Monday, February 23, 2009

e-litearture

Here's an article by Stephanie Strickland.

I'm interested in what the rest of you think about it.

I'm really exhausted and thus unable to go into great detail about my feelings, but it seems to me that her idea of e-literature is precisely not the e-literature that I have in mind when I say that the Internet is changing literature.

Seems to me that in her urge to find a kind of medium purity of e-literature (even as she claims to be for "intermedia"), she is not at the forefront of literature (as Poetry Magazine sees fit to call her), but on the reactionary side, backfront, rearguard etc.

Echoing the Katherine Hayles book I criticized a while back, she wants to locate the electronic in the "code" of these programs. This to me seems quaintly Modernist (language as "code") and quaintly Academic in view of the proliferation of amazing linkages and communities that are forming on the Internet (international, intermedia etc).

The real change brought by the Internet is precisely in the new social formations brought on by these e-chapbooks and e-zines etc (what she wants to clean out of "e-literature").

The proliferation of these sites and communities has totally altered literature so that the Poetry Foundation can only pretend that there is a unified "forefront" (the very concept is an antithetical).

Tao Lin with his blog seems far more radical than Stephanie Strickland, not because of his programming skills but because of the rhizomatic community formations in cyberspace he has helped generate, his conception of the blog as a kind of source of a grandiose conceptual art work (on going, complete with interns and internet hoaxes), and perhaps most importantly in the way he does not use code but instead plays around with the "interfaces" of the Internet and the new media world.

The same is true of Flarf's internet existence I suppose. Etc.

31 Comments:

Blogger The Primes said...

Interesting.

I read somewhere, I think it was on Josh Corey's most recent blog, that she has a rule that states, "if it can be printed, it's not e-poetry"...

But there seems to be some contradictions. "Gnoetry" at Beard of Bees Press is one. Code and programming definitely are important in generating the work along with a human collaborator. And yet the works are presented as pdf chapbooks. So what is Gnoetry according to Strickland's perspective?

We can go back years and observe that MacLow also generated some work with computer programs.

And then there is Jason Nelson's work "game, game and game again", which I'm a huge fan of. I suggest anybody to google it...

There seems to be too much regard for labels and camps in her article. Being labelled a pioneer is sexy.

But honestly, I get tired of labels from the makers of any art.

As a reader/participant, what I value is a poetry, literature, game, artwork or event that pushes me to infer something I hadn't inferred before.

Poetry is the effect of a product , no matter what the product is.


The more room for producer-guided inference, the better.

I wanted to explore this on a social network titled data-tantrum (data-tantrum.ning.com), but have had no luck.

It's too bad.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Angela G. said...

The terms "e-literature," "hypertext," "interactive fiction," are all antiquated and quaint -- very 1999ish.

One of Strickland's own pieces "The Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot" is (c) 1999. It would be like people in the late 1800s calling the first typewritten poems "typewriter poems."

Strickland contradicts herself in her own definition of what "e-literature" is and isn't. Her Electronic Literature Organization site (http://tinyurl.com/c6vpku), is where you can find most of the pieces she mentions, as well as Kenneth Goldsmith's 2002 Soliloquy, "a web version of a book edition." According to her Poetry Foundation site definition, Goldsmith's piece wouldn't be considered "e-literature" since it's a mere reproduction of a printed piece.

As a side note, I notice Strickland doesn't mention Ted Warnell, one of the foremost code poets, as well as Mez (Mary Anne Breeze), who developed her own language "mezangelle," that plays with both computer code and the phonetics of English.

This might have been a timely article for 1999 or 2000, but not for 2009.

6:51 PM  
Blogger Max said...

As far as the "building" issue is concerned, i think what she's saying is that literal "code" mediates everything that we see and do in "e-literature." Even though we may post things to the internet, for example, via an interface, that interface makes "code" of it that will be readable via web browsers. Similarly, if we wished to create "e-lit" taking place in 3D environments, we would have to "code" those 3D environments via high-level programming languages. The presentation must be "built," as it were, within the confines of any number of standardized code sets.

6:57 PM  
Blogger Henry Gould said...

Johannes, I hate to be such a pest, but you really don't get it. What you & your friends are discussing is not poetry, but a sub-genre of video/computer games. That's fine; I like games myself. But poetry is something else. Poetry is not radical/experimental/groovy in the ways that you & your pals think you can get under your control. OK? It's not. Poetry is an entirely different art form from that which you are imagining.

Poetry is so simple, physical, & personal, that it is NOT TRANSFERRABLE TO ELECTRONIC MEDIA. OK? Just accept it. Poetry is not your bag. Poetry is really old.

7:09 PM  
OpenID dorholtt said...

Johannes,

I think this article is a reactionary conundrum. To begin with, there is no foundation, as far as definition, by which e-literature clearly arises from in Strickland's essay.

The line that immediately struck me as both odd and emblematic of an undefined arena for discussion was "If it could possibly be printed out, it isn’t e-lit." Everything on the internet can essentially be printed out--things can be copied, pasted, etc., so this format for proceeding is at once false and forceful.

My previous understanding of e-literature/poetry was the item such as the e-chapbook that one can click to move a page. The sorts of projects and pieces of art that Strickland brings up throughout the essay are all forms of interactive media.

To suggest that these be broken down even more devalues them, promoting that we partake in the compartmentalization of art as to then, already on the basis of being naive toward its certain elements,gain a stance that can reference something comfortably out of not understanding, or even worse not accepting it as a particle of the mass that is writing.

It is irksome to me that this essay is prefaced by "A poet in the forefront of the field explores what is—and is not—electronic literature." I am not doubting Strickland's place in contemporary poetry as valid and admirable, but more so stating that this preface sweeps across the space we all need to exist in, as part of, in order to not make, as happens here, an approach seem parch validity and strip cogency. If e-poetry is "doing ," not "saying" things, then all actions seem nullified. All poetry is saying things and the separation of these two actions is pungent with impossible-to-cradle binaries.

What I am consistently reminded of in this argument is Derrida's very own striking and arduous task at hand in "Paper Machine," in which he argues that mechanicity is already one of language's integrabilities and that paper, the product, can be concealed by machines. Yet instead of conceal, Strickland employs the particularities of 'code,' which seem to be linked only to the internet, and thus incapable of being grasped by a writer.

I think that upon all angles her essay protrudes from its own contradictory, unavoidably so, elements and ends up confusing me more than anything. I have the same problem with this essay that I also did when I heard the new definition and claim over the "hybrid." At once, pinning these terms into a sold out camp makes them mislead younger writers, falsely championing words, writers, terms, and spaces that don't belong to any one group.

If I had read this essay two years ago I most likely would have rehashed it to someone as an inevitable truth and an important finding, yet it seems now to me to be a lengthening of the already deeply plagued and endless amount of strategic arrangements of diverse poetics as separate entities. And we don't need more of that.

Cheers, Flynn

7:42 PM  
Blogger Max said...

Angela -

You're right. I think Strickland's piece does reek of an oldster's take on technology, and one that hasn't really expanded much since the late 90s.

She seems to envision this future in which e-literature prevails, having swallowed up its non-digital counterpart entirely. But the projects she mentions seem primarily to be more like art installations than anything else. The little info blurb about her notes that "her latest collaborative hypermedia work, slippingglimpse, was introduced in Paris and will be shown in Barcelona this spring."

I'm not entirely convinced that what she's talking about differs much from "mixed media" art, that it even needs to fall under the "literature" umbrella in the first place.

5:53 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Stephanie's been working in these fields a long time, at one point Michael Joyce was stealing her thunder. She does what she does, is present, attentive, and off to the side apparently on purpose. I kind of think of her as a Harry Partch figure, nerdy and determined to keep on being independent from other kinds of work. As with the works of other people who conflate absolute independence with originality, I read her works once and don't usually want to go back -- but wasn't that a condition you were valorizing a few months ago?

Tao Lin's ok, and you're correct to see his relation to the internet as a polar opposite to Stephanie's, but ultimately I feel excluded from both of these kinds of work. Reading, I feel too much subject to the control of the author, not free enough to imagine, to visualize what they're talking about for myself.

That is a boring evasive way of saying that sometimes I find them both boring. I want to mean that in the kindest Cagean way possible, where what is boring is ultimately interesting etc. I'm aware, though, that what it really means is that I'm unable to imagine myself into the authors' personae. My loss.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Rauan Klassnik said...

i was tired and generally fuzzy and didn't to be honest try very hard-- but, all in all, I didn't understand much of this article at all......

so i went to the bathroom and pondered the poems embedded in the tile flooring.....

7:01 AM  
Blogger Max said...

I think there's something to be said for wanting to dig in to the structural aspects of "e-literature," as Strickland does. She is correct when she notes that programming mediates everything, and that building the code is a significant part of creating "e-lit." This is the undeniable structural component of the medium, and it's one that writers of "e-lit" will have to familiarize themselves with, unless they plan on collaborating with programmers for every project they undertake.

I'm not sure I favor the viewpoint that messing around with prescribed interfaces (blogs, etc) is more interesting than learning and messing around with the nuts and bolts of the code. Certainly, the former can be interesting, but then again, it is severely limited and conditioned by what the internet provides (typically for free) at any given point in time.

To take this backward step, as Johannes seems to have, and just dismiss the structural aspect of the digital medium, is kind of foolish, because it constitutes the dismissal of a fact, not a theory, or an aesthetic, or whatever else. The structure of digital material is a fact which conditions the very processes and outputs--and therefore the possibilities--of these types of texts. If limited to prescribed, accessible interfaces, innovation in this field (assuming one wishes to take part in it at all) will only go at the pace and in the direction that the creators of those interfaces dictate.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...

Max,

I'm not dismissing it. I think probably a lot of interesting work can be done that way. But I am opposed to her attempts to create a kind of "pure" "e-literature" (using largely 90s academic terminology and paradigms). I am also saying that for me the most interesting result of the Internet are the changes in subculture formations.

Also, Max, if you are totally incapable of writing a post without low-blow insulting me, don't write any posts.

Clearly what you are interested in is not to have exchanges but to get into personal altercations. I'm not interested in that kind of jostling (I just spent about 30 posts trying to deal with your reactionary, cliche snarks in the entry on Joyelle below, I don't have the energy to do it again).

Johannes

7:30 AM  
Blogger Max said...

Johannes -

It seemed like you were dismissing it, but now that you've given more insight, I actually agree with what you're saying. No need to read anything more into my post than what is there.

It's actually kind of interesting how she doesn't really seem to speak about the social aspect of "e-lit" at all.

I'm most interested in how this all intersects with games, and whether "e-lit" attempts to avoid this association or embrace it. Strickland seems to advocate for the former, insisting that e-lit texts are "instruments," not games (though they may contain "gamelike elements"). But I think that, as soon as a text becomes interactive--open and responsive to the intentions, desires, sensibilities of the "reader"--it necessarily becomes a game, whether its rules and goals are designed by the author or not.

8:20 AM  
Blogger françois said...

Henry Gould might have a point in stating this is no longer literature, but this is not quite video games either. With the rise of new technologies, we are moving into a space different from literature, but where pieces can have their roots into literature, but not quite. There have been pieces of conceptual art done that move away from the classical divisions of the arts, like Dan Graham's pieces with two-way mirrors, which are not quite sculpture, nor architecture. Or let's think about Lawrence Weiner's word pieces. And they are not even entering into any notion of digital space. As such, Strickland's piece and Tao Lin's blog are a bit quaint.

8:57 AM  
Blogger françois said...

That being said, I would also like to point at the work of Darren Wershler-Henry.

8:59 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...

There seems to be two modes of criticizing Strickland (and I may sample a bit of both): 1) that her ideas about technology are already very old-seeming (which is what both Angela and Francois says) 2)that the idea of a purified technology (which is my primary claim).

Following #2 I would say that my primary interest is not in the coding and what-have-you, but rather the social formations created by the new technology. Though clearly I am no un-interested in it.

According to this idea, there is no cutting edge of technological innovation, but a proliferation (of writings, technologies etc). The whole idea of linear history is wrecked. There can no longer be any "Greatness" as Gregory Orr complained in the NY Times on Sunday because Greatness demands a much more centralized literary culture.

I'm talking about all the little subcultures and communities that are forming (some very high-tech, some not so high-tech).

So in a sense, I disagree with Francois's assumptions, which are more in line with Strickland's. I am opposed for the way she privileges a certain kind of technology, while Francois just doesn't' think she's technologically cutting edge *enough*.

Maybe I'm that much maligned.. american hybrid.

9:08 AM  
Blogger françois said...

Well, I wouldn't say I am accusing Stephanie Strickland of "not being technologically cutting edge enough" (hence my use of Dan Graham and Lawrence Weiner as examples, artists who are far from being such), but of being stuck in this quaint notion of a literature.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...

Yes, her wording and paradigms are the same we used and read about in my "technology and the word" undergraduate seminar back in 1995.

The idea of the game not is interesting not just for technology-centered lit but as a way to interpret any literature.

Thus Henry might in fact be more wrong than he even imagined.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

This article was my first experience with 'e-literature' being approached with something at least resembling an academic perspective and it left me pretty cold.

Many of these maxims seem either mind-numbingly obvious in their assertions or grossly off the mark, at least in my opinion.

I can really speak to this notion that many have already picked up on, and that is that not only her terminology but her very ideas, at least from a technological standpoint, are almost laughably outdated or unintelligent. Coming from a heavy technological background these kinds of things make me cringe.

Even the terms 'e-literature' or 'e-poetry' feel old, like she arrived late to a party, and even though most everyone interesting to talk to has passed out hours ago, she's determined to make the event lively again, but she's dancing alone.

I just really love claims such as 'this new medium (mediums?) is appropriate...' I mean, really? What does that really say? What isn't appropriate? Is she meaning to say they are MORE appropriate than, say, a traditional book or chapbook?

I also have a more base-level problem with these works that are being done and labeled as poetry or literature. I suppose I'm old fashioned about it, but to me there's a line somewhere that shouldn't be crossed -- a certain level of interaction that is required by the reader past reading the work (reading as it might normally be thought of, not the way in which she describes) and a certain kind of subjectivity and 'never experienced the same way twice' that jives me the wrong way. Perhaps this is an adjustment I need to make to get with the times, I really don't know.

I mean, it's a given in a way that once a reader reads a work by an author it, in some way, becomes 'the reader's' as well, they have a kind of appreciative, interpretive ownership of that work, but the way in which a 'reader' might 'own' one of these heavily interactive work rubs me the wrong way -- depending on how much their interaction affected what that work produced (another work? and end result to the total work? I don't even know how to talk about it) is it their work? The author's? I can't get my mind properly around it.

I think ultimately my feeling is that this isn't something monumental in the way she would like to think that it is -- I think it was you Johannes that said something about it being sexy to be labeled a pioneer, and I think you nailed it. I think she's giddy (I don't mean to sound so demeaning about it, I just don't know how else to say it) at the idea that she's leading the charge here, gets to coin all these adorable little terms and phrases, but I really think the party has moved on.

Her grasp of the technology she seems to be championing is rudimentary and I'm a little embarrassed, actually, in the way one might be by such a thing. . .

10:02 AM  
Blogger françois said...

Here is what Darren had to say (via his Twitter feed, copied with permission):

@francoisluong: I figure the truth is somewhere inbetween Strickland and Goransson - he's right that the new social formations matter

... and Strickland's canon of works is the same stuff that Hayles, Kac, Swiss and Morris champion, much of it crappy

I don't buy the auteurism at the heart of Strickland's argument. Few good poets are good programmers & vice versa

... which means good epoetry will necessarily be created by assemblages, returning again to the importance of the social.

10:32 AM  
Blogger ash smith said...

It’s pretty hard for me to understand what she means by “code” anyway. At points she talks about it as a kind of religion, but *a lot* of e-lit, like BKS’s _Dream life of Letters_ or my settings for Richard Kostelanetz’s _Infinite Aphorisms_ in LRL3 are made without any more knowledge of code than it takes to use blogger. Especially towards the end of the essay where she starts referring to “keyframes” and “tweening” – these are terms straight out of Adobe Flash ™ used to describe what happens in the *interface* of the program, not the code.

10:38 AM  
Blogger christopher said...

Hope you don't mind if I jump in. I've been reading here two weeks or so, having come across "Manifesto of the Disabled Text" after googling "prosthetic texts" [it wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but interesting nonetheless].

I think I probably agree with Johannes' basic criticism of the Strickland piece. "If it could possibly be printed out, it isn’t e-lit" doesn't seem like a useful distinction to make, especially since most of what she identifies as particular and novel about "e-lit" characterizes a lot of non-e-lit also. Like, "it solicits the reader's participation" and "it rarely reads the same way twice." Robbe-Grillet's "La Maison de Rendez-vous" changes every time a read it. And "attaining a gestalt or snapshot-like perception" isn't exactly a new reading skill. Reading Ulysses or Ezra Pound calls for that.

Speaking of gestalt perception and literature...I am interested, I suppose, in the way that e-lit or networked lit might act out a kind of dynamic between narrative and system (this probably isn't the best way to say what I mean), sort of in the way that the modern novel, according to Joseph Frank, reproduces spatial form in a temporal medium. So I thought that Strickland's third point about "this type of new attention" elicited by the internet is something to think about. I know you've read Hayles, and what she calls "distributed cognition" is sort of what I'm referring to. Again, it's not really new! and therefore important! in the way Strickland pretends, but the difference between system and narrative (unlike Strickland's difference between what is and isn't e-lit) seems to me to be not only useful and interesting distinction to make, but also one that electronically mediated literature might be uniquely suited to articulate.

Chris

10:38 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...

Chris,

Could you write a little more about this idea of "distributed cognition" and system vs narrative? It was some time since I read Hayles and it's all gone from my brain. I will post it as an entry on the blog.

An earlier post got me back to reading Atrocity Exhibition and I was thinking today how that "narrative" is more like a system, more so than an "exhibition". And I'm also in the midst of translating Aase Berg's "Dark Matter" which is a metastacisis (sp?) of an old sci-fi epic, it breaks down the narrative into these very dynamic vignettes - permutating, metastacizing etc. Also, this book originally involved various entry-points on the Net using strange anatomical texts.

So maybe I should go back to Hayles.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...

Ash Smith,

That's a very interesting note, especially since I obviously am suspicious of the over-privileging of some kind of origin code over interfaces of various kinds.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Just a quick addendum to make a final point from my perspective that I think is more important than getting into this article author's grasp of technology and so forth, because I think those claims are accurate but not necessarily overly important or productive--


Agreeing, I believe with Johannes, my biggest qualm as these kinds of works, while much easier to produce and distribute via modern technology...well I'm not sold in a way that computers are -required- for them, even ones she linked to.

I do think modern technology is required to get these kinds works to any kind of an audience, though, which I think really validates the point that the true 'value' of integrating technology with literature of any kind is that it does allow for a new kind of community and collaboration. Whether one is distributing an e-chap or one of these intermedial pieces, I think, is the-forest-for-the-trees, etc. etc.

Reading this article and viewing the pieces, I still take a bit of issue with being comfortable with labeling, calling these things literature (which seems silly) or poetry (less silly but it's too easy). What I mean by easy -- I don't know, I think there is immense brilliance in, say, a perfectly balanced and blueprinted engine in a Ferrari Enzo -- a kind of mechanical grace and craft that would mean someone calling it 'a work of engineering poetry' would seem perhaps a bit melodramatic but not altogether inaccurate.

What I'm saying is describing some of these pieces as literature or poetry seems like a stretch to me, by which I mean in no way to take away an iota of value from them; art is art, or isn't, based on, well, whatever. I'm not huge on labeling and this article just seems a bit too eager.

11:25 AM  
Blogger christopher said...

Johannes,

"Distributed cognition" is something that I got from Hayles' "How We Became Posthuman" (1999...I know, I know, how "quaint" :) ). I'm away from my library at the moment, but I don't think she necessarily means anything more complicated than when I have google calendar send me a text message reminding me of the address of my next appointment or having firefox search a web-page for a sequence of letters, except that she wants us to embody those technologies rather than think of them as other or outside. Maybe it's also similar to when we're talking on a cell-phone (or just to a passenger) while driving: our attention is finite and so we automate some processes in order to attend to other processes. Simply stated, I guess this amounts to a theory of a posthuman subject that is sort of a shifty hybrid of automation and deliberation (So, not just an information pattern nor the rational, sovereign subject of the Enlightenment). Like I said in my previous comment, this isn't exactly groundbreaking or anything. It's not like we were pure automatons until we were human, at which point we became pure deliberation, until the Internet came along and we became all admixturey and posthuman.

A lot of the time, if you ask me, Hayles is just substituting one network of metaphors for another. One man's cave is another man's matrix. But one thing she wrote that I found interesting was that between narrative and system, two distinct ways of presenting information, "narrative is a more embodied form of discourse." Now, I hadn't really heard of Flarf before I came to your site, so I'm still not exactly sure what to make of it, but it seems to me that the google experiments at least stage a sort of confrontation between deliberative narration and automatic system. Together, I guess, poets and google become both more-and-less human as they are both embodied in the poem. I don't know. I fully expect to be challenged on this.

What you say about "The Atrocity Exhibition" sounds pretty interesting. There was a lot I didn't like about Joseph Frank's "Spatial Form in the Modern Novel," but the basic idea of works of art that resist their medium, like poems that try to be paintings and paintings that try to be stories, stuck with me. So a narrative that tries to be an exhibition sounds right up my alley.

And finally, I'll look forward to the new translation. I had also never read Aase Berg before visiting here, but I really liked the Cave of the Guinea Pigs sequence.

Chris

1:14 PM  
Blogger csperez said...

hey johannes, great to see you at AWP! and i know i dont usually comment, but hee hee oh well.

def strickland is defining strict boundaries for e-lit (thus purifying excess). the whole if it can be printed thing. make it pure, make it unique and special. not entirely wrong, but why not be more open yes?

what i find most interesting in her article is when she actually talks about what e-lit can do:

"Among the many possibilities for spatial use of language onscreen are the effects of rotation, pan, zoom, scaling, translation, split screen, flip, pitch, yaw, roll, overlays, speed control, fly-through, highlighting, generativity, micromovement, stratification of content, and navigational choice. Work in actual 3-D gallery or public space opens yet other opportunities.
Among screen options for language time are the ability to pace text’s appearance; the ability to change appearance based on whether it is a first or later reading; and the creation of time lapses, time scans, sequences, replays, freezes, resumption of text, altered speed, interpolation-extension replacements in “real” time (stretch-text), and stroboscopic flashing."

of course, printed lit can do all these too--but not to the same degree or DIMENSION, and perhaps only metaphorically. but certainly this is not what you have in mind.

speaking of what you have in mind, i question the conflation of 'e-' with 'internet'. e-lit isnt internet-lit necessarily. it's only electronic necessarily. (flarf is not e-lit, since it can be printed ;)

so is electronicity changing lit? yes, of course. is it changing it in interesting ways? sometimes. i really think the gaming/narrative stuff is pretty cool. tho i find it more true that lit is changing electronicity in interesting ways.

so yes the internet is creating interesting social formations, but that has really not much to do with e-lit. e-chaps & e-zines are the most boring FORMS of e-lit (if we can expand strickland's boundary for a moment--and ignore the content for a moment).

tao lin is def innovative in his use of the blog. blog--as electronic interface is more complex than an e-chap for sure--but is only potentially e-lit. sometimes blog is not e-lit at all! like my blog. or yours. unless we are so open to call THIS literature. fine if you are. susan schultz' dementia blog was more e-lit--but a simple, simple kind in terms of interface (not in terms of content...and hey, it was printed into a book! so maybe not e-lit.)

anyhoo, xo,
c

4:11 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

Craig,

I totally disagree with just about everything you say.

Certainly Strickland tries to disassociate the "high" "e-literature" from the rabble of the Internet; she wants to distinguish a kind of modernist idea of art that is in the code, innovation in the technology, from the social movements of the Internet (represented by e-chapbooks etc).

I oppose making this kind of medium-purity argument. I don't think the only way - or even the most interesting way - that electronics has changed literature is through her kind of e-literature. This to me seems like an idea of technological innovation based on a historical reading of the innovations of Modernism.

I think the most important way it has changed - and continues to change literature - and will change literature - is through the social formations it has caused and allowed. These subcultures like Tao's crowd or any number of hundreds of other crowds. This is the reason there cannot be "greatness" as Orr bemoans in the NY Times: because literary culture is so decentered.

I absolutely disagree with you that e-chapbooks are boring. That's just an unbelievable statement as far as I'm concerned. E-zines and e-chapbooks have totally reinvigorated my sense of literature. It has allowed for a totally different discussion about literature. It has allowed for a totally different idea of what American Literature is. And "American" is important because the Internet moves literature across boundaries much quicker than ever.

But I also think it's an illusion to create this kind of pure e-literature. It's just not true, as some comments on this blog attest to. It is theoretically reductive to think in those terms.

So, to summarize, I totally disagree with you.

7:11 PM  
Blogger csperez said...

indeed! keeps things interesting ;)

dig barbara's blog (bjanepr.wordpress.com) for a note on how 'greatness' can still exist thru a redef of 'greatness'.

social formations & literature seem like quite dif phenoms to me, to sum.

excited to hear that e-chaps have been invigorating. their existence (esp the duration e-chaps) have excited me too in their content, but their form (as in PDF file) is rather dull to me. no dancing words, e.g.! and doesnt necessarily change concepts of 'literature', but does speeeeed up the convo, as you mention.

pure e-lit IS bad. but dif kinds of e-lit produce dif effects--some are just more exciting (to me & you & et al) than others

thanks for disagreeing :)
c

9:56 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

Craig,

Yes, I am definitely not opposed to using technology in interesting ways.

Johannes

6:21 AM  
Blogger Keith N B said...

i've been loosely following your blog johannes, and hope it's alright to comment. this post in particular struck me for a couple reasons.

firstly, strickland's ideas feel, although stimulating in certain regards, awfully superficial regarding the aspects she chooses to focus on. i'm more aligned with your way of thinking, in terms of not focusing on the technology itself, but the social and cognitive effects that the technology has on us, i.e. networking, a decentralized system of interacting and codefining nodes.

you might be interested in this article: http://www.intelligentagent.com/archive/Vol3_No1_polisci_smith.html
wherein smith argues for the existence of a network age after postmodernism. i've been drawing from his essay, and other sources, to articulate what i believe might be a trend in literature, termed network subrealism (netsub), which basically argues that each network is its own subreality.

as such, i'm also intrigued by christopher's comments re: system vs narrative (since netsub narratives often exhibit system qualities), and would be curious to read a post on that, or find out more myself.

hearing orr's thoughts on greatness and yours regarding social formations, and even strickland's world-building, echoes much of the decentralizing and network-reconstruction theme in smith's essay.

your blog is rife with molecular thought-perturbations. thanks.

7:30 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

I'm not a fan of e-chaps. In fact I don't like reading anything on a computer screen--it hurts the eyes, and it's frustrating not being able to touch it like a book. I get antsy, and my face muscles ache. I don't know what to do with my hands. It unfairly affects my experience of the poetry. I'm likely to enjoy it more if I print it out, but I don't have a printer, so that's a problem.

The only reason I read blogs on the computer is because that's where they are.

12:36 PM  
Blogger mint said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Kaylee

http://grillsblog.com

5:57 AM  

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