Tabitha Dial, a fellow blogger and poet, has asked me some intriguing questions and requested that I post the answers on my blog. Here we go.
How do blogs and social networking sites like MySpace and EveryDayMatters inspire you?
I'm not a big myspace fan- I think it's a place more suitable for 14 year olds looking to hook up with sex offenders. . .I prefer facebook myself, and it seems that several poets with whom I align myself aesthetically dig it as well. It's allowed me and other poets to create communities and more firmly establish groups of poets who have similar poetic ambitions. I'm a firm believer in community as an essential part of a poet's professional development. I have to say, though, that I had most of the "connections" that I have now on facebook before I registered on facebook. . .but it's still good, clean fun. Well, mostly clean.
How does this technology educate you?
I'd have to say that the social networking stuff doesn't educate me much at all. Blogs, on the other hand, are a definite source of education. I like to poke around, read Ron Silliman's daily sermon, visit my friend Mary Biddenger's blog, see what Scott Glassman's up to, and see where that may take me for the day. I do that probably once a week, if my schedule allows. I learn a lot there, especially because those blogs usually take me to other places, which take me to other places, and I never know where I may end up.
How do you use these technologies -- for networking, publicity, honing your craft, broadcasting news, etc.?
I use my own blog mostly for posting my poetry. Barely anyone really reads it, but that's OK. There's something about putting it out into the world, making it public, adding it as one grain of sand to the infinite dunes of cyberspace. There's a vulnerability to it that is enticing to me, and most of the work I post there is actually created in the blog space itself- it's NOT a polished work at all. It's as rough and unfinished as it gets. But it's THERE, committed to existing, committed to speaking whatever it has to say to whomever might happen upon it.
Do you feel the Internet is a helpful media for artists and poets?
I guess I would say that I don't think the internet can be characterized as a "media" unto itself. When I see, for example, what an artist like Geof Huth does with the his space on the internet compared to what I do with mine, it's really not the same thing. . .though there are obviously some connections there. The internet is full of dozens of different forms of media, and I would say that the internet both helps and hinders serious artists who attempt to use the internet to promote their work. At the risk of sounding like some kind of artistic elitist, the internet doesn't discriminate between hack artists/poets/musicians and people who have actually committed some genuine thought to their artistic endeavors. All artists are treated equally, allotted as much of cyberspace as they feel the need to fill. The cup, perhaps, is overflowing.
Have you made new contacts with like-minded people through the Internet? How has this changed your identity as a creative person?
I made one very special friend through my blog that has resulted in many wonderful projects and publications. Scott Glassman found me one day a few years ago and we hit it off immediately. It was a wonderful collaboration and pushed my poetry to an experimental place it probably wouldn't have otherwise gone. My work with Scott was, in fact, the point of origin for my newest and yet-unpublished collection of poetry. The prose poems that make up the majority of the collection came from an experiment with him, and I just kept writing them.
It also allowed met to reconnect with a teacher I had as an MA student, Lorna Dee Cervantes. She's an amazing poet whose sheer energy acts as an inspirational force.
How would you define your blog -- as an archive, a letter to the world or something else?
My blog is, at present moment, a mess. I have not, in the last year, given it as much time and attention as needed. It's definitely intended to be a commentary on poetry through both prose and my own poetry, but it's been lacking as of late. This is, in itself, a commentary on my blog, though-- that I feel some sense of obligation to it, that I take it very seriously, and that I am very concerned about it's present state. I definitely see it as a reflection of myself, and as my recent slip into the bowels of corporate america had sucked my slate clean of any real inspiration (a cliche, I know, but extremely true), my blog and lack of postings reflected this. When I moved to Colorado and found myself completely poetically and geographically displaced, i was confused both about who I had become and about what to post to my blog. While some people would use their blog to air their frustrations with these situations, I have retreated and hung back, as they say. In this sense, my blog is, to me, a sacred space of clarity.
Do you think poets or visual artists make more use of these media? Why and how?
I don't really feel informed enough about the visual world of the internet to answer this. . .sorry.
Who are some bloggers that you think exemplify the potential of blogs?
I will answer this quite bluntly- I am jealous of many blogs that give the time and attention to the world of contemporary poetry that I wish I could give. Ron Silliman's blog is quite esteemed and reputable because he does a good job at being Ron via blog. Lorna Dee Cervantes has a great blog which also conveys Lorna very well-- her commitment to certain causes, her passion and verve for life and poetry, her overall positive energy that she channels into real change. K Silem Mohammed has some amazing things to say about poetry and the world.
More to come . . .