November 1, 2006

Questions about E-Lit from Jena Osman

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 4:15 pm

In opening the discussion that started Autostart, Jena Osman, poet and director of the creative writing program at Temple University, asked several good questions of the attendees. We could have easily filled the remaining time in the discussion with trying to answer these, but we moved along to hear other poets’ perspectives and didn’t get to really discuss Jena’s questions, although I know that some of us were turning them over in our minds. Fortunately, Jena was kind enough to provide her questions and to allow us to post them here. I’ll starting by doing this, and perhaps will offer some answers in comments (rather than as some sort of top-level annotation) in a bit.

I’m interested in the differences in terms of the reading process between texts that are pre-digital and then put up online and texts that are made with the screen in mind. it seems like they’re calling for two different kinds of attention. At least two. With the former I always feel a strain, that I’d much rather print it out and read (but maybe that’s generational). Unless they somehow acknowledge this transfer from hard text to screen – like Brian Kim Stefans’ rendition of Creeley’s “I Know A Man” or his other “One Letter at a Time Pieces.” (And I’m curious to learn about other examples of digital transcription.) But with etexts, I often feel like I’m reading much more for process and activity than for content – I’m reading the action of reading. What does it mean to separate out the act of reading from the text itself so distinctively?

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