Dispatches ‘n Dashes.

October 23, 2008 § 1 Comment

Spent the morning reading Olena Kalytiak Davis’s shattered sonnets love cards and other off and back handed importunities, which I have trouble even remembering the title of, & maybe it was last night’s Emily Dickinson extravaganza, but the gal’s got a shitload of Dickinson shout-outs in this little volume.

So, I spent some time reading a week-long blog she banged out from her home in Anchorage, & checking to see whether or not anyone’s done any Google-able writing about Ms. Davis & Ms. Dickinson, & thus far, I haven’t turned anything up.

I feel like I’ve discovered something, something that could easily turn into a paper topic for my Dickinson seminar, & it occurred to me, reading Davis’s blog, how, like Dickinson’s letters, blogging itself is somehow outside of genre.  Embedded poems, streams-of-consciousness, a form that allows for (encourages?  demands?) disorganization & openness, or at least, manipulates plays with revision.  See what I just did?  Emily would’ve done it — did it — because she didn’t have an eraser, not because she wanted to leave something metatextual extra for the reader — or did she have something else altogether in mind?

Does blogging allow us to use the digital page like a field, as Susan Howe suggested Dickinson does?  Are our blog entries really more like drawings than they are like pieces of writing?  When I first learned basic HTML — left & right justification, scrolling marquees, colors, sub- & super-text! — back in the ’00s, when Livejournal was the sweetest thing since sliced bread & there was no other, easier way to implement those tricks, I remember thinking so.  I began to literally structure the content of my entries around the way I wanted them to appear on the page.  I wanted to play with my new tags.  & who’s to say Dickinson wasn’t 150 years ahead of the game?

What do you folks think?

(This paper topic is Copyright LEE 2008, punks!)

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§ One Response to Dispatches ‘n Dashes.

  • Jeremy says:

    Your question asks that we look at blogging in a way that is enticingly optimistic. I know Id certainly prefer to look at it through your lens than mine: that blogging is really more like a free-for-all no rules orgy, with a slice of the desecration of the English language as garnish.

    I think the problem is that many people arent looking at blogging and Twitter as an exercise in brevity or playful form but rather as a reinvention, a replacement, of what we have. Playing with words and structure is one thing but replacing whole forms (real prose, no typos, etc) with the blogging form is possibly the direction we are currently going in, a stream of consciousness blather that is sometimes tidy but usually butchers the point rather than makes it. God, Id love to be a middle school teacher right now so I could give out fat Fs for “brb” or whatever these idiots are putting in their papers.

    Hope I made my point there. Otherwise, that would be embarrasing.

    But your blog I love! (Truly) J

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