When Bloggers Hit The Page

There was an interesting article in the Weekend Australian by Geordie Williamson that looks at the influence blogging has had on literary style. Throughout the article, Williamson frequently likens the blogger to the digital filmmaker. He goes on to say that both artforms are ‘no longer a technological curiosity but an established means of communication, with its own establishment figures and young turks, its canons of merit and critical gatekeepers, and a set of advantages over the printed word that inspire utopian dreams and dystopian nightmares in equal measure.’

The article focusses on the recent release of Miscellaneous Voices: Australian Blog Writing No. 1, edited by Karen Andrews. Williams argues that pieces such as Mike Lynch’s tweeting of Ulysses lose their impact on the page, as ‘the eye cannot skip a beat before revealing the punchline’, while much of the poetry and fiction seems liberated on the clear expanse of the page, no longer having to share the screen with what he calls ‘the necessary impedimenta of the blogosphere’ (colourful headers, archive listings etc…). While I am an avid (maybe even rabid) online reader, there is some truth in these words, but not to the extent that poetry is ‘betrayed by the internet’s polyamorous nature’ as Williams argues.

I also don’t agree with Williams when he states that poetry has failed to create a vigorous online presence, but an article that questions us is one worth reading I think… so if you are keen to read the complete article, here’s the link: When Bloggers Enter the Literary Fray.



Filed under poetry & publishing

11 responses to “When Bloggers Hit The Page

  1. He writes a pretty interesting article. I think the blogosphere is so big that it’s hard for most people to have a good understanding of it. I haven’t had much trouble reading poetry on blogs (occasionally people use horrible fonts and colours, which put me off) – don’t find the other stuff too distracting. I must admit it does suit shorter poetry better than longer ones, just as it suits flash fiction better than longer works (in my opinion). I also think only a fraction of poets do blog so in a way the blogosphere is not representative of poetry, but it serves the purpose of developing communities and sharing information about the poetry scenes.

    • gnunn

      I think the point you make about communities is a really good one Gabe and that’s obe thing the article does not touch on… For me community is the essence of a blog… the poetry/articles etc… certainly help build the community, but it is much more than just the posting that makes a blog successful.

  2. I didn’t agree with much that he said in the article either, especially the bit you have pointed out but it was fantastic just to see this book reviewed in “The Australian”. Karen has done a great job.

  3. Williamson makes some great points in here though (albeit some were slightly hyperbolic and seemingly omnisicient, ie “Bloggers still aspire to print publication, with its hard-to-shake promise of literary immortality”. All bloggers, or just the ones in the book? Also, selling a few hundred copies of your printed book to an audience who is about to jump ship to the iPad is hardly immortality.).

    The need to discuss style shift is a great point. This topic may make an appearance at Emerging Writer’s Festival.

    Don’t overlook the genius of the black comedy in this article though. We’re discussing an article in which the major argumentative points were relevant and exciting in 2000, but are now just old hat. We’re reading an article which struggles with reading online because of “all the necessary impedimenta of the blogosphere” and still we struggle to read the article in its entirety due to the distractions by the very same items (flashing ads, hyperlinks, etc). We’re reading an article that only hints at but does not say definitively, therefore any counter-argument is made null (see: “it suggests the web is reshaping the way we write”). Suggests?

    This was my favourite part (for a couple reasons, one of which is the farcical black humour I see in this): “how we may use stylistic opportunities so that they return us to the virtues of what came before”

    • gnunn

      I actually really enjoyed the article and like you, found some black humour in it. The statement that poetry has failed to make a presence online has to be taken as tongue in cheek… it honestly can’t be anything else (as is the immortality crack). The issue of style shift is definitely in need of discussion, but I think he danced around it, so look forward to hearing what comes out of the emerging writers festival.

  4. weird, because i think a lot of poetry looks far better on the blog. & people are pretty use to reading these days with the ‘impedimentia’ of title bars, etc…

    (also (this being for you squires) i was just perusing my piece in misc. voices, & i think the ampersand looks a little funny on the page. i possibly shouldn’t have capitalised at all in the piece. & of course, the look may well be a function of the font misc. press have used…)

    • gnunn

      i agree, i think that there is alot of poetry that sits on the screen as well as any page. the greatest ‘impedimenta’ for mine is the demands of work/chores/the need to eat etc…

  5. use to / used to / youz two

  6. Graham, loved this: “the greatest ‘impedimenta’ for mine is the demands of work/chores/the need to eat etc…”

    I concur!

    Jeremy – I will be talking about the book during the EWF (for a 15mins of fame evening), and I daresay the question of changing styles could come up, and perhaps will elsewhere too.

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