Tuesday, February 06, 2007
somewhere in the midst of Ron Silliman congratulating for good taste his conjectured one millionth visitant Ron makes a good point. (note: the preceding was de rigueur acerbic commentary). he writes, try writing 200 MLA papers in a year. meaning, it aint easy. and yet, as Ron notes, those MLA type papers need be no better than blogged insights. I am finishing my own MLA type paper. it is an endeavour of left brain logical work, carefully following lines. I think I write well, but it is a whole conscious effort. I've had to learn to accept the formalities and work within them, whereas I just naturally fell into the right brain creative jumps of poetry and blogging. with this thesis, I battle to follow a logical trail. at the same time, I must fight to keep the formalities at bay, not let them commandeer the writing. MLA papers present a method, one often useful. likewise the blog, in its inventive capriciousness. I'm much more naturally attuned to the blog manner, but I have learned, I believe, to manage in the MLA mode. I've found that the Poetics list is a large failure because those posting rarely understand the nature of the medium. the Poetics list is not a classroom discussion. to say it is for discussion is to use a metaphor, not a wholly accurate one. Ron speaks of that metaphor in his posting. listserv and blog are about sniping, and showboating, and speechifying. they are good for that. their mechanics do not serve discussion well. deal with it. blogs can be ideas in action. sloppy and bullshitty maybe, but the form is loose and forgiving. MLA theses are not. careful, footnoted arguments work with MLA theses. blogs will be read by more people than theses. the underworld of listserv and blog, should not be forgotten, that backchannel network. I'm sure the point of MLA convetions is less to do with presenting papers as to schmooz with colleagues. blogs and listservs have the schmooz more or less built in. I write properly skittery bloggishness here, stumbling and stuttering around some ideas. it is always meant as an invitation.