Sometimes you meet a new person and don't necessarily know the impact they will make on you. Recently, I discovered a new friend has an archive of their poetry. It was impressive. They also built the site themselves from Java and continue to add to it which is another amazing feat in itself. Color me impressed. As an information professional and artist, it has never occurred to me that my collection of memories, poetry books, letters, and sometimes objects is archiving. In fact, I'm sure many of us have collected things like coins, rocks/stones, or maybe even family heirlooms. Now you may be asking, "What is an archive?" I got your back babe. According to Oxford, an archive is a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people. And according to the National Archives, a personal archive is "a collection of material that records important events from your family’s history." I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that as a librarian this hadn't ever occurred to me. Yet here we are. As a poet archiving your work digitally could also create a copyright for that work. So guess who's archiving some very youthful poetry and going to be working on personal archiving once this novel is done? That's right, me. Thanks, friend.
Copyright say what? Most poets who solely perform don't even think about copyrighting their work until they're sitting in the audience or a friend hits them up with a "this poem sounds oddly familiar" then there's beef and hurt feelings. Claims of stolen get tossed around and ownership becomes wonky as time goes on. Especially when credit isn't given to the original creator. Where's the proof? Well, guess what darling, if you copyright your work then when you do hear that poet swipe your work you can shout, "Swiper no swiping!" or, you know, sue them if you feel so moved. It only really comes in handy when that poem becomes food taken from your table. Poetry is funny anyway because concepts can be similar and words can have a familiar cadence but a copyright lasts for your life and an additional 70 years. "Depending on the country of its origin, most creative work is protected by common law and copyright is assumed by its original creator the moment it is created. When you publicly share work, you are publishing it, making it available to an audience, and the date you share it would become your proof of copyright." -Jay Sizemore
So how am I personally archiving my work? Happy you asked. I use this website in many ways as a personal archive of sorts. It keeps all of my artistic and professional thoughts, ideas, and history so other professionals and artists or anyone really can see what I've been up to. This blog is a bit more intimate than some of my more formal ideas because I want to share what is happening in my week to bi-weekly or whenever this goes up life. Allllll of that said, my old works will eventually find a home here. One day I'll separate my worlds bus for now here we are.
I have poetry that goes back all the way to my very first poem which I will share here. Funnily enough, I started an archival project of other materials and my first poem was one of the documents I ended up scanning for that project. In 2001 I wrote my very first poem and that was the catalyst for me becoming a poet. It ended up in a poetry magazine that I didn't even think to keep but luckily my family held on to my very first scrapbook/photo album that I created back then and it has finally made its way back to me. This is why personal archiving can be useful. We don't lose these memories. We don't lose these moments. And as a poet, we don't lose our work no matter how young we were when we created it.
The best part about personal archiving is that you get to revisit these memories. No matter how hard they may be. I can't wait to share all of my older work with you all. Though some of it is cringy, preachy, erotic, and sad there are happy poems and joyful moments as well. There's also a lot of looooooove from when I let my hopeless romantic side come out and play. I hope this inspires you to create a personal archive of your own and I hope it brings you joy.
Also, I threw in some of the links I got quotes and tings just because the librarian in me couldn't help it ;) Much love!
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