This site is designed to make it easy to find, read, and appreciate modern alliterative verse -- the kind of poetry we see in such medieval clasics as Beowulf or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. On this site I have collected alliterative verse by a wide range of modern poets -- provided a field guide for poets who want to write their own alliterative poems -- and provided all kinds of information and resources for people who want to study the form.
That's enough information to get started, but if you want more details about the history of this site, the updates that I made to it recently (in the Fall of 2023), and how the climate for reading and writing alliterative verse has changed in the last twenty years, read on!
I posted the first version of this site more than twenty years ago. (I started the site in 1999, though the first Wayback Machine entry for it is dated Nov. 30, 2001). When I created the site, I conceived it as a mixture of three Internet genres: content index, blog, and zine, offering my take on alliterative verse, a place to publish modern alliterative poetry, and a curated set of links that would give people to access to resources that would otherwise be hidden too far down in the search engine results for anyone to find.
In the years since then, a lot has changed. People mostly stopped compiling context indexes, social media exploded, multimedia became a lot more important, and as for me, life happened. This is the first major update I've done to this in more than a decade. But I think the need for a site like this is greater than ever. Search engines now serve advertisers more than they serve any of us, and the information we generate is more fragmented and transitory and harder to sort through. It's harder than ever to find truly useful resources.
So that's one of my reasons to updating and upgrading the site: to make it easier for people to find good information on modern English alliterative verse.
How Things Have Changed
Alliterative poetry is also a lot easier to find than it was in 2001. Dennis Wise's new book, Speculative Poetry and the Modern Alliterative Revival: A Critical Anthology, documents three intersecting ways alliterative poetry has spread: through SF fandom, through groups like the Society for Creative Anachronism, and through broader diffusion of knowledge about medieval English literature (there are, for example, a lot more high-quality alliterative translations of works like Beowulf or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight than there used to be.)
And that's even before we take into account the impact of the Lord of the Rings movies and the publication of Tolkien's alliterative verse through the efforts of his son, Christopher. There are now a lot more practicing poets who have been exposed to good models of alliterative poetry than there used to be, and a lot more fans who have tried their hand at it themselves.
I don't think anybody's noticed how far and how deeply these influences have spread through our culture. One of my main goals in this new, updated version of Forgotten Ground Regained is to make this new growth visible. When I started working on this website twenty years ago, I felt like Niggle in Tolkien's story, "A Leaf by Niggle". Now that leaf has turned into a healthy sapling, and soon the tree may push its boughs up to spread under the sun.