Elie Wiesel, the landmark essay "Can Poetry Matter" by Dana Gioia, book reviews, and a series of poet interviews conducted by THT editor Michael R. Burch.
Rock Jukebox features lyrics by Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Harry Chapin, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and other songwriters.
Grace Notes poses the
question: Grace, what is it?,
then uses the investigative method of T. S. Eliot: Oh, do not ask, "What is
it?" Let us go and make our visit.
Thanksgiving is a perennial page whose full title is Thanksgiving and the Autumnal Paradox in Poetry, Literature, Song, and Prayer.
A Dram of Epigrams offers "short and sweet" doses of wisdom.
Wit and Fluff is sheer humor.
Formal Poetry attempts to define what formal poetry is, what it isn't, and why it doesn't have to be fuddy-duddy-ish.
Heresy Hearsay questions God and man's relationship, or non-relationship to him, her, it, whatever.
Heretical Christmas Poems poses intriguing questions about the birth of Jesus Christ.
Featured Works is a page devoted to longer works of poetry and literature that may have been given short shrift elsewhere.
Search allows you to quickly
scan our pages for a specific keyword or keywords.
Links is an interactive launching pad that can rocket you at webspeed to some of the best poetry sites on the Internet. We're always open to exchanging reciprocal links with the better poetry sites out there, so if you have one you particularly like, please let us know.
What We Are, and What We're Not
Many of the labels applied to poets seem awkward at best. Is Richard Wilbur a Formal poet, a Formalist, a New Formalist, or simply a poet? If Percy Bysshe Shelley is a Romantic poet, does that mean Robert Frost is not a Romantic poet? Reading Frost's "Acquainted with the Night" or "Directive," one might easily conclude that Frost was more darkly romantic than realized by those who would take him simply (or is it simple-mindedly?) "at face value." The best poets are far too deep, far too complex, for the convenient Post-It labels the world seems intent to slap on them. This begs the question: with so many poets writing in so many styles, with so many influences, and with so many poets so intriguingly original and delightfully hard to pin down, what conclusions can we draw about contemporary poetry in general, or about a small, insignificant poetry web site specifically? Can we say that The HyperTexts is a Formal Poetry site, a Formalist Poetry site, a New Formalist Poetry site, a Romantic Poetry site, a New Romantic Poetry site, or should we perhaps invent a new label to make it sound more exotic? Or by doing so, do we only end up adding to the general neurosis?
Today, poetry exists in a state approximating schizophrenia: many Modernists and Postmodernists rail against the backwardness of the traditional poetic devices of form, meter and rhyme; the Formalists grumble at the looseness and laxness of free verse; everyone has a favorite maxim: "less is more," "no ideas but in things," and so on. But there is no getting away from the all-too-obvious-but-often-ignored fact that poetry has always been an esoteric blend of the old and the new. T. S. Eliot, perhaps the most influential of the Modernists, said "Mature poets steal," and proceeded to do so, often admirably, robbing the cradle of literature in the process. Ezra Pound said "Make it new," then proceeded to write as if through a time warp wormholing back to the Big Bang of the English language. Eliot either didn't believe much of what he said about writing poetry, or he belonged to the "do as I say, not as I do" school of instruction. And then he penned the light-hearted, musical poems that Andrew Lloyd Webber morphed into "Cats!" Pound flitted from Imagism to Vorticism (?) and didn't seem particularly impressed with the results of either. William Carlos Williams and his literary heirs seemed to fixate on imagery as some sort of poetic cure-all for a centuries-long literary hangover, but the Metaphysical poets Eliot favored might have made a chiasmus out of Williams' famous adage, retorting: "No things but in ideas." The rate of change soon accelerated to such a degree that Charles Olson wrote off Pound and Williams as "inferior predecessors" while the ink was barely dry on their best poems, opining that poetry is an "energy discharge", a "projectile," leaving us, we assume, with Projectivism as a great leap forward over Vorticism (?), a term from which I cannot unhinge my question mark.
So what are poets and readers to make of all this, and how does the editor of an online poetry journal like The HyperTexts go about his job? Can we find an appropriate label for what we publish; do we need such a label, even if one exists? I'm reminded of a comment by Donald Allen that labels can be "more historical than actual," and I'm not a fan of labels or formulas when it comes to my life's passion. A more interesting question than what to label poetry is: what exactly is poetry? An editor who moonlights as a poet should be able to hazard a educated guess. I have come to the utterly unamazing, highly unoriginal conclusion that poetry first has to pass the ear test: if it doesn't tickle and please the ear, "it ain't poetry." And so The HyperTexts doesn't publish poetry that reads like prose. But we do publish free verse, if it sings and speaks to us.
And no, we're not a Formalist or New Formalist poetry site, although many of the poets we publish are Formalists we respect and admire. Nor are we a Romantic or New Romantic poetry site, or an Expansive Poetry site, although we have published poets who run in those schools. As the editor of The HyperTexts, I simply try to find and publish the best poems available to me--poems that sing to me and that also speak to something essential within me, poems that touch a common chord, excite it, and set it vibrating. Poetry should be stirring; it should resonate; it should be memorable. (One tremendous advantage rhymed metrical poetry has over prose is that it can far more easily be remembered.) And these stirrings and their resulting echoes have more to do with sound than sense. Once poetry has charmed and captured our ears, it can then proceed to work its inimitable magic through epiphany, metaphor and other mysterious alchemies. As Frost said, "Poetry begins in delight and ends in wisdom." One might also say that "poetry delights us into wisdom."
Much of the magic of modern poetry resides in the forms and patterns one sees emerging from the hard labor of the 20th century and the birth pangs of the 21st: forms and patterns we instantly recognize: sonnets, villanelles, rondels, triolets, sestinas, odes, ballads, blank verse. But we also find the musical prose of the King James Bible and Shakespeare reborn in the free verse heirs of poets like Walt Whitman and Pablo Neruda. In trying to explain my editorial philosophy and simultaneously describe my impression of the lovely but enigmatic modern Muse, I'm inclined to misquote Shakespeare:
Nothing of Her that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
If you read this far, thanks, but by now you should have been reading the
poetry. Shoo, then!
Michael R. Burch, Editor
Contemporary poets and artists we have featured include: Conrad Aiken, Mike Alexander, David Alpaugh, George Amabile, Nadia Anjuman, Claudia Gary Annis, David Gwilym Anthony, Hanan Ashrawi, Peter Austin, Yakov Azriel, Max Babi, Mahnaz Badihian, Helen Bar-Lev, Jim Barnes, John Beaton, Michael Bennett, Luis Berriozabal, James Bobrick, Louise Bogan, Beverly Burch, Michael R. Burch, David Burnham, Jack Butler, Greg Alan Brownderville, Debbie Amirault Camelin, Esther Cameron, Emery Campbell, Maureen Cannon , Michael Cantor, Jo-Anne Cappeluti, Ethna Carbery, Wendy Taylor Carlisle, William F. Carlson, Jared Carter, Usha Chandrasekharan, Catherine Chandler, Sally Cook, Terese Coe, Edmund Conti, Maryann Corbett, Bill Coyle, Hart Crane, Robert W. Crawford, Mary Cresswell, e. e. cummings, Ralph O. Cunningham, Eunice de Chazeau, Mahmoud Darwish, Alfred Dorn, Anita Dorn, Ann Drysdale, Yelena Dubrovina, Abbud El-Dieb, Tara A. Elliot, Rhina P. Espaillat, Anna Evans, Chaya Feldman, Jerzy Ficowski, Annie Finch, Charles Fishman, Jack Foley, Freddy Niagara Fonseca, C. S. Fox, Robert Frost, Makoto Fujimura, Christopher T. George, Ursula T. Gibson, Midge Goldberg, Jack Granath, Max Gutmann, Dr. John Z. Guzlowski, R. S. Gwynn, Eve Anthony Hanninen, Karen J. Harlow, Jim Hayes, Roger Hecht, Laura Heidy, George Held, R. Nemo Hill, Robin Ouzman Hislop, Jeff Holt, Fred Hose, Juleigh Howard-Hobson, Noah Hoffenberg, Keith Holyoak, Erin Hopson, Melanie Houle, Martin Itzkowitz, Lakshmi Seethapathi Iyer, Nahida Izzat, Louise Jaffe, Zyskandar Jaimot, Leland Jamieson, Judy Jones, Sophie Hannah Jones, A. M. (Mike) Juster, Julie Kane, Patrick Kanouse, Rose Kelleher, Sheema Kalbasi, X. J. (Joe) Kennedy, Janet Kenny, T. S. Kerrigan, Andrey Kneller, Janusz Korczak, Yala Korwin, June Kysilko Kraeft, Norman Kraeft, Len Krisak, Adrie Kusserow, Michele Leavitt, David Leightty, J. Patrick Lewis, Ellaraine Lockie, Federico Garcia Lorca, Mary Malone, Ayala Mahler, Nelson Mandela, Anton N. (Tony) Marco, Ric Masten, Harold Grier McCurdy, Michael McClintock, Mary Keelan Meisel, Salomon N. Meisels, Leslie Mellichamp, T. (Tom) Merrill, Robert Mezey, Amitabh Mitra, Mary E. Moore, Richard Moore, Moore Moran, John Morgan, Arthur Mortensen, W. Riley Munday, Timothy Murphy, Oliver Murray, Wade Newman, Alfred Nicol, Leonard Nimoy, Ashok Niyogi, Hudson Owen, Christina Pacosz, Helen Palma, Dorothy Parker, Lee Passarella, Pope John Paul II, Michael Pendragon, Simon Perchik, Noam D. Plum, Ezra Pound, Miklós Radnóti, A'isha Esha Rafeeq-Swan, Mary Rae, Archana Rajagopalan, Gordon Ramel, Carolyn Raphael, Dahlia Ravikovitch, Ronald Reagan, Jennifer Reeser, Jendi Reiter, Tom Riley, Kevin N. Roberts, Joe M. Ruggier, Joseph S. Salemi, Luis Omar Salinas, Jan Schreiber, Norman R. Shapiro, Marion Shore, Johnmichael Simon, Lee Slonimsky, Mike Snider, A. E. (Alicia) Stallings, Scott Stanbridge, Harvey Stanbrough, Paul Stevens, Wallace Stevens, Michael Stowers, Wladyslaw Szlengel, Iqbal Tamimi, Takashi “Thomas” Tanemori, Jovica Tasevski-Eternijan, Sean M. Teaford, Don Thackrey, CarrieAnn Thunell, C. L. (Cynthia) Toups, V. Ulea, Richard Vallance, Sandy VanDoren, Wendy Videlock, Bronislawa Wajs ("Papusza"), Richard Wakefield, Kevin Walzer, Colin Ward, Deborah Warren, Daniel Waters, Agnes Wathall, Charles Weatherford, Bruce Weigl, Judith Werner, Gail White, Alan Wickes, Marc Widershien, Elie Wiesel, James Wilk, Jill Williams, Joyce Wilson, Carmen Willcox, Sieglinde Wood, Jeffrey Woodward, Douglas Worth, Leo Yankevich, Marly Youmans, and Edward Zuk. That's quite an impressive list, and it's constantly growing.
Our "Blasts from the Past" and "Masters" pages include work by Conrad Aiken, The Archpoet, Louise Bogan, A. E. Housman, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, Thomas Wyatt and many other outstanding poets.