PROJECT GUTENBERG is an effort to make every written work not under copyright available to everyone with an Internet connection. Thousands of full-length and short works (novels, short stories, poetry) can be found here.
FULL BOOKS is another site where you can read or download complete works for free, many of them in fields other than literature, such as the social sciences, math and science.
LIBRIVOX is the site for you if you like to listen to books. Volunteers have created MP3 files of thousands of non-copyright works which are available for free download. Since most are not pros, the quality of the reading can be variable. Most of what I've listened to is quite good. And if you like to read aloud to others yourself, you can volunteer to make recordings to be posted at Librivox for other users.
AUDIOBOOK CORNER has some amazing free audiobook downloads of books you actually want to listen to. Enough said.
POETS.ORG is by the Academy of American Poets and has an extraordinary archive, with an emphasis on living poets, and frequently containing sound recordings of the poets reading their own works. A definitive site.
POETRY OUT LOUD is a marvelous site that was brought to my attention by a student. Not only does it have a superb selection, but you can hear a lot of the poems read. There are also video highlights of recent winners of the National Recitation Contest.
POETRY 180 is a project by the Library of Congress to provide a modern poem for every day of the school year. Hosted by former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins, you should find something in this site which is challenging, funny and COMPLETELY UNDERSTANDABLE.
FAVORITE POEM is another great project in which all types of Americans, old and young, rich and poor, famous and not are asked to read and discuss a particular poem which has special meaning to them. I like this site because none of the poems have been posted because they might be "good for you" or they are "famous and important" poems. These are poems (and many of them are famous) that actual, real, walking-around-trying-to-get-through-the-day people LOVE.
POETRY SLAM is the home of the art of competitive performance poetry. If you've ever seen Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam, you have an idea what it's like; except that a real slam has judges selected at random from the audience and they are TOUGH. This movement is proof positive that poetry is not for the faint of heart (or the dead). You can see a pretty good video about the National Poetry Slam here. Caution-- some of the language used in some of the poetry may be objectionable to some people.
THE MOTH is a site about storytelling in front of live audiences by professional and amateur writers. You may not want write the Great American Novel, and you might not be the poetic type, but nearly everyone knows some stories to tell. Check out the podcast on this site, too. (Also available through iTunes.) Caution-- some of the language used by some of the storytellers may be objectionable to some.
THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by William Strunk is a little list of 18 rules and 3-4 general notes which comprise just about everything you need to know about writing. There are very good updated versions of this book, especially those edited by the estimable E.B. White, but the precepts of the original have never been bettered. Besides, it's hard enough to master these. Remember Rule 13: OMIT NEEDLESS WORDS!
THE WRITER'S ALMANAC is a daily podcast about writers and writing by Garrison Keillor, novelist and broadcaster, probably most famous for the film A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, which was inspired by Keillor's radio show. It's a quiet an elegant five minutes, and if you can't download the podcast, you can read the text each day on the website. (Also found at the iTunes store.)
GRAMMAR GIRL: QUICK & DIRTY TIPS FOR BETTER WRITING is a podcast with a fairly self-explanatory title, although matters of style and usage are also addressed, all with good humor and wit by the creator, Mignon Fogarty. Again, the shows are under ten minutes long, and you can read a transcript on the site. (And you can find it at the iTunes store.)
AUTHORS ON TOUR LIVE! features podcasts by authors who are currently making the book tour circuit. Authors to be found in the archives include David Sedaris, Joyce Carol Oates, Jane Smiley and Barack Obama. (Also--surprise!--at iTunes.)
GRAMMAR BYTES has dozens of interactive games that help you correct common errors in grammar and usage, and most of the games will keep score for you and help you understand the correct answer.
GUIDE TO GRAMMAR AND WRITING has grammar quizzes, but a whole lot more. Excellent tips and guides for writing--it would take weeks, perhaps months to work through all the valuable material found here.
FREE RICE is a vocabulary-building site with something extra. For every correct answer, 20 grains of rice are donated through the UN World Food Program to end world hunger. It costs you nothing but a little time, and you can help feed a hungry child.
FLASH FICTION ONLINE is a great place to read and read about extremely short short stories (under 1,000 words). This form has been around awhile, but with the advent of online reading, the demand for a story that fits on a single screen has increased. Check it out--it's a great way to get your feet wet in the world of fiction writing.
THE AMERICAN THEATER WING is a leading educational resource for young people planning to make a career in theater, and seeking information and advice from established professionals. It is responsible for the DOWNSTAGE CENTER podcasts and the WORKING IN THE THEATER telecasts, which can be watched online or downloaded to iTunes.
GUIDE TO INTERNET RESOURCES IN THEATRE AND PERFORMING ARTS is a fairly exhaustive page of theater-oriented links. Contrary to the title, this has a lot of general interest links as well as academically-oriented resources.
STAGE DIRECTIONS is a leading magazine on stage production, with an emphasis on technical and operational matters. Although it is primarily a print publication, the entire previous month's edition is available on-line.
THE PRODUCER'S PERSPECTIVE is the most clear-headed, practical and realistic view of American commerical theater today that I have found anywhere on the internet. Ken Davenport (producer of Altar Boyz and many others), clearly can produce, but also he can think and he can write.
PETER FILICHIA is the greatest enthusiast the theater has today. He loves theater and he expresses it so wonderfully, that it is impossible to read his column and not want to run out right away and buy a ticket to something. My Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are not complete until I have read his column.
BROADWAY 101 is an entertaining, concise and accurate history of the American commercial theater from 1900 - 1950.
THE INTERNET BROADWAY DATABASE is intended to do for American commercial theater what the Internet Movie Database does for film. It's user-created content, with the pluses and minuses that entails. Still, it's a good place to start your research.
STAGEWORK is a brilliant website by the National Theater of Great Britain, with dozens of videos about the process of creating a stage production, with an emphasis on the classics (since that is the National's mission). The videos are not from YouTube, so you can watch them in school or other places where YouTube is blocked. An incredible resource tapping the greatest directors and actors in classical theater.
BROADWAY STARS is the best aggregator of news about Broadway and some regional theater activity, and is also host to THIS WEEK ON BROADWAY a weekly podcast roundtable on theater.
THE INTERNET MOVIE DATABASE is an invaluable wiki used by persons in the film industry, fans and scholars. Is the single largest and most accurate source of information about films, especially about the personnel who worked on them, and most names are hyperlinked, so you can look at a person's lifetime credits. It also includes news and lists information about films not yet released, usually from industry sources. The on-site reviews can be written by anyone, so may not be of great value, but you can navigate to a number of professionally-written reviews, especially on recent films. UPDATE: You can now watch entire films and television programs here for free, although with commercials and using a Flash player. Still, if it's something you wanted to catch up with, this could be valuable.
ALL MOVIE has nearly as much information as IMDB, with similar links between personnel and their filmographies, but it is better on film history (although it does not cover future productions), and it doesn't have the dumb reviews written by any idiot with a computer, instead, the site authors provide balanced, intelligent assessments of the films.
FILMSITE has a lot of pointless best-of lists, but it also has fine information on film history, whether by film, by genre or by decade. You can spend a lot of time wandering around here; but the site does have a LOT of pop-ups.
AINT IT COOL NEWS is the best source for information about new and in-production films, particularly action and science fiction franchises, with a special emphasis on comic-book based films and other elements of unabashed fanboydom. A thorough fan site.
LEONARD MALTIN was a film historian and buff long before he was associated with ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT. (By the way, he began his first film magazine while still in high school). His front page blog has interesting stories of festivals and other events, and his "Picks Page" is a very selective look at current releases, whether in theaters, DVDs or in related meda, such as books and recordings. For the serious film nut.
OBSERVATIONS on film art and Film Art is the best blog I've seen anywhere on the general subject of film, especially film theory. It's by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, authors of Film Art, the most widely-used textbook in first-year Film Studies courses. I don't use the textbook myself, because I find it's organization confusing (if I recommend anything, it's Understanding Movies by Louis D. Gianetti), but Bordwell and Thompson are brilliant and fascinating analysts, especially of the concealed substructure film.
THE AMERICAN WIDESCREEN MUSEUM is a superb site on film technology, including explanations of color (especially Technicolor) photography, widescreen photography, sound recording and playback, and even an explanation of anamorphic widescreen encoding for wide format television. The perfect site for the kind of person who wants to know the real difference between Cinemascope and VistaVision, with lots of great screen grabs and semi-snarky text.
HOLLYWOOD WIRETAP is an "aggregator"; that is, it is a site consisting of links to current industry news. This is the information the people in the business are looking at every morning, especially what's found in Daily Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and (to a lesser extent), LA Weekly.
NIKKI FINKE'S DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD DAILY is the real insider's source. Nikki Finke is a columnist for LA Weekly who has a lot of industry sources and very often has the facts before the conventional news sources do. Warning--this is very inside baseball, with a lot of stories about agencies, unions and executive shuffles at the studios.
THE BUSINESS, a radio program from KCRW in Santa Monica is a similarly "inside the industry" program. New programs are posted as a podcast each Monday. (Also available through iTunes.)
THE TREATMENT, another radio show from KCRW, focuses more on the creative aspects of film. Hosted by critic Elvis Mitchell, the guests are usually directors, writers, producers and sometimes performers discussing aspects of their most recent work. New shows are posted as podcasts each Wednesday. (Also available through iTunes.)