Monday, January 31, 2005

That is the Question

To blog or not to blog: does it limber up the creative psyche or simply exhaust it? Is it a tool of endless self-promotion or a dialogue in an increasing community?

I've learned as much about the poetic process in reading a week of blogs as from reading an astute book on craft. Often I'm learning from poets I know, which keeps it interesting.

I also have learned a few more things about communications. I'm in the business, and have seen a lot of printed materials, so learning something new from online writing is surprising. But a blog is a unique format, if only visually. It's not a web page, not a diary page, not a flyer or mailer or print ad. Links within the text branch off into new topics, and back or not. It's a new literary animal. How often does that happen?

Is it journalism? Many blog entries best the columns in my local paper for appeal and interest. Many blogs slip into the bog of mindless navel-gazing. Perhaps even those of accomplished bloggers who have colds, are under stress or preoccupied with something personal and fail to remember the rest of us. The audience.

It's a stroll through an improv, dancing to inner music, an untitled poem, a handheld video of a riot in progress. It's the day's taste, a pond's mirror disrupted by a face. O beautiful for spacious lines, it's free, and that's why.

2 comments:

  1. I've been thinking alot about this as well. I was meandering around San Fran and wandered into Black Oak books on Broadway. I found a small thin missive of 4 pages in length. It was a speech James Dickey gave at the Library of Congress entitled Spinning the Crystal Ball, 1967. He anticipates this world we are in now and gives some heft to what it might mean for poetry. Do check it out if you get a chance.

    :-)

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  2. David,

    Thanks for stopping by and for suggesting this essay by Dickey. I've ordered a copy. Dickey is a favorite teacher of a friend of mine. I was having lunch yesterday with another poet friend. Our usual commiseration on the topic of "why poetry can't matter in America." My friend hit on a thought that amazed me: because the secret society of poetry that we poets have made doesn't want to be popular. We like the cachet of artistic obscurity.

    More truth to that notion than I feel comfortable with.

    Rachel

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