Sunday, October 14, 2007

Do any of you write primarily for the web?

Do any of you write primarily for the web?

This approximates a query of Professor Smith to our section. The answer was, I think, confused. I’ve been returning to the question though. I write, not primarily for the web, but for an audience because to have an audience means to be less alone and I think the web, overall, is a tool that makes us less alone in the world.

In “A Hypermedia Archive of Dickinson’s Creative Work, Part II: Musings on The Screen and The Book,” Smith writes, “She [ED] emphatically declared that our standard medium of literary and intellectual exchange was not the field in which she cultivated poetic productions; in other words, our writing technology, print, was not hers (p. 19),” and later, “contemplating destabilization as an important part of Dickinson’s artistic project.” I’m very drawn to this about Dickinson and I find it so liberating to read her in a different way from the hymnal verse which was, for me, in the words of Thomas Sayers Ellis,

All their hollow haloed causes
        All their tone-deaf tercets
All their stanzas look alike
        All their tables of contents
All their Poet Laureates
        All their Ku Klux classics
All their Supreme Court justices
        Except one, except one
Exceptional one. Exceptional or not,
        One is not enough.

Encountering her as not the rhyming isolated maiden, but a whimsical and freakish woman engaging with a dear friend has been realizing that her stanzas do not look alike. She is engaged in destabilizing language - and I really like that. Even though the destabilization of language is not a primary project of the tradition of either the narrative or lyric poet, I feel the camaraderie of the destabilization with the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets.

This brings me, of course, to Hejinian, who was exciting and eye-opening to read. I especially want to talk about the “Who is Speaking?” essay and Hejinian’s assertion, “Invention is central to the private as well as public life of the writer.”

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