An Open Letter to Litkicks

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e_dog
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An Open Letter to Litkicks

Post by e_dog » October 7th, 2004, 1:48 pm

in some of brooklyn's posts here at StudioEight he has expressed the idea that there is need to adapt and tranform the kind of poetry that took place on the old Litkicks in order to make it fit in with the standards of traditional, mainstream printed literary journals. There is a clear desire on the part of Litkicks to make a transition from the Internet to print, as if only the latter had the legitimacy of 'real' literature as opposed to the virtual. This to me, is disappointing because it was precisely as an on-line for(u)m that Litkicks excelled and came to relative prominence. Do we really need one more Paris Review?

Why not recapture the boldness and the spirit of adventure to make the leap into the new millenium by saying, 'forget print, we are an Internet movement. print is at best secondary, at worst, becoming irrelevant.' Instead, Litkicks seems to be bowing down before the literary establishment and its image of success.

This is just my humble, if judgmental, opinion, as someone who has appreciated and learned a lot from Mr. Asher's site. I have no intention at all of detracting from the enormous value that Litkicks has had and hopefully will continue to have. i wonder what others think?

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abcrystcats
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Post by abcrystcats » October 7th, 2004, 3:23 pm

Sorry, I have to side with Levi on this one -- but for other reasons. Grammatical correctness, form, syntax and style are goals in and of themselves. All writers should strive to achieve them. If Levi is prepared to assist in that process (and he's demonstrated his editorial expertise) then I am all for it.

Becoming another Paris Review is a distant and probably unreachable goal, at best.

Print is not dead and IMHO the internet does not make its own rules of writing. The rules of writing are fairly universal among the English-speaking peoples. You ask: "Do we really need another Paris Review?" You may as well ask: "Do we really need another on-line forum?" Both are valid questions. My answer would be that we need both, and that is where you and I agree.

"bowing down before the literary establishment and its image of success. "

Speaking only for myself, I do not "bow down" before anyone or anything, but I know that to be a successful writer I must, at the very least, comply to the literary establishment's view of success. You may claim to eschew publishing and printing, but if Random McNally wanted to publish a book of your essays and remunerate you for it, I doubt that you (or any of us!) would refuse! :)

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abcrystcats
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Post by abcrystcats » October 7th, 2004, 8:15 pm

I just noticed this -- "Random McNally" ????? :lol:

What a Freudian slip!!!! oh laaaaa!!!

brooklyn
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online vs. trad

Post by brooklyn » October 7th, 2004, 9:40 pm

Well, e-dog, there are only a few areas where I want to move in the direction of traditional print journals. I'm definitely not trying to take creative inspiration from any print journal I know of, because I don't think that is where the action is at in today's literature. I don't read Granta or Paris Review unless I'm really hard up for something to read. I agree that the online scene has more potential right now.

But I am trying to solve a specific problem, which is that all the good poems and stories posted to LitKicks tended to have a very short shelf-life there. Like one day, at best. How many times did you go back to an old page of Action Poetry and re-enjoy it? I found that people were reading the first page of each board, and once a piece of writing fell off the page it was pretty much forgotten.

I just want people to start putting more thought and effort into their writings on LitKicks. And good spelling and grammar and punctuation goes along with this. It sets the tone right. I don't value the aesthetics of correct style at all, in fact -- I just think bad style is a distraction and makes a site look unprofessional and unimpressive.

-- Levi

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e_dog
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Post by e_dog » October 8th, 2004, 3:49 pm

hi,

we have few distinct issues tied up in one here which maybe it's best to disentangle.

one is the question of style and grammar/orthography/punctation. these are very different things of course, correct spelling and puntuation doesn't equal good style nor vice versa. anyway, what style is good or bad is an eaesthetic judgment and is therefore somewhat subjective; suffice it to say that i don't think Strunk and White should be understood as promulgators of church dogma. many of the innovative writers of literary hsitory would be regarded as breaking the rules including some of those close to my heart like Kerouac and e.e. cummings.

a separate issue is the one of whether print shold be regarded as the paradign to which internet publishing should aspire, either to emulate or to transition toward. to respond to abcrystcats, i personally think that there is a shortage of good on-line literary sites RELATIVE to the demand which is waiting to be activated; and that there is, if anything, an excess of print publications (iun various formats, books, journals) relative to its demand which is largely one of imagined scholarly posterity. secondly, i think that the, so to speak, comparative advantage of Litkicks was its life as an on-line site, at which it was truly excellent, and that in my opinion the transition to print will yield at best rather disappointing results, not because of the quality of the work but because of the nature of the markets. put the Paris Review on-line and it will be a mediocre website. put Litkicks on a bookshelf and ... who knows?

my point is not to say that the age of print is over (although soon this will be true, mark my words!) but rather a friendly suggestion to brooklyn, to the effect that Litkicks should not forget where it came from and what contributed to its success. though, from the response, it seems he needed no such reminder and is already in agreement that "the on-line scene" is where it's at.

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abcrystcats
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Post by abcrystcats » October 8th, 2004, 4:31 pm

When I said "style" I didn't mean to qualify it in quite that way. I'll narrow it down a bit to say that style should be consistent. What you write should hang together and be accessible to the reader. There are as many different kinds of styles as there are writers, and then some.

As for Strunk and White being church dogma, well heck. All I can say in my defense is that before you break the rules you have to know what the rules are, and how to use them. There are many writers who have broken rules successfully, but I don't know too many of them who did it through sloppiness or ignorance. Some people (and please don't take this personally, because I mean to refer to NO ONE) would rather use the excuse of Kerouac or e.e. cummings to bypass the whole QUESTION of grammar, punctuation, spelling and so on.

The internet, for all its beauty, is often incredibly disappointing to me because no one on it seems to care a damn what their writing looks like to others. It may not matter to you; that is your prerogative. I do observe that websites that care about appearance get a lot more attention than websites that don't.

I think the internet and hard print can exist side by side. I wouldn't say that the internet is MERELY practice for writing in the Real World of Published Writers. It can be (and is) lots and lots of things.

There are a few problems with your theory that the internet is going to make print obsolete. If I listed all the reasons I think you're wrong, this post would be too long. Only time will tell us what will happen, anyways.

You said, "excess of print publications (iun various formats, books, journals) relative to its demand " Hah! This is most definitely a market-driven economy and that is not the case. Borders would not exist, if you were right.

You said, "i think that the, so to speak, comparative advantage of Litkicks was its life as an on-line site" and I agree with you completely. I would go even further and say that the LIFE and the DYNAMISM of on-line interactions give websites such as Litkicks a unique power that sets it ABOVE the printed word in many respects.

Hope this clears up my position, somewhat.

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Glorious Amok
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Post by Glorious Amok » October 11th, 2004, 12:38 pm

i will say this... what i personally LOVE about the new Litkicks style, is that no one can critique or hack apart another's words.

the absolute worst aspect of internet writing that i have encountered, is the impulse some people have to tear apart other's work, attempting to engage the author in a battle to explain or defend their every thought and impulse.

it seems that some people just love to spend their whole nights in front of the computer, quoting and (more frequently) misquoting, accusing, accosting, and debating, assuming and supposing, knifing and butchering, hair-splitting and nattering on endlessly about how superior they find their own views to be. fondling themslves in the politician's brand of foreplay.

if butchers is what they want to be, let them do it silently, as they do with a book in their hand. or let them step up to the plate and create something of their own.

this way, i get to say what it is that i have to say, without praise or debate. sometimes praise can be as provoking or even oppressive as critique.

if we want to hang out and jam and jive with the others, we can do that too. but i think there is a serene and respectful purity of authorship beginning to build up over there.

it's an artistic environment, over a fault-finding one.

have you asked yourself lately, which is your preference?
"YOUR way is your only way." - jack kerouac

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Doreen Peri
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Post by Doreen Peri » October 11th, 2004, 9:53 pm

gloriousOne... i've never seen criticism about works posted on the internet unless they are posted to a site or board specifically set up for critique.

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e_dog
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Post by e_dog » October 12th, 2004, 3:27 pm

glorious amok:

serenity has no place in literature, only in homes for the elderly.

constructive criticism, debates between friends a la Socratic dialogue (rather than, say, political mudsling) is what makes interactive culture, on the internet or out in the rest of the world, exciting and educational.



abcrystcats:

i doubt whether Borders makes much money from its poetry section. they probably only carry it so that people won't complain and call them philistines, but i doubt they make much dough from it. i could be wrong. my point is not an economic one, narrowly construed, however; in any case, i don't think people should submit to the economic decision of private corporations and business which are who determine the literary market. rather, independence of publication is a value in itself, the ability to self-publish rather than to 'be published.' internet is one great way for self-publication to be meaningful to easily reach many people in a way that a chapbook cannot. i think the very notion of authors 'being published' shows how weak and passive the creative individual has become in relation to the organizations of the establishment (whether it be Random House or the New York Times Book Review or Parnassus.) that is, the passive voice of 'getting published by Radon House' is an undignified and weak way to conceive of the role of the artist in comparison to the active 'she published her poems' i.e. she made them public (an active action), not the passive 'she was discovered by the Elite and used by them to make money.' thus, i do think grammar matters, here, symbolically.

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Glorious Amok
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Post by Glorious Amok » October 13th, 2004, 8:12 am

e dog, serenity belongs with me
just don't mix it with complacency
for i find the taste becomes bitter

serenity belongs in the woods
in lakes and ducks and neighborhoods
each raging alive, harmonic chaos brewing inner.

it's tradition i've no use for
it's complacency that i've a kick in the ass for
not serenity that makes one a sinner.

complacency turns my pen to a sword
tradition turns my rebellion to words
but blissful serenity brings out my witter.

complacency needs a big red truck
tradition is lying in filthy muck
and they both can go right down the shitter!

:lol:
cheers
"YOUR way is your only way." - jack kerouac

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