LyrikLine presents the texts of contemporary poems in many languages, with the texts often spoken by the author. There is a biography and a list of each author's publications; however, these pages are in German only. Users may select to poetry and accompanying information in English, German, or French. The authors include German, American, French, Hungarian, Italian, Rhaeto-romanic, Swedish, Greek, Dutch, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Icelandic, Slovenian, Spanish, Wayuunaiki, Lithuanian, Ukrainian.
The learning goal of this site is to provide authentic target language material. LyrikLine's introduction states that poems should be read out loud and listened to in order to reveal the innate musical quality of the work. The poem is immediately recognizable as language fashioned into a distinctive structure, as a concert of words, regardless of the language in which it is written in or where it is read in the world.
The site's author lists the target student population as college, graduate school, and professional. Certain selections from this site could also be used in a secondary school classroom to supplement aural and reading activities in a variety of ways. In most instances, certain knowledge of the language of the author is necessary depending on the instructional focus.
The purpose of this site is lyrically clear. The authors launched the site as a "work-in-progress" to marry the "oldest literary art form" with the newest form of communication: the Internet. Visitors have the opportunity to hear contemporary poetry read, often by the poet. The text of the work is presented as well for the viewer to read, with or without the audio. The poets on are selected on the basis of suggestions made by the site's sponsors, and approved by a reviewer. Since the site was launched and conceived by a German group, the majority of the poets are German and written in German. However, there is a selection of poets and poetry in nearly 20 other languages. As it is a "work in progress", we look forward to an increase in the number of works in other languages.
Visitors can access the material by author, by language, or edition (type of poetry--for example, the edition categories are: poetry for children, visual poetry, the audible legacy, contemporary poetry, and laureates). Selecting a poet will bring a frame with the poet's image, a list of links to poems to listen and/or read, a button for biographical information (in German only), and a button for a list of the poet's publications. If the author accepts e-mail, a link to an e-mail window is on the poet's page.
There is very good use of media for content. Poetry should be read and listened to. Utilizing the audio power of the Internet, this can happen for students.
The language is in each author's language, although there may be some in translation. Very often the authors read their work in the language in which it was written. Viewers can read the work as they listen to the sounds,
intonation, and cadences of the spoken phrases.
The Links button provides a list of poetry related sites. The majority of the descriptions about the links are in German. There are also a few in English. The Poetry Festival Link and the International Poetry Festival of Medellin may be ofinterest to students and teachers alike. Also included are a contact e-mail page and a search engine.
We are told that the site is available in English, German, or French. In actuality, only the headlines, navigation, and the welcome are in each of the languages. The poets' biographies are in German. It is recommended that these be available in each of the chosen languages. We also recommend a continuation of this valuable site to continue to expand its list of poets in as many languages as possible.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
LyrikLine may be a good resource for teachers to use to introduce learners to the sounds and artistic use of the written word by contemporary poets. Poetry is often a difficult art form to understand. Hearing poems read by their authors, may help learners to experience the poetry as the author intended the work to be appreciated. The combination of the oral and written representations may help in understanding and appreciating the art form.
The site may be useful as a resource in a language classroom. It could be a valuable tool in an English class, an ESL class, or in a variety of foreign language classrooms (there are poems in nearly 20 languages presently on the site). It is an engaging and creative way to help poetry come alive and become more meaningful.
This site could easily be integrated into a language or culture activity, as an independent study or with a class as a whole. It will depend on the imagination of the instructor and the focus of the learning activity. Using the site,
students could explore one language or many languages in their written forms and hear them spoken. If the poems were used in a classroom, the text and the audio readings of the works could be projected and broadcast to the class. Or, if assigned as an independent study, individual students could be given an assignment to research and explore the life and works of a particular poet.
The site could be more useful to students if the biographical information for each poet were in the language chosen by the visitor from the home page (German, English, French). Also, a few of the navigation bars are not up to date (the navigation bar of authors listed by language is incomplete).
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The quality of the audio is excellent. The screen is in two sections, with the poetry on the right. The left side is the home of the site. The navigation tools within the site are very easy to use and simple. The color is rather bland, but that is understandable as an author would want the work to speak for itself and not be overshadowed by distractions and clutter. The pictures that accompany the mini-biographies of the authors are a feature of excellence. The flexibility of the site provides the user with the option of having the author read the poetry while the user reads its on screen.
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