Tom Coder is a Swedish engineer and poet. His forte is Micro-poetry. He is the founder of www.poeter.sc the largest poetry website of Scandinavia. Being a poet himself, he is completely aware of the distractions created by advertisements, even though it is a financial tributary, and that’s why his poetry website www.poetfreak.com is free from ads. He started poetfreak.com in 2008 with a great dream: poetry without boundaries. ‘Read, comment and be read’, this is the informal motto of poetfreak.com. The latest venture from him is www.poetleaks.com, the first online poetry newspaper. Undoubtedly, Tom is a life dedicated to lovely poetry.
Premji: Tom, can you give us an introduction on the birth of a poet in you?
Tom Coder: Yes, I had worked as a photographer and journalist for many years before I went into web programming and Internet that woke my interest for the written word. When the web came I realized that it would be perfect for poetry, so I started to write myself and very soon I found that more wanted the same thing. So I’m a tech whit background in journalism, therefore my love to web-poetry.
Premji: Can you please share some personal details with us?
Tom Coder: I will soon be 40, with wife and two kids I am living in Sweden in an apartment. I have my day job at the local paper as front end developer and php architect. Love reading and spend most of my free time playing with the kids and working on various web projects.
Premji: Coding and poetry, how do you manage them simultaneously?
Tom Coder: To me the two things are very related and close, the best poetry is clean, readable and powerful, so are the best code, code can sure be beautiful and so can poetry.
Premji: What is the basic reason that you concentrate on Micro-Poetry?
Tom Coder: I love short poetry since it’s a wonderful thing to push the most into a few lines. There is nothing bad in writing longer poems or texts. Maybe this is a result of me living and working on newspapers all my life, I like headliner – then you have micro-poetry.
Premji: As a man with a strong technical background, why did you prefer poetry as a medium of expression?
Tom Coder: I guess this is because I do think that everyone can write and enjoy poetry, the format is simple and not demanding, we all can express ourselves and we all can enjoy.
Premji: Do you believe globalization could influence Global English poetry?
Tom Coder: Absolutely, I am a true believer that writing can move mountains. In the end the world is small and we all share the same feelings, so poetry can absolutely build bridges across countries. This is the reason why poetfreak.com doesn’t ask you to fill in the countries you live in – that is unimportant to poetry. Poetry doesn’t have any borders.
Premji: What was there in your mind when you started your first poetry website poeter.sc?
Tom Coder: At that time I went to school and had lots of time, I needed a project to work on, mainly to develop my own coding skills. I did never intend to create a large site but in the end it became Scandinavia’s largest meeting place for poetry, and still is.
Premji: Why did you start poetfreak.com?
Tom Coder: During the time of the first project I had two kids. I had no time and couldn’t handle in a good way the project, so I left. One year after, I found myself unhappy. I’m a person who needs to work on things I love and my day job just did not fill that function to me. I had so started a new one and this time in a language that could meet many more users. This is exciting times and I hope this deliver a great writing experience to the world.
Premji: What were the biggest challenges you faced during the first two years of poetfreak?
Tom Coder: I needed servers, and to have that I needed to bring in some money, so far I pay for everything myself but that is just not possible forever, I hope to create a solid economy so I can work on for many years. I personally don’t need any income from the project but I need it to pay for its costs.
Premji: It is interesting that not even a single advertisement is there in poetfreak-why?
Tom Coder: Ads ruin the great experience I try to build; you will never ever see an ad on the site, never. I’m not trying to become rich on this project. That is not the reason for me to work on poetry project.
Premji: What is the future of Global poetry in your perspective?
Tom Coder: I do think that the mobile will become an impotent thing in poetry, and I hope so. In the end words will be words, as it has been for thousands of years. Technology won’t change that. If text is written on stone or on a computer, it’s still the word that counts.
Premji: What are your future plans?
Tom Coder: Hope to deliver a few more projects I have been working on the past months.