Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Nester’

Response Turned Post

Posted: November 30, 2011 in Misc
Tags: , , ,

A recently tweeted link led me to a post by Daniel Nester on the We Who Are About To Die blog concerning the distraction caused by and distaste found in reading poems aloud from mobile devices (iThings, Droids, etc.). Once upon a time, I would have applauded the author’s rant, but my sympathy has grown over the years upon steady exposure to a growing number of talented poets who opt to read from electronic paper rather than pulp. I honestly found the brash humour in the post funny, in a nun-chuckling-at-a-sinner’s-tale sort of way. One of the most winning lines, “We’re writers; we kill trees; that’s what we do,” does not accurately reflect the overarching theme of the rant, but it makes me grin every time I read it. The image used to head the post is also priceless. I didn’t intend to write so much in response, but anything less than a well-structured argument is not worth reading. So my comment became a post all its own. Enjoy:

I thank you, Daniel Nester. Your post made me laugh like some prejudiced father’s son, who, forced by his own embarrassment at his father’s inappropriate outburst, simultaneously apologizes to the surrounding people while giggling over the faux pas with siblings and friends. If you’re truly one of the “old ones,” scrap the blog and send letters to newspapers (if you have time to write betwixt instances of yelling at children to get off of your lawn).

In your argument/rant, I can see shades of valid points concerning techie pride as well as the appropriateness of affluence as related to the generalized fiscal standing of poets. Pertaining to the former, however, I’ve known poets who read from mobile electronics not with pride in the device itself but the poetry which they’ve stored on it – portability and storage density affording opportunities to call up poems perhaps more appropriate than those originally intended if struck by such circumstance, sympathy, or inspiration.

Regarding the new-money poet vibe I’m picking up on (or perhaps reading too much into), a “reckless disregard for money” has always been associated with a poet’s lifestyle. As credit card companies and a relentlessly marketed consumer culture have sunk their fangs into today’s youth, yuppies, and basically anyone with a passable credit score, I cannot help but see parallels with the likes of Lord Byron, who racked up massive debts during his lifetime, as well as the multitudes of creatives who squander what little cash they have and get themselves into debt for the abundance of life’s p(r)etty little distractions in all the forms they take.

I’m a Romantic as much as the next, and my eyes love the feel of paper when reading as much as my palm does when penning notes. I, too, once felt the exact same way you so perfectly relayed in your post, but all it takes to get over any sort of prejudice is exposure to a healthy community. Close your eyes and concentrate on the speaker’s words (you know…the poetry) if you’re too shallow to not be able to get past the format from which a poet is delivering his or her verse. Bad poetry can be read as easily from a page as it can a screen, so if you find the poetry sub-par, I encourage you to walk out embraced by the full knowledge that nothing was there for you. However, if you walk out based on anything other than content, there’s no telling what you’ve missed, and I pity your loss.