Monday, June 15, 2015

A Lake District to Call Our Own

This week-end I was struck by Beth's post ; she says, ". . . most of the poets who are working on Annunciation are people I met through qarrtsiluni or other online venues. I sometimes forget to stop and trace the lineage of those relationships back, since all this has happened over just one decade, but it strikes me as a sort of rapid evolutionary process, where creativity and human relationships have partnered with advances in technology and communication, changing all of our lives and probably our brains as well."

I, too, am routinely grateful for all the connections the Internet has created, and a bit in awe of what it has made possible.   It has been an amazing decade.  I can hardly remember how I used to find poets whom I liked.  Now, most of the books I buy because I'm familiar with the poet's work online, and usually because the poet blogs.  There are the occasional Facebook posts that lead me to a poet, but for the most part, it's still blogs.

I realize that for some people, finding poets through blogs may seem as ancient a technology process as reading a paper magazine and searching out the poets found there.

I love the connections that the online world make possible.  For example, this week-end, I read this poem by Luisa A. Igloria, who posts a poem every day on Dave Bonta's blog.  Some of the lines in the poem reminded me of my posts that I wrote earlier in the week about gender and Caitlyn Jenner (here and here).  In this blog post, I wrote these words that I knew would need to be in a poem soon:  "I'm afraid that I worship the god of self-improvement plans.  It's the idol worship that seems to be running amok in our society."

On Saturday, I sat down and wrote a poem.  It was likely a different poem than I would have written without Luisa's poem.  It was better.

And then, as I have done occasionally, I sent it to Dave.  He suggested adding the word "pilot" to the last line.  Brilliant! 

On Sunday, Dave posted my poem on his blog.  And then he wrote a Facebook post.

As a result, this poem may have gotten more people reading it than the poems from earlier in my career, long ago, when tiny journals published my work on paper and mailed those journals to a tiny database of subscribers.

I like how this process shows, in close to real time, the writing process of this poem.  I don't have to wait for years for the poem to appear.

I also like how inspired I feel.  I like how these poems talk to each other.  I like that we have it documented.

I do not envy future grad students, who will have so much more material to mine as they write their scholarly tomes about this time.  But I am excited to be living in this time.

I predict that future generations will see this time as one that's as exciting as the time when Wordsworth and Coleridge wrote or when Mary Shelley wrote her masterpiece, Frankenstein.  Just as I see writerly networks of the Romantic age who were influenced to become much better than they would have been on their own, I see our own time through a similar lens.

We have a Lake District to call our own.

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