A portfolio is a way of getting a select group of people to comment on your poems before you expose the to the wider world. It is intended to help you develop your writing.
Any user with poet privileges can create and run a portfolio. A portfolio operates the same as any published poem except that only a select few people can view it and comment on it. These people have to be invited by the poet creating the portfolio.
Only the poet creating the portfolio is expected to post original content, presumably a poem for discussion, to the portfolio; the invited participants are expected to respond with comments. There is nothing to stop anyone involved from posting original content, but it might rather confuse what the portfolio is trying to achieve. Those operating the portfolio can make their own decisions about this.
These instructions might look long and complicated. The process is not at all complicated but we have taken the time to explain in detail. This is the short form:
Create a portfolio folder
Create a portfolio submission (your poem)
Invite poets to comment
That's it! You and the invitees then have a private area in which to discuss your poem. No-one else will be able to see in.
Creating a Portfolio
Before creating a portfolio it will be wise to consider who you wish to invite to comment on your poem. You will need to know their user name, which is generally their real name. You might want to ask them first whether they would like to participate.
A poet begins a portfolio from the 'Create content' navigation menu. (The left-hand menu). There are two sub-menu items mentioning portfolios, 'Portfolio Folder' and 'Portfolio Submission'.
'Portfolio Folder' creates the outer wrapper that contains the portfolio proper. Think of it as the manilla folder you would keep the portfolio entries in if your were using a paper-based portfolio.
'Portfolio Submission' creates the poem to be discussed.
Only the person creating the portfolio needs to use these items. Everyone else goes directly to the portfolio from the topmost 'Portfolio' navigation menu, not to be confused with the 'Create content':'Portfolio' menu.
When you start a portfolio by clicking 'Create content':'Portfolio' you are presented with a screen very similar to creating a poem. You are required to give a title and description to the portfolio. The title might typically be the title of the poem, but you may choose something else because the poem is entered later. It would be well to give a clue as to the poem contained, however, because if someone is participating in several portfolios then they will need to be able to find their way around a list of portfolios.
You can also enter a 'Mission statement'. This is where you can tell people what you hope to achieve from the portfolio or give background to the poem.
Below this there are a few options that change the way the portfolio operates. There are three checkboxes:
List in portfolios directory Leave this unchecked.
Private group You want to keep this private, so leave this checked.
Registration form Leave this unchecked.
Membership requests needs to be set to 'Invite only'.
You can ignore 'Notifications'. It doesn't matter whether this is checked or not at this stage. No-one is subscribed to the portfolio yet.
Everything else below here can be left as it is. You can click 'Preview' to check you work', then 'Save' when you are happy with it. As the author of the portfolio you can come back and change things later.
Adding your poem
From the navigation menu select 'Create content':'Portfolio Submission'. Things are a little simpler here. You have somewhere to put the title of your poem and somewhere to put the poem. Below that is an item 'Groups', which really means'Portfolios'. Select the name of the portfolio you created before. Do NOT select 'Public'. This is a private affair!
You can ignore everything else and click 'Preview' and 'Save' as before.
You now have a portfolio. Next you need to invite people to comment.
Inviting people to your portfolio
Select 'Portfolios' from the navigation menu. You will see a page with four menu items across the top and a list (perhaps only one long at this stage) of your portfolios.
The list of portfolios gives six pieces of information about your portfolio. It will look like this:
If you have a picture of yourself in your profile you will see it here. As you add members to your portfolio they will be shown here as well.
To add new people, select 'Add members'. You will be taken to a page where you can add a list of members in a box marked 'List of users'. You must use commas to separate each name because user names can have spaces in them. Even a new line will be treated as a space, so putting each name on its own line will not work. When you have finished your list, click the button.
Poetry Aloud this month (March 2013) seemed to bring the renewal expected of Spring, although Spring itself didn't seem to be taking any notice. It was bitterly cold outside but in the warmth inside we had new (to us) poets, one of whom (Hil Jennings) had travelled from across the county. Read his excellent contributions in the archive.
You will now notice Share/Save buttons all over the place. These enable you to share our poems and posts on your favoured blogging site, such as Twitter, or save them to your web-based bookmark service.
You will also notice a button to the right of each page to enable you to follow us on Twitter more easily. This, of course, is only of use to those of you using Twitter. And Twitterers will understand the use of the 'Tweet this' button.
The September poems are now available in the Archive at http://poetryaloud.org.uk/archive/201009. This month produced a bumper crop, as Autumn ought, of poems of generally high quality. Some very high indeed.
We were honoured to have Ivor Murrell, who is the Suffolk Poetry Society Treasurer apart from being a fine poet, travel the width of the county to be with us for the first time. We hope it won't be the last. Ivor submitted his three poems to the site and we have put a link to his own website on the Links page: it is http://versifier.co.uk/.