|TEN YEARS OF SAUCY PHOTOS OF PEOPLE WEARING GLASSES CAN YOU IMAGINE?!|
It is probably one of, if not the, longest-running poetry blogs in the UK, and surely has the most number of recorded visitor hits (over two million), and a large number of posts (over 3,300) - an average of 330 a year. It is also British Library archived, and is still widely read - most weeks, a good post will get a few hundred readers - though we seldom get long chains of comments.
Eyewear has waded into most of the public and poetic and political controversies in the UK - and sometimes the USA or Canada - of the period 2005-2015. We've featured hundreds of guest reviews, guest poets, and guest essays. We have chosen hundreds of favourite songs, TV shows, films, AND books. The aim has been to do something no one else ever really tried to do - a something that startled and confused many - and that was to run an editorially responsible blog as a kind of pseudo-glossy magazine - as if ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY had fused with THE ECONOMIST - to see if a broader audience could be found for poetry, by more often placing it in the context of politics and entertainment (including celebrity and sporting issues), surely the two most popular topics (along with sex) on the digital map these days.We often affected the pompous tones of talking heads and pundits, lampooned voice and style, and explored the ambiguity of artifice and faux expression. There was satire here, and not just on April 1 each year. And we often attacked capitalist materialism and atheism and proposed a more aesthetic-deistic model instead.
Did we succeed? Hard to say. Poetry is still often described as dying. The world still elects conservatives and right-wingers. Wars still rage. Inhumanity, cruelty and despotism still reign, and that's just in the poetry world...
It hasn't helped sales, either of Eyewear titles, or the editor Todd Swift's collections, that's for sure - most poetry titles still sell well shy of the 1,250 mark, whereas the blog gets read by over ten thousand a week. Again, that's the world we live in.
If I am proud of a few things, it has been our openness to oddballs, mavericks, and the famous - our magpie, eclectic sensibilities; our wild invective, our wit, our humour (the posts were not all written by one hand, in one style). Mostly, I am proud to say most of what we predicted about the way that poetry would alter in relation to the online world has come true. We live in an Eyewear world, and the new British poetry, however marginally, was shaped by the sorts of signals this blog, along with dozens of others, sent out over the past ten years, day in and often day out.
There won't be another ten years of this blog - technology, human staying power, and a fading interest in the way blogs deliver content - will see to that shift soon enough. But let's hope we do, somehow, make it to the very Eyewear year of 2020!
Here's looking at you.