February 2, 2014
While it may carry a certain sentimental value for many, this artifact we call a book is not what’s most important. Far more important is the content, the stories and the knowledge found within the book. In human history, the printed book is a relatively recent arrival, having existed for only about 600 years of humanity’s thousands of years existence.* The content we now find in books has always been with us, communicated from person to person and culture to culture through various media, beginning with gestures, touch, and speech.
January 18, 2014
A few days ago, someone who writes both print poems and songs told me that words written to go with music are not poetry, cannot possibly be poetry. This very serious assertion resonated with me for a couple of reasons, one personal and professional and one more to do with the literary academic and writing professions in Canada.
In a way, it wasn’t a surprise after all. There is a snobbery and elitism that pervades the Canadian literary establishment, literary publishing circles, and certain circles of writers. To say that song lyrics cannot possibly be poetic reflects the same willful blindness that decries any prose writing that even hints at being genre fiction. There is a need for some in our industry to be somehow better than and above the rest of us. It’s easy enough to look down your nose and sniff at any writing which might read easily and be popular with the masses, especially if it helps you to feel superior. Throughout my career as a writer, I’ve observed this attitude of false superiority come from the self-imposed ghettos of literary academe.