LIBR 200: Blog-Writer Information Community

Information Community: Self Published Blog Writers & Poets

This week we are choosing the groups we will be delving into for our large assignment in LIBR 200. In a definition compiled by Fisher and Durance in Encyclopedia of community: From the village to the virtual world, Information Communities are characterized by their use of information and technology to bridge gaps in communities.

I am interested in looking into the Information Community of writers (poets and fiction specifically) who make their work available for free on blogging sites like WordPress (like my own) and Blogger.

Information Communities are:

collaborative groups which immerse themselves in technology to share content, break boundaries, congregate around a need and facilitate connection to a larger community of people participating in the information they care about. Content is linked and made relevant through hypertext and shared widely via opt-in subscriptions.

According to Fisher and Durance (2003) these groups have not been studied specifically because the data is new and the social aspect of technology now is just getting to the point where we can easily see the connectivity between groups, especially those that are geographically challenged. In their introduction they name the internet maybe “an information community’s only communication medium” siting chats and mailing lists as a means to connect with others of a shared interest. Today the chat rooms are comments and the mailing lists are email subscriptions, but the blog-writer community thrives with technology as its only connector.

I have not met many of you and yet we are connected by a shared interest in writing (in my case poetry) and the connectivity is our mini websites (blogs) which keep us updated on the broader picture (tagged posts) that apply to our needs. We are part of a living breathing network of writers who look to technology to broaden our scope of the world.

I know without this website I would still be filling notebooks and sharing a few lines at a time. My work may not be anthology-worthy yet but it exists as part of a larger conversation (a literary conversation with centuries of content in the making just now being digitizes and shared among interested groups) and therefore what we all share is valuable and worthy of existing in the ether.

I am very excited to look into this group (of which I am a contributing member!) and find the webbing between all of us!

Keep Writing!

–ECW

(or for LIBR 200, Emilee Wirshing)

Read On:

Fisher, K., & Durrance, J. (2003). Information communities. In K. Christensen, & D. Levinson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of community: From the village to the virtual world. (pp. 658-661). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Advertisements

Poetry & Joy

Last night

My fiance and I stayed up past midnight with our flashlights and read the first five sections of

Walt Whitman’s Song of Self.

It felt like camping; like a secret.

I can remember loving poetry all my life. I remember loving the intricate lace of language. The taste and tecture of words. But this was the first time I shared it with someone that way.

The phrases popped in my mouth, on my tongue, in the way they were meant to…

I am certain now that poetry is meant to be shared in love, lamented in loss, raised up and out of our throats in heightened states so that we may see the light in it: the spaces between each and every vowel waiting to be wrenched open.

Share some Poetry with those you love!

Keep Writing

–ECW

Theory 101: Why Poetry

I get asked all the time why poetry.

Like it was a choice, or I had some conscious investment in the matter.
The fact is, poetry chose me. It was the way in which I was able to express myself best when common phrases were fleeting. I have found poetry to be a hyperbole of two-tongued thoughts.
If I am pressed to make an argument for poetry it is this:
Poetry presents a certain duality meant to foster opportunities for connection and personal growth in a way other on-the-nose writing styles fail to offer.
With poetry we can both shelter and reveal.
Poetry is body language of the soul, bending and coiling around a truth that is both simple and profound.

Poetry is a love letter to the parts of us that are extinguished and not yet formed.

Poetry is a timely absolute, a human extract, distilled and reduced to its lowest common denominator, which all can digest but few can conquer.
Poetry is a flash of joy – caned and labeled – to be taken at the first sign of melancholy.

Poetry is the shortest distance between two people or two episodes in time.

Poetry is nonsense.
Poetry is conflict without happenstance.

Poetry is.

Keep Writing
ECW

Theory 101: Anthologies Vs Internet

Poets!

 

I had been meaning to post 10,000 things for National Poetry Month (which is now, by the way) but I got a big stinky computer virus and fear I may need to do a factory reset on my machine (yikes!) and therefore have posted nothing! Those are my excuses, accept them as you will.

 

Nevertheless (yes, it’s one word) I am inclined to kick off this month of peppered verse with a short but fun little blurb from my long dusty thesis.

 

I wrote a thesis which was completed in 2012. It was an dazzling process, and I recommend everyone considering doing an undergrad project of that size to dive in! I was focused on mainly poetry and the changing concepts of digital/visual works as the internet became more user friendly. And of course it has, but poetry has yet to explode the way I had hoped it would.

 

I wrote that words and meaning would still be the major components of communication, but that the work we did would grow another dimension: a third visual, tactile, sonic, scented dimension that would enhance the reader experience. Like Smell-O-Vision for Shakespeare. Or something like that.

 

But more on those theories later this month (unless my laptop melts).

 

Today I want to talk a little on a concept I penned called Anthology Theory, and the teetering edge we are sitting on when it comes to poetry and poetry education. As many of us who took English Classes well know, the anthology is a book that collects the best and brightest works from a certain era or in a certain subject. It could be a collection of short stories or the works of the Victorian Era, either way, it encompasses many authors and several writing styles at the very least.

 

The anthology is use in classes that cover large areas of time, like a survey class, that would rather you buy one book instead of a dozen. They also come with cute like intros and images to help orient students in that timeframe. They are, in theory, a great tool. However, no tool is without its limitations.

 

Anthologies are a closed system. They exist within the bounds of their editors and the tone of their publisher. As a tangible entity, they cannot be changed unless a new edition is posted.

 

They are also guarded by gatekeepers: the editors and influencers who decided–based on space or preference– that they would or would not include certain works in the collection. Pound and Elliot are never cut from the Post Modernists, but there might be limited space, and we could lose some H.D. or Sitwell to make room for newer pieces.

 

As the cannon changes –yes, the cannon changes– we are left with only the most potent works, the pieces that defined the writing generation.

These are sometimes the most provocative and fresh works, but not always the best or most relatable works.

To keep with the Post Modernists, the Wasteland is a heck of a poem, but few enjoy it. It defined poetry that era, but is hard to read and a little terrible if you get through it.

Other, more delightful poems are pushed out for the real pungent stuff and as a result few people who learn poetry from an anthology actually end up liking poetry.

In my project I blended poetic/literary concepts with marketing and communication terms. Attempting to make the issues with learning from a closed system like an anthology clearer, I used this metaphor to illustrate the point.

 

You hear a knock on the door (push communication) so you open it to see who is there. It’s the raven, come to interrupt your evening. You ask him what he wants (pull communication) but his reply is always the same: Nevermore! (Anthology Theory).

 

raven

 

You can communicate with a book just as you do with people, unfortunately the book can only tell you a finite, permanent set of responses with no change as the world around the book changes. This makes books an excellent gage of the time period they were created: a perfect historical capsule. However, it fixes them in a state of decay that limits their usability. Especially when it comes to anthologies, which are meant to represent a time period in its essence but often end up representing our impression of a time period, which is a flawed biased perception.

 

The solution, of course, is the internet, which can house everything from the popular to the obscure, granting access and knowledge to those who seek it. Push communication always will exist, that’s the advertisements and pesky banners. But Pull communication and the power of the researcher to find any and everything–free of gatekeepers–is the gift of the internet.

This is especially important for poetry, as the internet gives space to the poems that are most pivotal and poems which are simply lovely without displacing one to covet another.

Finally, with the internet’s infinite space and open structure, poetry can be a iron fist and a bending writs.

 

Happy National Poetry Month
More Theory to Come!

To Pause or Not to Pause; That is the Line Break

green water

Hello Poets,

As my universe goes whirling into a soupy maelstrom of grad school, I have found a shallow moment to ponder my favorite quirk of poetry: the line break. So humble and yet a true demonstration of the power poetry can foster. Many a man, and woman, has faught to death over a line break… or at least, I assume so, I mean, it’s a pretty touchy subject.

I remember most vividly my first experiences with creative line breaking. I was in my first poetry class at JMU, a narrow wooded room in the crooked cooridor of Keezel Hall, with one long table in the center. It felt like a meeting, or a large family dinner just before the entrees arived. The professor, a woman whom I deeply admire, passed out a paragraph. We were to cut it into little pieces, shave away the poem from that block of knotted words.

I cut them carefully, making all the sentences end softly on their toes. The words were goose feathers on a unbroken surface. I intended to make no ripples. But I was wrong. The paragraph was a poem, strong and aching–about a woman who serves fish on the funeral night of her husband. The fish, plunging rough to lower depths, was a lasting reminder of the power of linebreaks. I wish I remember the name of the poem; it meant so much to me, hearing the real line. Waiting at the end of each phrase with my toes curled.

Her tension was beautiful. I was nearly ashamed of how simply I treated the phrases. How desperately I wanted them to sit neatly on the nose. I was (still am) so young. The words, with their billowing potential, float easily on breezes I foster with foolish optimism. I have no gut for broken lines. No weighty pause.

As I began to pay more attention I noticed the forming of two camps. Those who stopped at the end of the line and those who read to the punctuation. Some readers were subtle, waiting only a moment before carrying on the enjambment. A suggestion, perhaps, a Mona Lisa smile. Others, like me, made a point of waiting, letting the line circle it’s own feet before begining another. A pause for thought, or respect.

I was reminded of the line again, some years later from the narrow room with the dinner table, where we feasted on poetry and were satiated and insatiable. While discussing poems with my Editor, I found that the word choices, the slanted grammar, was not a particular bother to me. I realized we were looking at two different poems: one with enjambing lines and one with neat little lines like arm hairs–straight up.

I think that’s why I never fuss over the capitalized first line of poems (oh Microsoft Word). So many of my colegues leer at a poem with capitals at the far left margin, standing straight up as if reading itself aloud. Sometimes I don’t notice. I’m a micro-ist. Reading the poem as a poem, and the line as a smaller poem. Gears on gears on gear, spinning.

Enjambment has become fashionable these days; everyone wants to test out their strength at the wrench. Will it hurt if I increase the tenson. How tight can I wind these bolts. I am guilty of this myself, I’m afraid. But over time I find the poem makes itself comfortable in its own break-age. The mark of a true artist lies in how gracefully one breaks the surface.

Hope that wasn’t too theoretical…
Keep writing and feel free to share your thoughts on line breaks in the comments. I would love to know how you read poetry!

–ECW