Distribution Automatique

Friday, November 14

I got into a conversation on a [poetics chat
room] that will go
unnamed (I am not supposed to reproduce material
from this chat room, but I don't see why I can't
publish my own contribution here
without mentioning any names.) The
querent is telling me that blogs are more virtual than
other media, "speedy" in some
negative way ( I resisted calling this my usual
"get a horse" argument, and you will see why)
that blogs are like "frames of a film"-an image I like,
but here it is "bad, bad , bad" and
that the poetry chat group is
much more
democratic and communal.)


...I do agree that [poetics
chat rooms] call
for more direct dialog on particular topics,
and tend to be more
interactive and confrontational.
Our culture associates
confrontation with democracy,
and particularly a very masculine
form of confrontation which
tends to be argumentative
and frequently in an unpleasantly
tiresome, repetitive, rambling,
highly competitive and quarrelsome
way. This is called debate. Perhaps
you’ve never noticed how few
women post to the [poetic
chat room] on a regular basis.
This is because women- writers, anyway,
appear to not enjoy as much and
as frequently as men the confrontational
and competitive attitudes that have
in the past supplied the flavor of much
of this listserv. Present company happily

Ask yourself the question why there
are so many women bloggers
and why very few women post
regularly to [the poetics
chat room].
I have not found the [room], in the
long range, to be communal in
the way that you put it, not only
because of the absence of women,
but because of the absence of any
sense of process, ongoing
presence or project or ongoing
continuity. While I agree that some
blogs lack depth, they almost
always contain a sense of process
and ongoingness and ongoing
presence of a writer and his or her
ongoing availability. You have to
read them for a long time to
notice how much substantial
dialogue does take place. Sometimes
there are archives immediately
available on the blogger's site
if you wish to read or reread the
blogger's writing in the past.
You have to hang around long
enough and listen closely enough
to have a feel for the "personas"
and their relationships. Hey,
kind of like in "real" life. Whatever
the hell that is these days in
Bush & Company's

J K, who had more
interest in the [poetics chat room]
than anybody I am aware of, and
was the editor of "chatroom@" (X Books),
the only collection of writing from this [room]
I know about, once suggested that the [room]
attempt to organize some ongoing projects.
But I don’t think [the room] will ever do this
because its strength is its spontaneity.
The [poetics chat room]
is like a group of professors and students
leaving a classroom and getting into a
discussion on the way to getting some
coffee or a drink. Sometimes everybody
heads for the bar, and stays up late and
jawbones and occasionally there is a nice,
friendly brawl. This is fine, but to
valorize its democratic potential is
pushing it.

After 9/11 I found the [pcr] to be a lifesaver.
B W and I started a discussion there,
but we realized we couldn’t continue it .
The discussion on the list had quickly
gone onto other things. So he and I
went onto other things and places.
It was subsequently published in C #9,
by the way.

Don’t get me wrong. I respect and
enjoy the[ pcr].
It has its virtues.
But to compare it unfavorably to
blogging is like calling a rowboat more
useful than a car or an airplane. Yes,
if you want to row across a lake the
rowboat is by far the best means
of transportation. And during
the trip across the lake the people
in the boat have a nice chat. Then they
head elsewhere. This is fine. But
not if you want to travel more
widely and for longer-
and more encompassing- journeys.