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I really like poetry, and when I started at the beginning of my own poetry reading, I was so hungry to know where to look. I wanted more. But it's difficult to find more. Especially more of what I liked. I got impatient reading poems I didn't like. And I finally found a system. If I read poems in a magazine, and I liked a poem, I could look in the poet's bio note and see what other magazines they'd been published in. Then I searched out those magazines. Because I wanted to read more poems by that poet, and I wanted to see what other poets had been published in the new magazine.
I spidered my way out. I found new magazines and new poets and more new magazines. I was surprised. I was bewildered. And, kind of simultaneously, I was hired at Ralston Purina as a data analyst. My job was to construct queries and reports against Point of Sale data for one of the company's biggest clients. I worked with DBA's. I learned about relational databases and the data structures that go into them. OMG! I love data! I love entering data! I love how data can nurture its own set of surprises. I decided to make a database that would try to uncover the surprises I was discovering in the poetry world.
thekalliope has been evolving over the past 20 years. It makes it more a glob of data. An enthusiasm of data is the technical term. I just keep adding data. The data that is here (or are here) is as accurate as I can make it. But it is in no way 100% of the data available. It offers a fairly elaborate sketch of the poetry world. There are awards now along with journal publications. There are bibliographies and university positions and MFA degrees, to try to reveal more about who and what and how poetry in the 21st Century has developed.
And then there is what I'm reading, as well. I really like poetry, and I would really like if the poets I follow and read and anticipate and have a personal conversation in my mind with could be promoted, to whatever degree "promoted" is something that happens anywhere for poetry. Is having their image and my efforts to attach more data to their individual poet page promotional? It's unclear. Because the internet makes everything unclear, I think. But it offers me a public platform to give other readers more information about this poet. And that feels like something real.