Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Random notes, starring Far Too Many Semicolons

Okay, so those of us who aren't at AWP -- we're gonna have a party without all those Vancouver-going spoilsports. Right? Right! Who brought the beer? PAR-TAY!


Sad news about Robert Creeley's death this morning. I am embarrassed to admit I do not know his work well, though I recognize him as an important poet and have enjoyed what I've read of his work. (I am shamefully underread!) My good friend Shana worked with him when she was an undergrad, and has always spoken highly of him.

Mortality's a bitch.


All the kind words about my last blog post have made me smile. I often feel horribly inarticulate when it comes to writing/talking about poetics, and I think the opportunity to think and write critically in that area -- and to enter into a critical dialogue -- is one of the things about an MFA program that would be super good for me. But I will say that in the absence of that, reading poet-blogs is a wonderful thing: blogs invite dialogue; the writing in them is not necessarily polished work or finished thought; I can get a sense of how people come to the ideas they write about; and the sense of ongoing dialogue, sort of a group movement in similar directions sometimes, is just a lot of fun. Sometimes it's "poems that get you laid" and sometimes it's "poetry & ambition" (hey, wait, there's a difference??) but I love how ideas will propagate themselves throughout the blogosphere.

I think this is a fairly new mode of scholarly communication -- other disciplines have always had a tradition of sharing "working papers," but my impression of writers/poeticists (is that a word?) is that although ideas are shared among small groups, or exchanged between two writers and perhaps forwarded to others, or shared a couple times a year at conferences, the kind of ongoing, daily, open-ended group conversation like we bloggers are having is something new. And I think it has the potential to change the field and how the writing happens, in some ways. It feels qualitatively different from the kind of conversation that happens on a listserv, perhaps because a blogger can post something for their own enjoyment without particularly expecting a response (which happens occasionally on a listserv but not, in my experience, often) -- it becomes sort of a mash-up of journaling and scholarly conversation.
(Perhaps we should start a movement to give out MFB degrees: Master of Fabulous Blogging. There really is a lot of terrific thoughtful energy going around the blog world, and it's got me fairly excited these days.)
Academic librarians are interested in this kind of thing, in how scholarly communication develops within and across disciplines, in how publishing happens. I'm particularly interested in how disciplines take shape, how they "decide" to take one direction or another. Informatics, for example, which is fairly new as a scholarly discipline; it draws from cognitive science, library and information science, computer science, sociology, psychology, semiotics, and perhaps other disciplines as well. The development of informatics departments within universities is a fairly new phenomenon. Who sat down and said "okay, a pinch of this and a dash of that and we'll have ourselves something we can create a whole department to study?" Who sat down and decided that queer studies could be a scholarly discipline and not just an activist movement? What's the relationship between activist movements and academic disciplines? What's the relationship (and I'm coming back to poetry now) between artistic endeavor and scholarly communication?

If I were to do a doctorate in library science (heaven forbid!), this is the sort of thing I'd study. Because it fascinates me. (And it has some pretty immediate, practical implications as well -- what should librarians do with "grey literature" like blogs? I mean, there's some seriously good stuff here and some not so useful stuff as well -- but some of it is knowledge that should absolutely be preserved. What is the librarian's responsibility towards this material?)

This sort of thing also, you know, gives me something else to think about in case all my actual poems really are crap. *grin*


Spring has finally, you know, sprung. Today it was 76 degrees, sunny, breezy, with a good chance of noisy thunderstorms tonight. The daffodils are blooming; there is the faintest brushstroke, light as breath, of green on the trees; and today I spotted a tiny bedraggled forsythia bush with tiny bedraggled bright yellow blossoms popping out on it. We've had a few warm springlike days already this year, but today was the first one where I could tell it was the kind of spring that brings summer along behind it. Although maybe that's because I booked a plane ticket for Provincetown today (yes, three months early, but the way gas prices are going I don't think it's going to get any cheaper) and so I have summer on the brain.

Summer on a college campus is lovely. Lots of twenty-two-year-olds wearing not very many clothes .

Oh, was that out loud?

1 comment:

Peter said...

Hi Anne:
An MFB: Master of Fabulous Blogging. I *love* the idea. I feel like I have gotten so much out of blogging and reading other's posts, thus far, and it's only been three months. Why not get a degree in it? Scholarly, and fun.