Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The House of Words (no. 24): Dave Bonta and internet publishing, 5

Dave takes a picture at Rhoneymeade--
arboretum, sculpture garden, and labyrinth.
Back to The House of Words after travels in the Carolinas and Wales, where I met Dave Bonta in the flesh at Ty Isaf. He is as remarkable a fellow as one would imagine, after meeting him on his blog, and so he is one of the many reasons that I am glad that I drove to North Carolina, hopped on planes in Asheville and Atlanta and Paris, and managed to make it from the Birmingham train station to Aberytswyth without being carried away to parts unknown at the challenge-to-pronunciation Machynlleth, where the train splits and goes in several directions. And now, more of the wisdom of Dave...

MY: I’m thinking in particular of a number of writer (or ex-writer) friends and acquaintances who have grown dark and discouraged over time, and who might have done as you have done — perhaps not exactly the same, as not many have either your freedoms or your interest in multiple forms. What sort of online alternative activities or forms would you recommend to such writers?

DB: Hmm. Well, It's easy enough to start a blog at a site like, but not every writer is sufficiently gregarious to be able to build up an audience (more on that below). But there are hundreds and hundreds of good online magazines looking for content — the Links page of qarrtsiluni is a good place to start. I would also point out that poetry can be worked into any number of other online media. It's not hard to accumulate Twitter followers with poetic updates, for example, and Facebook will accommodate poetry as well as anything else if you really want friends and family to read your stuff. And for someone who has technical skills and is willing to learn new things, online audio and video platforms such as Jamendo and YouTube are still chronically underexploited by poets.

From Dave's ramblings at Plummer's Hollow:
wood frog eggs anchored to a stick
in an ephemeral spring pool. April 2008.
MY: You have made so many interesting acquaintances through your online presence; do you think that such relationships give you the sense of fullness and belonging that so many writers appear to lack?

DB: I suppose so. In general, I think the best medicine for the kind of discouragement you mentioned in your previous question is to join a community of writers, online or in real life, and focus on the writing rather than the writer. A lot of writers are way too self-absorbed, so I suppose they'll remain dissatisfied no matter how successful they get.

Dave at home in Plummer's Hollow, 2008.
He  takes a picture of a tattered Compton tortoise shell.


  1. Dave Bonta, philosophical argument restated in flesh, Q.E.D.?

  2. Lovely photos, and good advice. No one wants to be invisible, and now that the Internet exists, and we have our words to parley with, there is no reason at all to be so.

  3. Robbi, he does talk about issues that I believe will answer some questions you and others have asked... There are still some more pieces of Bonta-talk left!


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.