Friday, September 10, 2010

ruiner is breaking up

Just returned (a little early) from the unofficial SPX pre-party over at Atomic Books. I was the awkward guy there by himself because people flake out whenever I invite them to anything, but it was cool to people-watch as some of the indie comics glitterati read their work, accompanied by Powerpoint slides of their comics. I don't remember who any of them were, sadly, but they were all good. SPX will be a fun time this year, although sadly I'm not going because a) I'm working all weekend, b) it costs money, and c) driving to/being in Upper Marlboro is the pits. So I think I'll skip it this year. Besides, Netflix just sent me something fun to watch.

But before I run off to watch that, I'd like to announce that I HAVE FEELINGS ABOUT POETRY. Specifically, that I don't care for the "disregard the reader" attitude currently in favor among poets these days. Frankly, not considering the reader is part of the reason why no one reads poetry any more - to paraphrase David Foster Wallace yet again, reading poetry feels like being a little kid with adults having a conversation over your head. Coming from a fiction background, that's inexcusable. Readers can be frustrating, of course, and shallow, and demanding, but they're also important (and not just in terms of sales, either). Poetry is a way to really converse with readers in a way that fiction - since it has characters and plot and such to navigate - often struggles with, and yet a lot of poets prefer academic navel-gazing, or passive-aggressively yelling at ex-lovers, that turns off everyone but other poets.

Granted, I'm new to poetry so what the fuck do I know, but I'd like the stuff I churn out this semester to be more than just a smart guy jerking off. I'd like reading it to be a rewarding experience for people. So while I don't have a methodology more complex than "consider the reader" going in, maybe that'll be enough.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

it's been a long time since somebody read to me

Working again, so this'll be a short post. My birthday was the 4th, and celebrations continued into the 5th, followed by a glorious amount of doing nothing on Labor Day. Tuesday night was my Perspectives in Design class, where Citylit founder Gregg Wilhelm gave a talk about the industry and his role as a publisher/editor. He's more optimistic than most about the future of the business, and the point he often came back to was that content is king. No matter how one interacts with literature - be it actual books, hardbacks, audiobooks, e-readers, telepathic projection, etc. - the format doesn't affect the quality. If the book sucks on the page, it'll still suck as an e-book or .pdf file. That's an important message to get across, because writers and designers are so afraid of tech advancements that they forget how useful their skills really are. Not to mention, as e-readers grow more sophisticated, things like varied typefaces, margins, and good illustrations will retain their spot in the marketplace. Hell, they might even revitalize alongside the new technology. Now, the question of whether anyone will be able to make a decent living at it is still unanswered, and publishing is still on shaky ground, so don't think I've completely given myself over to optimism. But it's nice to meet someone in the business who isn't a doomsaying sad sack.

Okay, enough slacking. I'll share my thoughts on modern poetry, and maybe even one of my terrible new poems, next time.