BullHead Electric


"The poet,” McLuhan wrote, “much in the manner of the jazz musician, has the experience of performance as composition… At the typewriter, the poet commands the resources of the printing press”.

The typewriter,” McLuhan wrote, “has altered English verse and prose, and indeed, the very mental habits, themselves, of writers”.

I don't like online poetry. I like poetry. I like poetry in print. Physical. Some thing to hold in hand. To feel. The emphasis is in hand. Just as the typewriter changed writing by not only giving the writer the ability to compose approximating the finished product, words on paper, it opened up the poem, changing the poetic process, creating the "open field". Think Ezra Pound. And Stephen Mallmarmé's typography on a "sea of white" as the spirit mimesis of the physical poem. In fiction, Henry James and of course Jack Kerouac's scrolls of paper instead of sheets fead into his typewriter.

But what about the computer? Computer fiction? Computer poetry?

I don't like online poetry. Almost all of what I've read is a copy of poems typed with a word processor program on a computer, little different that a typewriter. Since computers are us, shouldn't we write with that realization? Some of that writing entails simple changes, like using color. Online color is no more expensive than black and white. Even in print, with desktop publishing like my BullHead Books, there's little extra cost in using color. Font size and selection, a near unlimited choice, and in that the computer surpasses letterpress printing. Images, images replacing text, images complimenting text, images as text. Linking, the hyper-text connections, mimicking but improving upon the physical turning of a page (improving? but the loss of the physical, that is always there with writing online, and that loss is not insignificant).


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