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LITERARY COLONY FLOURISHES IN CYBER VILLAGE OF THE INTERNET.

SUCCESS OF DIGITAL POETRY CIRCLE LEADS TO PAPERBACK ANTHOLOGY OF POEMS.

DEER ISLE, Maine (Xpress Press) -- Digital literary circles are flourishing in Cyberspace bringing artists and writers together in the grand tradition of the Paris Salon and Algonquin Round Table in New York City. Collaborations, critiques and now a published collection of poetry is the result of these cyber connections.

In a new anthology, poet Karen Dowell contributes a selection called 'I Don't Write Poetry Anymore' which chronicles her departure from what some might call the esoteric world of poetry to deal with the real world of work, kids and the death of a loved one.

Of course, this story has a happy ending because as one reads the poem one knows that in fact the author has been nurtured back to writing poetry through the strength of a virtual community of poets not unlike the famous bars, salons and round table communities of the past which brought artists together.

Dowell along with six other poets from a digital colony called the Athens Avenue Poetry Circle contribute to the new book called 'A Year on the Avenue,' published by Two Dog Press.

'A Year on the Avenue' is an anthology of poems from the Athens Avenue Poetry Circle, seven digerati, some of whom found their voices and all of whom found each other thanks to the Internet. But there is a bit of irony between the poet's story and the published work. Even though the Internet completed the circuit for this cyber-circle of poets, none of them actually write much about it.

'A Year on the Avenue' is not a book of poems about cyber-life or cyber-culture, it is a collection of writing ranging in subject from clever doodles about cats and socks to sophisticated prisms of words on addiction, death, love and war. The book features the contributions of seven current and former Athens Avenue poets: Karen Dowell, Tessa Gonzalez, Linda Leavitt, Paul Kloppenborg, David Sutherland, Doug Tanoury and Mike Timonin.

Doug Tanoury formed the Athens Avenue Poetry Circle in 1996. The membership stable is small, limited to no more than six poets. "We meet, critique, collaborate, and support each other using email--a medium that enables us to communicate when and where it's convenient for each member," says Tanoury.

"Arranging meetings is a big hurdle to organizing group activities, email technology means we don't have to worry about whether Thursday night from 7 to 9 works for everyone, or determine the most accessible location to convene. That way we reserve our travel for poetry readings in more conventional settings."

Tanoury says there is a down side to cyber workshops and critiques. "Cyber workshops and specifically critiques can be less personal, and you have to be careful in how you word your remarks, at least until members know each other better, because email crits can seem harsh if not buffered by body language. At Athens Avenue, we've cultivated a supportive environment for poets--in spite of what can sometimes be a dehumanizing medium in which to work."

The Athens Avenue Web site is where the poets showcase and garner exposure for their work. Many of the poets also publish in Internet e-zines--the new media equivalent of small literary journals and anthologies. Exposure on the Internet has helped bring their work to the attention of more traditional print publishers, enabling them to reach an even broader audience.

The name 'Athens Avenue' was chosen as a salute to the ancient poets and thinkers of Greece while reinforcing the group's commitment to education, philosophy, literature and writing. The group has written a set of guidelines for other poets who wish to form a literary or poetry circle called 'Athens Avenue Keys to Poetry Circle Success.'

E.A. Fichtl, Managing Editor of 'Athem' describes the Athens Avenue Circle as 'gifted poets' who will 'astound and inspire those who view poetry as being lost in an morass of misdirected me-ism." "...distinguished penmen who worship the sweat on a workingman's brow."

Midwest Book Review, January 1998 'BookWatch' has written:

"A Year On The Avenue is a collection of poems by the Athens Avenue Poetry Circle, a group of authors from North America and Australia, who met on the Internet. A Year On The Avenue illustrates the benefits of successful workshop environments in a new age of computer communication."



Review Copy / Media Info / Poet Interviews:
CONTACT: Karen Kaiser, Two Dog Press, 207-348-6819

A YEAR ON THE AVENUEL
$8.95 paperback, ISBN 1-891090-00-3
Available from bookstores and Two Dog Press
http://www.twodogpress.com
P.O. Box 307, Deer Isle, ME 04627
Phone: 207-348-6819 Fax: 207-348-6016
Email: human@twodogpress.com

ATHENS AVENUE POETRY CIRCLE
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/6915/index4.htm
Contact: Doug Tanoury
Email: dtanoury@ix.netcom.com



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