Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Of Paper and Paypal

Over at Mindbook, T.R. Hummer is being witty about Ascent magazine going digital -- "killing paper." WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH PAPER? Did they blog on vellum -- a laborious process, but you know there had to be some bored monks who availed themselves of the odd piece of sheepskin to vent -- about how terrible was this new thing, the printing press? How it spelled the END OF CIVILIZATION? (Sorry for all the shouting.)

I mean, really, we all have printers. Have you never printed out an online poem you like to carry around and reread? Paper will never die, but if perfectbound magazines sitting dusty on a few library and bookstore shelves give way to lots of people clicking a paypal to pay a dime for a downloadable chapbook or zine, would that be such a kick in the pants to poetry? I think we're seeing a proliferation of poetry, thanks to the Internet. Look how iTunes is ruining the music business. Hello? Is anyone taking notes? More people are listening to music than ever. Let the payment mechanisms sort themselves out.

Oh, and blogging is ruining journalism. The Kindle will ruin books. Please just embed my digital media under my fingernails now and give me the virtual visor. I'm ready for the new-new technology and would carry my entire library on a flash drive if I possibly could.

On Peony Moon, Michelle McGrane is running a terrific series on books published in 2009, asking poets to list their three favorites. A great composite reading list, available for browsing, just in time for gift-giving season. Nice. Very nice.