Litblog Roundup, September 2014, Week 3

Back to School

Today being the first day of autumn, I’d like to start this litblog roundup with an instructional video for the incoming class at the New School MFA in Writing program. In it, current and recent graduates welcome the incoming class. They give advice like “go to readings” and “get involved.” They describe what they’ve learned from the program.

Formatting Poetry in E-Books

E-books haven’t always been able to present poetry on the screen, in a way that remains faithful to the page, but on Monday the New York Times said “Publishers can now create e-books that better preserve a poet’s meticulous formatting.” The latest example is a series of John Asbery’s books, newly republished as e-books, with faithful formatting.

John Ashbery discusses his work.

Some conversation resulted on the LitBlogs throughout the week. Most Notably, the Poetry Foundation provided more information about the relationship between poetry and e-reader devices.

More Thoughts on the Future of Poetry

In last week’s roundup, I mentioned a talk about the future of poetry. This week, Scariet considers the questions of poetry’s future.

When talking of popularity or fame, we mean a lasting impact upon a number of people, not a furtive reading of a poem on a sudden in the presence of a couple of strangers—why should humanity at large want to know your poem? This is the important question, that single question which dogs every poet and critic today.

Scariet

How Does a Word Processor Work?

In my sassy moments, I am known to remark on occasion “word processing is not typewriting.” Typically this remark is inspired by the frequent under-use of any of the hundreds of things that a word processor program can do, in addition to simple typing. But have you ever wondered, how does a word processor software application work, anyway? This week’s piece on the New Yorker’s Page Turner blog can help to answer that question, (after you RTFM of course). It’s titled, How to Understand Your Computer.

What Makes a “Classic” so Classic?

A post this week on The Airship wonder whether there’s any such thing as a timeless classic.

The comfortable myth of “The Classics” persists in literature because it comforts those of us in the trenches. It offers us the promise that great work will one day be appreciated and understood, that its brilliance will shine on in spite of the dingy, banal, everyday meanness of taste and public appetite. Key to the myth is the idea that The Classics represent some sort of unearthly ideal, that they would always arise and would always be treasured, that they would inevitably be considered The Classics.

That’s nonsense, and dangerous nonsense to boot.

The “Classics” Are Not Timeless by Eric Williams

Another Roundup

If you like reading my roundup posts (now that there are two of them) you might also be interested to read “Off the Shelf,” the roundup posts from the Paris Review. They cover more territory than just the litblogs, but they provide interesting sustenance for hungry readers.

What Makes a Pop-savvy Intellectual?

Over at A Piece of Monologue, there’s an interesting excerpt from a recent piece in the New Yorker, The Naysayers: Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and the critique of pop culture. It offers some insights that encourage me to wonder: what is the difference between “pop” culture and “culture,” anyway? Is there any difference at all? If there is no difference, then why the distinction? Is it useful? Dangerous? Meaningless?

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