Visitor stats show that the directory page, Moving Poems’ index of poets and filmmakers, is one of the most-visited pages on the site. But it’s long been difficult to read, especially since the switch to a new, wider template. So I finally decided it was time for an upgrade and found a WordPress plugin, Multi-column Tag Map, that appeared to do everything I wanted. (The previous page was entirely hand-coded.) It is still perhaps a little unwieldy on smaller screens and mobile devices, when it shrinks to fewer than the maximum five columns, but on a desktop monitor it should now be fairly browsable. Check it out.
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You can now follow Moving Poems on Twitter: @moving_poems. Though I continue to favor RSS feed readers myself, I have to admit that the Twitter feed proved its utility this week when Vimeo went down for several hours at midday on Wednesday — exactly the sort of thing worth mentioning on Twitter, where savvier web users tend to look for updates about site performance.
This week, the main site of Moving Poems got a facelift. Videos now fill almost the entire width of the page, and will automatically resize, along with the rest of the site, to fit any screen. Check it out and tell me what you think!
A fresh look often prompts fresh ideas. This week I also decided it was high time to add a links page to the main site. That way I could not only include more links than what I can fit into the footer, but I can also make the footer links section more useful by restricting it to a handful of top sites (and linking to the full list). The links page is still nowhere near exhaustive; too lengthy a list can overwhelm visitors and thereby defeat its purpose. But I welcome suggestions for additional links I should include. For example, I’m thinking there have to be a few more poetry presses with video divisions…
For fellow web publishers and others who may be interested, here’s a more detailed account of what changed and why. The device-responsive video resizing is thanks to a jQuery plugin known as FitVids, which is bundled into the new WordPress theme: Origami Premium from SiteOrigin. I’d been putting off the change to a more modern theme because I liked the look of the old one a lot, but the upgrade to WordPress 3.5 forced my hand — it no longer made sense to keep trying to re-write the code of an aging theme to keep up with changes.
This is the third major redesign of the site. When I started Moving Poems nearly four years ago, few videos looked good at much beyond 600 pixels wide, and it made sense to devote the remaining screen real estate to a sidebar. Now, even most non-HD videos, whether uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo, look decent at full-screen size on a desktop monitor, so why shouldn’t a site devoted to video appreciation take full advantage of that? The smartphone and tablet revolution worried me for a while, especially after Apple decided to stop supporting Flash, but the major video hosting platforms have found work-arounds for that. I’m told that the small viewing area on most mobile devices is compensated for by an ever-increasing sharpness of the display. In any case, the fact is that more and more people are interacting with the web primarily through their phones and tablets, even sometimes watching full-length movies on them. So whether we like it or not, this is the new media landscape that web publishers have to adapt to.
My apologies for the outage over the past 24 hours. Moving Poems is now on a new server, where I hope things will be a little faster and more dependable than on the old server (where the rest of my sites still reside, for now).
I’ve just installed a caching plugin at the main Moving Poems site to try to reduce CPU spikes at the server (we’re on a typical, cheap shared webhost). Please let me know if you run into any problems viewing or using the site.
I’ve just posted two new pages of resources for videopoem and poetry-film makers.
The Poetry film festival list includes websites and, where available, Facebook pages for regularly occurring poetry film festivals. Left off the list, at least for now, are all the more general film festivals to which poetry films might be submitted.
Web resources for videopoem makers includes information on determining what’s free to use, as well as links to free and Creative Commons-licensed film and video, spoken word, sound and music collections. I also include a link to the software I use for downloading videos from the web, but I welcome other suggestions.
Please use the comments here or at the respective pages to alert me about other links I should include. I would also encourage people who regularly use Creative Commons-licensed material to follow the Golden Rule and apply a “copyleft” license to your own work, as well. (I don’t always remember to do this myself, but I should.)
I’ve now shared close to 500 videos on Moving Poems, more than 400 of them in the Video Poems category. It occurs to me that the site would be a lot more useful to students, poets and filmmakers if I created a new, top-level page to display a small number of exemplary videopoems (filmpoems, cinepoems — I’m not hung up on the terminology). Of course I have my own ideas of what should go on this page, but I’d really like input from people who know the genre well. Please email me: bontasaurus [at] yahoo [dot] com with suggestions of videos to include, or leave a link in the comments. Obviously they have to be embeddable, if you’re thinking of things I haven’t yet posted. (And please don’t send me links to your own work. Who among us is capable of being truly objective about the work of our own hands?)
I’m thinking no more than 20 videos, illustrating a range of styles, and including inspired amateurs with cheaper equipment and software as well as those with professional-level tools and experience. I wouldn’t want them all to be so technically perfect that neophytes would be discouraged from getting into it, but I also would like to show some examples of what ace filmmakers have done in the genre so people already making videopoems will have something to aspire to.
I just updated this site (along with the main Moving Poems site) to WordPress 3.0. As soon as I did so, a new update of this theme became available, so I updated to that as well. Let me know if you notice anything funny.
Great to see all the discussion here this morning (well, afternoon for some of you). Minor housekeeping note: You’ll probably notice I just switched the default setting to show rather than hide comment threads. Though this might make the site initially more confusing to navigate for first-time visitors until they discover the global toggle button, I found I was getting annoyed by the fact that I had to toggle-on comments even on single-post views, and decided it would make for better usability if comment links in the sidebar worked by default. If you prefer things the way they were, though, let me know — I’m not wedded to this.