How do you read?

Is this (the internet) the only place you read? If so, you may feel quite at home in Sweden right about now.

Such a distinctly negative reaction to paperless journals and newspapers, though not surprising. This sort of reaction has been around ever since old King Ludd himself. Still, it makes me wonder how folks reacted to the transition from oral composition to written, from scrolls to folios, from folios to bound books, &c. There has, I think, been a pretty constant change in the materiality of the reader's experience. I believe that listening is a way of reading, that writing is a way of reading, reciting from memory is a way of reading, etc. To think that the newspaper as we know it today is the best and most traditional mode of reading the news is pretty damn short-sighted. But this is aside from my point, really.

Lindsay Waters' (I swear I didn't read it because we have the same first name, seriously) article featured in Arts & Letters today really made me think about how I've been reading. Not necessarily whether I've been holding said reading materials in my hands or not, as seems to be the most popular conversation. How long has it taken you to read this paragraph, for instance?

I think Waters has a huge point about the dangers of "speed reading" viz. the commodification/mass production aspect of academia - his last book (rawther ironically, I think) focused on the evils of the "publish or perish" ethos in academic culture. Most of this attitude he attributes rightfully (if underhandedly) to wickedly misinterpreted postmodernism. But, I wonder, to what extent are the more creative disciplines (read: writers) to blame for this pressure?

How many books does it take to get a job?

For my part, I feel torn, very torn about whether I should be reading 90 volumes of poetry a month, writing a dozen or so mss, a few chaps, publishing like a mofo. I want to be a part of the poetry community, but I feel that in order to do this, I have to keep up with the careerists. I am not a careerist - I'm content to read a few good books very slowly, write a few poems very well (I hope) and publish every now and again. This, unfortunately, will never get me a job doing what I love, which is really what I ultimately aspire to. In the end, let's all just drink some wine together, gossip about whoever's not around, but mostly just lament that there isn't room in the community for folks who want to move slowly and deliberately.


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