History of Deep Underground Poetry
I created the Deep Underground Poetry E-zine in March 1999 when I was seventeen. I had an interest in poetry and a level of teen angst that I have since come to miss. There weren’t many poetry websites around at the time, few if any that were interactive, and Deep Underground was the only “alternative” to mainstream poetry online.
HOW THE WEBSITE USED TO LOOK BACK IN THE DAY
The E-zine had sections including “Shocking Pink Mainstream”, “Narcosis”, “Uproar” and “The Basement”, each showcasing poetry on a different subject matter or style. The idea was for people to submit their work for consideration. I wasn’t that keen on this idea as I was getting a shit load of emails through every day and was thinking “who am I to say what’s good and what isn’t?”. By July 1999 I had built the interactive side of the website (adapting open source Perl scripts) and the E-zine aspect of things took a backseat.
Interactive wise there was the “Readers Page” (that’s a “guestbook” to anyone who remembers them) and the “Open Mike” where people could submit their own poems, either as a “Poetry Portfolio” or in categories. These were; Erotica, Drugs, Angst, Sentimental, Gothic and Observational. I have adopted similar sections for the relaunch but replaced “Sentimental” with “Love” and “Upbeat”, replaced “Gothic” with “Dark” and also added a few extra categories. If you have a category suggestion, or any comments on this then please get on the suggestions forum and let me know.
The old Deep Underground also had a number of promotional tools which I created, namely the “Fucked Up Poetry Webring” (a “webring” was a way of linking randomly to a group of websites of a similar type) and a poetry banner exchange. The website attracted a good amount of hits in the short time it existed and had over 500 people regularly commenting on and submitting poetry, and many more reading it (over 12k unique visitors). Over eight times as many people use the net today, so Deep Underground is going to be bigger, better and a lot more interactive then it was before.
In the early days of the internet it was common for people to have a personal homepage, mostly talking about their hobbies and their cat called Fluffy and competing to see how fast they could fill their page up with crappy animated gifs (geocities anyone?). Not many people were smart enough to buy a real domain name, including me, plus I didn't have any proper cash flow to pay for hosting. So the original Deep Underground poetry website was on a free host (swinternet.co.uk) which I chose because they didn’t display adverts on your website. I may as well have shoot myself in the foot because it could have been this very reason that it became one of the casualties of the early days of the internet (dot com crash if you will). It vanished suddenly one day, taking Deep Underground with it. I don’t recall exactly how long the website existed for, but it was certainly less than 18 months, and I only have about 10 months worth of backed up user content. Despite this, it has taken me fucking ages to include all that content on the new website, any more and my sanity would have eluded me for sure.
"supporting think tank junkies who rhyme hard and dirty”
Deep Underground Webmaster (err... me) 31st July 1999
The idea to relaunch Deep Underground came about when I randomly discovered a back up of the old website content on a floppy disk. After hunting around to find someone who still had a floppy drive on their computer (thanks mum) I discovered that there was actually a lot of poetry on there. I felt guilty for not relaunching the website when it first vanished, but I was just too pissed off at the prospect of starting all over again. I was also leaving home for the first time and had important stuff like getting wasted and partying to concentrate on. Ten years later and I want to get back into a bit of web stuff and coding and thought it would be a good place to start. Especially since there still doesn’t appear to be anything similar around. I’ve enjoyed reading the old content, it has inspired me to start writing again and I’m really looking forward to seeing what new visitors can come up with. So here we go, this is it, enjoy….
Kind regards and strange thoughts,
Deep Underground Webmistress