About The HyperTexts
The HyperTexts is an on-line poetry journal with a simple goal: to showcase the best poetry,
literary prose and art available to us.
We are not a "formal" journal or a "free verse" journal; we simply publish the best poetry we can find. We ask our poets to
provide us with their career-defining work (that is, career-defining in their
opinion, not someone else's); thus, most of our poems have been published
elsewhere. While other poetry journals seem to quail at the thought of their
poems having been read elsewhere, we sincerely doubt that anyone has ever been
harmed by reading good poems more than once!
Oxford University called The HyperTexts "dynamic and challenging" with
a "different approach" to poetry, on its ARCH resource page for the Arts &
Humanities. The full entry can be read
Are we making a difference? Well, not long ago we passed 11 million page views
and just recently we noticed that two less-well-known poems that we've been
touting for years—"Wulf and Eadwacer" and "The Highwayman"—are now in Google's
top 25 for searches like "the most popular poems of all time." So it's quite possible that
we've helped increase readership of two of our most-mentioned poems. "Tom o'
Bedlam's Song," a third poem in Google's top 25, may also be a beneficiary of our
labor. Around twenty years ago we noticed that there was not a single correct version
of the poem online; all the versions we found contained serious errors. To our
knowledge, we were the first website to publish this magnificent
poem without glaring errors. We have also been touting the work of
outstanding-but-obscure poets like The Archpoet, Thomas Chatterton, Digby
Dolben, Anne Reeve Aldrich and Agnes Wathall. If they get more recognition in
the future, our efforts may have helped. In any case, we're certainly trying!
Furthermore, a number of poems that we've published have "gone viral" in big
ways, getting republished hundreds of times or more. So we do think we're making
a difference, by helping poets and readers connect.
Pages of Special Interest
The Best of The HyperTexts
showcases some of the best poems we have published over the last two decades.
showcases outstanding poems by the immortal poets of the English language.
Current and Back Issues lets you see
what we've been up to recently.
Editor in Arrears
Michael R. Burch had
the audacity to call himself a "poet" as a preteen. Convinced he was destined to
succeed Percy Bysshe Shelley, but not understanding the impediments, Burch once
destroyed all his boyhood poems due to the recalcitrance of his Muse. But having
marginal athletic ability and desperately needing some way to impress potential
paramours, Burch was soon back at it again. Give him a gold star for
perseverance, at least. Today his alleged "poetry" appears at the bottom of the Contemporary Poets
section, befitting, Burch says, his station in life and the arts. But things have
been looking up a bit more recently, since his poems have been set to music by
twelve composers, taught in high schools and colleges, and translated into
Some of his poems have gone viral, being copied hundreds to
thousands of times. One poem appears on a staggering 691,000 web pages,
according to Google results. Miracles, apparently, remain possible.
for the children of the Holocaust and Gaza
Something inescapable is lost—
lost like a pale vapor curling up into shafts of moonlight,
vanishing in a gust of wind toward an expanse of stars
immeasurable and void.
Something uncapturable is gone—
gone with the spent leaves and illuminations of autumn,
scattered into a haze with the faint rustle of parched grass
Something unforgettable is past—
blown from a glimmer into nothingness, or less,
which finality has swept into a corner ... where it lies
in dust and cobwebs and silence.
Poet in Residuum
is THT's Poet in Residuum. This is a mysterious office.
LIFE AS AN OBSTRUCTION
Every now and then
when traversing Le Haut Richelieu
that endlessness of flat earth
no different from Ohio
except for the odd mysterious mound
far off on the horizon
he passes himself, his likeness anyway
which is always overtaken
always left behind
as it chugs along a paved path.
It too seems encumbered
with cement soles
although it is spared
awareness of the weight of its tread
the heaviness of movement known
when gravity grows palpable.
It mirrors his daily treks
down city sidewalks
everyone racing by
scurrying to get around
that laboriously lumbering obstacle
the tractor in the slow lane.
Editor in Exile
Iqbal Tamimi is THT's Editor in Exile. She is a Palestinian refugee displaced
by Israel's grotesque system of apartheid and ethnic cleansing who now
lives in England. Iqbal has been of invaluable assistance to THT in our search for
work by Palestinian poets and artists.
Murdered by my own ink
The ports of my papers,
are fields of uncertainties.
I plant my anchor
to secure my old face
while it ages toward oblivion.
My dream is stretching
between a place
under the umbrella of the wind,
an illusion under the rain.
is . . . too far
to arrest the dead man,
who crucified me
in a hideous, unthinkable moment.
I am just a number within an army
of unlucky ones,
killed by the poison of their own ink,
and the stupidity of their own fingers,
slaughtered by despair.
race us in our sleep,
to attend a wedding
between the rain and the desert.
Our pains . . . twitter
While we assassinate ourselves,
hoping some one;
not one of us
to write a better dirge
while watching the skittering feet of the poor
following their own footprints,
forgetting the phantoms behind,
to the side,
on some other route,
swarming with the dust of honor,
as we abandon our bevy
to increase our number
by . . . one.
Joe Ruggier published a number of books by THT poets. Remarkably, he
sold more than 20,000 books by peddling them door-to-door! Unfortunately Joe is
no longer with us, but his poetry and the books he published live on.
Woodward has written a number of essays for THT's "Blasts from the Past"
Contributors of Special Note
We would like to especially thank the following poets for their
contributions and/or much-appreciated advice to THT over the years: Peter Austin, Bill Carlson,
Jared Carter, Rhina Espaillat, R. S. Gwynn, Zyskandar Jaimot, Janet Kenny, Yala Korwin, Nick Marco, Richard Moore, Mary Rae,
Kevin N. Roberts, Joe Salemi, Luis Omar Salinas, Harvey Stanbrough and V. Ulea (Vera Zubarev).
Other contemporary poets whose work appears high in our page view rankings
include: Nadia Anjuman, Hanan Ashwari, Jim Barnes, Greg Alan Brownderville, Jack
Butler, Mahmoud Darwish, Alfred Dorn, Anita Dorn, Ann Drysdale, R. S. "Sam"
Gwynn, George Held, Annie Finch, Judy "Joy" Jones, Sophie Hannah Jones, A. M.
"Mike" Juster, Julie Kane, X. J. Kennedy, Quincy R. Lehr, J. Patrick Lewis,
Michael McClintock, Robert Mezey, Leonard Nimoy, Jennifer Reeser, Norman R.
Shapiro, A. E. "Alicia" Stallings, Takashi "Thomas" Tanemori, Fadwa Tuqan,
Richard Wakefield, Bruce Weigl, Gail White and John Whitworth.
Our most popular poets of the past include: Robert Burns (our most popular poet
with over 128,000 page views), William Blake (a close second with over 100,000
page views), Urdu translations by Michael R. Burch (50,000), Mary Elizabeth Frye
(38,000), "Wife's Lament" translation by Michael R. Burch (31,000), Ronald
Reagan (26,000 page views; Reagan was an unexpectedly good poet, and from a
young age to boot), Thomas Wyatt "Whoso List to Hunt" translation by Michael R.
Burch (21,000), Abraham Lincoln (18,000 page views; Lincoln was an accomplished
poet who wrote a poem that was "more popular than the Bible" in Illinois, about
a gay marriage!), Oscar Wilde (18,000), Sappho translations by Michael R. Burch
and other poets (18,000), "Wulf and Eadwacer" translations by Michael R. Burch
(15,000), "Caedmon's Hymn" translation by Michael R. Burch (11,000), A. E.
Housman (9,000), William Dunbar translations by Michael R. Burch (9,000), Haiku
translations by Michael R. Burch (9,000), Wallace Stevens (7,000), The Archpoet
(7,000), John Dowland (7,000), Ezra Pound (6,000), Robert Frost (6,000), Mark
Twain (6,000), Ahmad Faraz translations by Michael R. Burch (6,000), "Bede's
Death Song" translation by Michael R. Burch (6,000), Conrad Aiken (5,000),
Robert Bridges (5,000), Dorothy Parker (4,000), Hart Crane (4,000), W. H. Davies
(4,000), Rainer Maria Rilke translations by Michael R. Burch (4,000), Paul Celan
translations by Michael R. Burch (4,000), Basho translations by Michael R. Burch
(4,000), Louise Bogan (3,000), Thomas Campion (2,000).
We do not accept unsolicited submissions, but poets are welcome to query Mike Burch through Facebook (he is the only Mike Burch
wearing glasses with round lenses, so he's easy to spot). Or if you know poets published by THT, you can ask them to introduce you to Mike Burch, via email or snail mail.
"This [The HyperTexts] is Michael Burch's site, a fine uncluttered place
to visit and contemplate mostly New Formalist poets of the first order. Poets
and poems are added about once a month, so the site is worth putting on your
regular circuit." — Edge City Review, edited by Terry Ponick
Here is an interesting, unusual and sometimes-blush-inducing review by
Public Static Void Man.
Paul Sonntag's "Uncle Flatboot" Review of The HyperTexts can be read by clicking
here. Here's a quick excerpt: "The HyperTexts is, beyond anything
else, a place for people who love poetry just for the sheer magic of the
language and who have no interest in literary taxonomy restricting their reading
to narrow genres or schools. The HyperTexts is a bit like a shelf of
battered books in a cozy little coffee shop you've just discovered. You know the
scene: it's raining buckets outside, you don't have anywhere to go or anything
else to do for the rest of the day, and the place is deserted except for you and
the heavy-lidded barista. You get your cuppa, stake out a fat, threadbare easy
chair and start digging ..."
"The HyperTexts ... aims to make available the best poems of
contemporary writers to more classic material from across the canon of English
poetry ... the site also includes critical essays, articles and interviews.
Classifying material under headings such as 'Esoterica', 'Rock Jukebox',
Mysterious Ways', and 'Thanksgiving', the tone of the site is dynamic and
challenging. The site is likely to be of interest to writers and literature
students looking for an upbeat approach to poetry. There are also themed items
offering philosophical insights through quotations, full poems and reflections.
These are balanced by critical appreciations of featured poems and discussions
on style and form. Online since November 2001, an archive is available,
containing a comprehensive range of material. The site is user friendly,
includes links and makes use of frames."—Intute "best of the web"
article by Elaine and Dr. Bella Kogan, also published by Humbul Humanities Web
Laurel Johnson's review of The HyperTexts for Midwest Book Review can be read by clicking
here. Here's an excerpt: "Visiting
The HyperTexts turned out to be an exhilarating and enlightening
adventure. The site is easy to navigate and positively loaded with memorable
poetry and essays ... I found gems written by past poetic masters and new,
compelling offerings from contemporary poets ..."
This review appeared on formalverse.com, author unknown: "One of the most
fascinating – as well as ENORMOUS – repositories of poetry on the Internet is a
vast, rambling, straggling site called The HyperTexts. The link here
will take you to a listing of hundreds and hundreds of good poets, ancient and
modern, well-known and obscure, formal and free, with and without expositions by
the site's creator, poet Michael R. Burch. Want to read William Blake? Or Ronald
Reagan's (surprisingly competent) verse? They’re both here. Want to read poems
on the Holocaust next to poems on the Nakba, the Palestinian Catastrophe?
There’s a whole section on it. Ancient Greek Epitaphs and Epigrams? Anglo-Saxon
Riddles and Kennings? Walt Whitman? Wit and Fluff? Everything you could hope
for, with more being added all the time. Truly one of the greatest resources in
the world for lovers of poetry!
What people "in the know" are saying about The HyperTexts . . .
"Thanks for having my poems on The HyperTexts ... It is one of my
proudest publications." — Paul Stevens, poet and editor of The
Chimaera, Shit Creek Review and The Flea.
"Dear Michael B, Your site is the only place I have ever been on the Internet.
Looking through literary magazines listed, poets, and comments, not to mention
the beautiful opening graphic, I'm just amazed ..." — Jean Mellichamp Milliken, editor of The Lyric
"Some of the best poetry on the web."―Vera Ignatowitsch, editor-in-chief of Better Than Starbucks
"As I told one of our members, The HyperTexts reads like a 'Who's Who' in contemporary poetry today!" — Michael Morton, Director of the Net
Poetry & Arts Competition
"THT is getting to be one of the really grand old poetry sites. Congratulations
on all the good work!" — Richard Moore, poet/philosopher/mathematician and Pulitzer Prize
"You have a BEAUTIFUL website . . . And have given many a beautiful page to so
many fine poets. Let me thank you wholeheartedly for all of us who know the
value of literary magazines of all sorts." — Jim Barnes, poet and editor
of The Chariton Review
"I have been reading the poems and commentary on your marvelous website. What
you have done is most impressive. I was pleased to see so many fine writers
featured in your pages." — Jared Carter, poet
"People have asked me how this invite [to read at the Library of Congress]
happened to come my way, and I tell them it’s probably because a few years ago,
when I was just venturing onto the web, I got a big helping hand from a
gentleman named Michael Burch." — Jared Carter, poet
"Thanks to your efforts, The HyperTexts continues to be one of the most
readable and reader-friendly poetry sites on the web. I certainly appreciate all
the notice it has given my work over the years." — Jared Carter
[Jared Carter is generous and far too modest: obviously it's his
talent and craftsmanship that got him invited to read at the
Library of Congress. But THT is a good place to peddle one's wares, if one
happens to be a poet, and we do show up number one in Google searchers for many
of the poets we publish, making THT a good "launch point" for poets seeking
ever-widening orbits. — MRB]
"What you run is hardly a 'small journal,' but one of the best literary
resources on the internet. I tell everyone about it, and brag about being on
it." — Rhina Espaillat, poet
"The HyperTexts [is a] beautiful internet poetry site." — Rhina
Espaillat, in a letter to Norman Kraeft
"You have an unerring eye for what's best in my verse." — T. S. Kerrigan
"Rhina Espaillat just told me about this site ... and it is wonderful! I am very
grateful to you and everyone else who works on the site for putting together
such a thorough representation of contemporary poetry and the work of the
masters. It's like an online Formalist, and that is a very high
compliment from me, as that was my favorite journal for many years. —
Jeff Holt, poet
"I'm so impressed with all the talent you've added to the website! Truly, it's
an oasis in the desert." — Jennifer Reeser, poet
"You are my first choice for on-line publication." — Carolyn Raphael, poet
" ... the finest contemporary poetry taproot in English today ..." — Anton N. Marco, aka Nick Marco and Tony Marco
"What an answer to a formalist poet's prayer!" — Norman Kraeft
"The Hypertexts has provided me with so much inspiration
and beauty already that I also wanted to thank you for your admirable and
far-reaching work." — Terese Coe
"Last night I visited the handsome HyperTexts once again. What an
attractive publication!" — Deborah Warren, poet
"Dear Michael Burch—What a pleasure to make connection with you. Never
read anything about the current situation with poetry which makes any more
sense." — Jack Butler, poet
"I continue to turn to your anthology for the delight of reading other
writers. Thanks for all the careful attention you have given it." —
Jan Schreiber, poet
"Been reading The HyperTexts again the last few days, and I gotta say,
you have an amazing site. I'm still combing the web for quality stuff for
Carnelian and I don't see much of anything that tops your people. Not even
Able Muse." — Allen Heinrich, poet and editor of
"The HyperTexts is a terrific site, one which more than any
other I've come across reflects my own tastes and sympathies."—
James Bobrick, poet
"The HyperTexts ... is, in my humble opinion, the Internet's absolute best
poetry-related website." —
Melanie Houle, poet
"I'm very impressed with the work and research you did on the [Nadia
Anjuman] article. The picture of her is wonderfully defiant." —
T. S. Kerrigan, poet"I continue to send people to your
The HyperTexts web site and periodically check it out myself. Having my poems there has been a
highlight of the past year for me." — George Held, poet
"... thanks for the great site, will visit it often ..." — Tom Ball, Global Country of World Peace
"A FANTASTIC SITE. I was very impressed with the layout and the content."
— Miriam Stanley, editor of
"Just wanted to say I love your beautiful website, The HyperTexts, and
wish I'd discovered it long ago. It gives me renewed hope for the world and
brought me out of a depressed state. Huge thanks for your fine and much-valued
efforts!" —Siham Karami
"Mutual friend Rhina Espaillat e-mailed me on Friday . . . I am going to explore
the Internet to find The HyperTexts, a poetry site about which Rhina
waxes ecstatic . . . and she doesn't 'ecstacize' easily!." — Norman
Kraeft, in a letter to THT editor Michael R. Burch
"Last couple of days, have been glancing at poets I hadn't previously read on
THT. Gotta say ... you've put together an extraordinarily high quality
site! ... I've yet to find one with THT's consistency of excellence." — Tony Marco, poet
"On The HyperTexts you can read William Blake or Wilfred Owen
alongside Richard Moore and Leo Yankevich, and build your own bridges from the
past to the present. There is always something new on the site, and the visitor
will always encounter thought-provoking, beautiful poetry. Well worth the visit.
— Mary Rae, poet and editor of Romantics Quarterly
"Like your choice for featured poet [Harvey Stanbrough]. How wonderful that
you keep turning up and promoting such exquisite quality, month after month! — Tony Marco, poet
"Mike, looks great! Thrilling I'd even go so far as to say. Other than my two
books this is the most satisfying transference from private to public page I've
experienced to date. Thanks so much." — R. Nemo Hill, poet
"Wonderful site you have. I learned about it thru Eratosphere and I have to say
I am much impressed with what I've been reading. Thank you for the obvious care
you take in selecting your poets and poetry." — Laura Heidy, poet
"I've just visited the site—after a long time away from the internet
altogether, because I've been up to the ears in projects, paperwork,
translations and houseguests!—and I want to tell you how lovely it is,
and how unfailingly interesting and instructive it remains. The addition of new
work by Yala [Korwin], and the use of the photograph to accompany one of
her poems, are great assets to the site and one more gift you've given the
reading public." — Rhina Espaillat, poet
"Rhina P. Espaillat ... told me about The HyperTexts a little while back,
but I did not have the opportunity to visit your website at any length until
today. Let me say that I am astounded by the depth and quality of what I find
there! It's an electronic poetry library second to none. I teach a poetry
writing workshop at the Writer's Voice of the West Side YMCA in Manhattan, and I
definitely will direct my students to your site in the future." — Lee
"Ethna Carbery —
what a wonderful lyric discovery! Never heard of her (maybe Yeats' presence as a
contemporary has overshadowed her) ... what I've read is terrific." — Tony
"I have just read the poems of
T. Merrill; this is an extraordinarily beautiful page. His poems make me
cry, some are so full of the pain of one's own silent feelings. His photographs
and art are stunning. I am so pleased to have read him here, so glad in the way
of all things wonderful that he found your site and you found him. I cannot say
enough, so instead I will say too little. As I have said before, this is truly a
beautiful web site, you should be very proud of it." — Mist (a mysterious
reader we're very pleased and blessed to have)
"... I like what you've been doing with
Mysterious Ways and
Grace Notes and the THT site altogether. (Fascinating Dickinson
meditations a great addition.) Terrific poets being added all the time —
I've certainly never come across a finer poetry e-zine/anthology. Keep up the
fine work!" — Tony Marco, poet
Thanksgiving page on your site (which just keeps getting better and better)
and was really touched by the integration of text and feeling and vision. Kudos
to you for that magnificent presentation." — Michael Bennett, poet
What a delightful and touching tribute to "The
Gipper." It's a shame more people can't be less political and recognize the
enormous gifts this man left us. —
Moore (Mike) Moran, poet
As usual, your piece on Thanksgiving inspired me and lifted my spirits ... I was
also deeply touched by the story of Staff Sgt. Olson and his buddies. How I wish
my dear cousin Tommy could have celebrated an Alive Day, but was gunned down by
a sniper in Viet Nam in 1968. Thank you for your wonderful website. —
Catherine Chandler, poet
was a great read, and I very much enjoyed your piece on [Ronald]
Reagan. You yourself deserve kudos for keeping up such a great and detailed
site — I always enjoy browsing and reading The HyperTexts." —
Tara Elliott, poet and co-editor of Triplopia, on-line at
"So nice of you to drop me a line and pass on the information [about the
addition of Alfred Noyes's 'The Highwayman' to THT's Masters page]. The world
needs more with your generous and caring spirit. The fact that you take the time
to put the poetry up for others to enjoy and your willingness to communicate on
points such as this speaks volumes about your values and character. You are a
gentleman sir!"— Noel Paton
"I paid a visit to The HyperTexts tonight and see that your excellent
work continues, adding artists to the growing list of contemporary poets.
Curious, I clicked on
Ronald Reagan. Sure 'nuff, the man was a poet, more of a versifier —
a graceful one, it turns out — and that counts too. I have mixed feelings
about R.R. I did pay attention to his passing, which was also the passing of a
certain optimism and genteel America in the 20th Century, the "American"
Century, that is now history. You have undoubtedly written one of the finest
tributes to the man and president. With luck, it will end up in his library! I
have one personal recollection. I used to work at the tip of Manhattan near the
helicopter pad where the President landed when he paid a visit to NYC. One day,
I happened to catch a glimpse of President Reagan waving from the window of his
limo as his motorcade headed uptown. Unaccountably, I waved back." —
Hudson Owen, poet
Thank you so much, Mike, I'm hono(u)red! I think The HyperTexts is a
marvellous creation — I can only guess at the amount of energy you must have, to
be able to put it together — and I'm delighted to be in it. — Robin
Helweg-Larsen, poet and editor
Truly one of the greatest resources in the world for lovers of poetry! — Robin
I'm glad that you reject as well as accept my poems—your assemblage is
prestigious; for the most part you pick my favorites and discard the so-so ones.
I appreciate your discrimination. — Robin Helweg-Larsen
Hi Mike, thank you for reaching out! I love your website and have used it to
look up poems before. — Blake Campbell, poet
Thank you! You are one of the most responsive editors I have ever had the
pleasure to work with. — Peggy Landsman, poet
"Mike, I just want to communicate to you how much I admire and respect the course
you have taken in promoting — especially to poetry readers and poets — the cause
of peace and justice. Your credentials are impeccable, and your championship of
the oppressed in the twin evil situations of the Holocaust and the Nakba is
truly inspirational. You are a chivalrous person and a good man! Regards, and a
salute." — Paul Stevens, poet and editor of The
Chimaera, Shit Creek Review and The Flea.