Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Alexander

More Links

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More links because if there’s one thing I hate it’s getting done the things I planned to get done.

* Huge gigapixel panorama of the inauguration, with very close zoom.

* The Obameter tracks 500 of Obama’s campaign promises.

(both of those via Cynical-C)

* More inaugural poem talk from the New Republic and Edge of the American West.

* Obama reminds Republicans that he actually won the election and that in fact they have no credibility at all. Also, that Rush Limbaugh is a tool.

* And Time considers the future of the publishing biz.

So if the economic and technological changes of the 18th century gave rise to the modern novel, what’s the 21st century giving us? Well, we’ve gone from industrialized printing to electronic replication so cheap, fast and easy, it greases the skids of literary production to the point of frictionlessness. From a modern capitalist marketplace, we’ve moved to a postmodern, postcapitalist bazaar where money is increasingly optional. And in place of a newly minted literate middle class, we now have a global audience of billions, with a literacy rate of 82% and rising.

Put these pieces together, and the picture begins to resolve itself: more books, written and read by more people, often for little or no money, circulating in a wild diversity of forms, both physical and electronic, far outside the charmed circle of New York City’s entrenched publishing culture. Old Publishing is stately, quality-controlled and relatively expensive. New Publishing is cheap, promiscuous and unconstrained by paper, money or institutional taste. If Old Publishing is, say, a tidy, well-maintained orchard, New Publishing is a riotous jungle: vast and trackless and chaotic, full of exquisite orchids and undiscovered treasures and a hell of a lot of noxious weeds.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 24, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Poetry, Censorship, Starbuck, Watchmen, From #43 With Love

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A few midday links.

* There’s a new viral site for Watchmen with links to background ephemera created for the film. I’m getting excited for this one despite myself. Via Candleblog.

* Bookninja considers Elizabeth Alexander’s inaugural poem, with links to other negative reviews at the Guardian, L.A. Times, the Times of London, and Seattle’s Post-Intelligencer. I thought it was okay, if not quite up to its moment, and in any event there were parts of it I quite liked to hear said:

Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,
who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges,
picked the cotton and the lettuce, built
brick by brick the glittering edifices
they would then keep clean and work inside of.

I’m sure it reminded more than one Springsteenphile of his song “American Land.”

The McNicholas, the Posalski’s, the Smiths, Zerillis, too
The Blacks, the Irish, Italians, the Germans and the Jews
Come across the water a thousand miles from home
With nothin in their bellies but the fire down below

They died building the railroads worked to bones and skin
They died in the fields and factories names scattered in the wind
They died to get here a hundred years ago they’re still dyin now
The hands that built the country were always trying to keep down

* It turns out Dirk Benedict is sort of totally crazy.

There was a time, I know I was there, when men were men, women were women and sometimes a cigar was just a good smoke. But 40 years of feminism have taken their toll. The war against masculinity has been won. Everything has turned into its opposite, so that what was once flirting and smoking is now sexual harassment and criminal. And everyone is more lonely and miserable as a result.

Uh….. huh.

* China censors parts Of Obama’s speech. What’s more, they did it in a weirdly self-conscious, self-aware way:

At one point, Obama said earlier generations “faced down communism and fascism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.” He later addressed “those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent—know that you are on the wrong side of history.”

The Chinese translation of the speech, credited to the Web site of the official China Daily newspaper, was missing the word “communism” in the first sentence. The paragraph with the sentence on dissent had been removed entirely.

A little too on the nose.

* And the first press release from the Obama administration has been released.

At 8:35 AM, the President arrived in the Oval Office and spent 10 minutes alone in the office. He read the note left to him by President Bush that was in an envelope marked “To: #44, From: #43”. At 8:45 AM, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel came in to discuss the schedule of today’s events. The First Lady came into the Oval Office at 9:10 AM. We will release a picture shortly.

Oh, to get one’s hands on that note.

Poetry Is the Human Voice

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Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,
overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way
to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)
is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.
Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,
and are we not of interest to each other?

The Guardian breaks this month’s most talked-about poetry-related news item: Yale’s Elizabeth Alexander will read at Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Written by gerrycanavan

December 18, 2008 at 3:01 pm

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