There is at least one Rothenberg who’s taking real advantage of blogging as a tool for personal branding: my 81-year-old father Jerome Rothenberg, a lion of experimental poetry with more than 80 books to his credit.
My parents’ participation in the “little magazine” movement during the 1960s and ’70s inspired my own excitement about the DIY power of early desktop publishing in the 1980s. (I remember blue-lining literary magazines from about age seven.)
My folks have not slowed down, and my father hasn’t lost his interest in new ways to spread the word. He started his own blog, “Poems and Poetics,” in 2007, and he has built a substantial following based on his own reputation and his steady attention to adding new content that combines poetry with personal insight and autobiographical detail.
Jerome Rothenberg recently added a Facebook account to his arsenal, quickly picking up a set of fans along the way, and has been using it to great effect to promote the work on his blog. Next stop, Twitter?
Mazel tov to The Other Matthew Rothenberg for a story in today’s New York Times that features a fetching photo and his views from high atop the Flickr digital-photo empire.
As my own social graph will tell you, the presence of two high-tech Matthew Rothenbergs has caused a bit of confusion at times and reminds me of the inconclusive negotiations my father had back in the dear, dead analog days of the early ’60s with The Other Jerome Rothenberg, an architect who also happened to write poetry on the side.
And while my wife Nancy Tobin remains at No. 1 in the Google sweepstakes, she’s in a similar pickle: For some reason, art attracts Nancy Tobins like poetry attracts Jerome Rothenbergs and Internet technology, Matthew Rothenbergs. She vies with a sculptor, a photo researcher, and a sound artist.
I’ve suggested to Nancy that they all team up and do a big “Nancy Tobin” show. In the same vein, my doppelgänger suggests “we go in 50/50 on something like whichmatthewrothenbergdoyouwant.com , put a line down the center, our clickable faces and bios on opposite sides of the page, and then pile on the google juice till it becomes the number one search result for our name. We’d be providing a valuable service to the world! (Well, the very small yet incredibly savvy portion of the world who is looking for a Matthew Rothenberg).”
I’m in … There can never be too many Matthew Rothenbergs!
When my folks were in town last weekend (thankfully, before the big blackout that knocked us offline for a few days) I helped my dad set up a blog here.
Here’s the thesis: “In this age of internet and blog the possibility opens of a free circulation of works (poems and poetics in the present instance) outside of any commercial or academic nexus. I will therefore be posting work of my own, both new & old, that may otherwise be difficult or impossible to access, and I will also, as it comes to me, post work by others in the manner of a freewheeling on-line anthology or magazine. I take this to be in the tradition of autonomous publication by poets, going back to Blake and Whitman and Dickinson, among numerous others.”