On the Edge of Vertigo

Again, I find myself drawn to Stewart’s discussions in Poetry and the Fate of the Senses, but this time am finding it more difficult to locate a continuity between this reading and readings from Hoagland’s Real Sofistikashun or Longenbach’s The Poetic Line. Hoagland’s essays, especially, seem to want to break the connections seen in “Facing, Touch, and Vertigo,” while at the same time they are reflexive and recursive. At the same time, Hoagland points to the idea that those poems which become completely disconnected or overly aware of the connection between writer and reader, which invoke complete vertigo, are necessarily less successful.

Continue reading “On the Edge of Vertigo”

How Nanotechnology (mis)Places Government in The Diamond Age

One thing that intrigued me was the disparate social setups portrayed in Stephenson’s novel. Very quickly, the “traditional” Chinese culture still operated a rudimentary government: developing law, maintaining a civil court system (of a sort) as well as executive functions in the form of police. In a Western trope of the East reaching back to Marco Polo, the executive head remains cloaked in secrecy and indirect. Continue reading “How Nanotechnology (mis)Places Government in The Diamond Age”

Voice and the Sounds of Poetry

The ability to verbalize brings us out of the darkness. To express the self and find others who express the self removes isolation and argues for our humanity. The sounds to be made in the creation of a poem are at the root of the art. Stewart points out these things in “Sound” (59-105), and she emphasizes the necessity of verbalization in the creation of an individual. (As a side-note, in her summary of Dennett’s treatise, it is interesting that the theoretical cyborg or even the realistic intelligent ape qualify in the status of personhood (61-2)). Continue reading “Voice and the Sounds of Poetry”

Techno-Orientalism and the Matrix

In thinking about the virtual- and science- based fiction narrative, and its intersection with racial and postcolonial criticism, I questioned whether authors employ intentionality in making decisions regarding setting, theme, characters, and etc. While Nakamura’s article implies intentionality at least to a degree, especially for Gibson’s settings (64), and Stephenson’s cultural institutions (70), it seems that the rest of the story characteristics flow from the creative intuition. Continue reading “Techno-Orientalism and the Matrix”

On Reading Ashbery, Confusionism, and Intuitive Movement

Self-portrait in a convex Mirror
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A common quality of the readings, excluding the commentaries on Ashbery, is the sort-of stream of consciousness style. I write “sort-of” because these essays and poem are considered, detailed, and meditative. However, the quality of movement within them is intuitive and more felt than structured. The intuitive movement is especially visible in the stanza breaks in Ashbery’s “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror,” a movement from the painting to balloon (a shape similar to the convex mirror – but also to the dream in qualities of popping) to tomorrow to dreaming to the dream.  Continue reading “On Reading Ashbery, Confusionism, and Intuitive Movement”

Shteyngart’s SSTLS as Commentary on International Relations

I am mostly impressed with Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story. Its reflection on and send-up of our current media-obsessed, gadget-driven culture seems a clear indictment of where we are headed if we continue in this direction, but I feel the author let a few things slip through the cracks. For instance, although Shteyngart addresses the issues of government contracting in its current form, it is highly improbable that a foreign corporation (Staatling-Wapachung Corporation) would ever win the sort of contract with the military he implies. The best example I can think of is the Air Force tanker plane contract, which eventually went to Boeing over McDonald-Douglas because of the latter’s use of an Airbus airframe. Continue reading “Shteyngart’s SSTLS as Commentary on International Relations”

The Effects of Digital Technologies on the Composition of Poetry

Okay, I know, I know.  But the title has already been established by nearly a semester of thought & etc.

At any rate, this post will hold links to the current status of this research, and I hope to maintain this for quite a while, in addition to continuing the study… upon receiving approval from ODU’s IRB, of course (and by IRB I mean Institutional Research Board, not IRB).

Continue reading “The Effects of Digital Technologies on the Composition of Poetry”

Research Status Entry

After receiving six responses to the survey, primarily from writers who have more experience in writing poetry, I am finding that the majority of participants (currently four of the six) compose initial drafts with paper and pen rather than on a computer.  The participants are also reporting that they perceive a large (4) or very large (2) difference between the two composing methods.  These initial results seem to be confirming my thesis that there is a difference between the two methods.  In addition to these results, I have found that many of the comments provided to the open-answer question enlightening, and may provide guiding questions when developing the final analysis.  I have also found that the response rate is somewhat limited in this field, and I hope there will be a way to rectify the situation before the final report is due.

Investigating Technology’s Influence on Composition, the Long View

Hartley, James, Michael Howe, Wilbert McKeachie.  “Writing through Time: Longitudinal Studies of the Effects of New Technology on Writing.”  British Journal of Educational Technology 32.2 (2001): 141-151.  Academic Search Complete.  Web.  15 October 2010.
            Hartley et al address the question in this paper as to whether the changes in writing and thinking through changing technology usage merely “a cosmetic one…or are the changes more fundamental than this” (141).  The authors review literature produced in the final decade of the 20th century, and find the debate centers around the “three possibilities [Hartley (1993)] outlined” (142).  In order to discover which of the three were more probable, the authors took to a method to describe “pieces written by the same authors over lengthy periods using different technologies” (144).  The method of research involved a statement of writing methods, a selection of samples from a broad time period, and a quantitative analysis of these samples from each of the authors of the paper (144-45).  It should be noted that each of the authors is a university professor, that the authors are evaluating their own works, and finally that the selected writing samples were chosen from times after the authors attained university degrees.   

These faults may or may not influence their findings, but I am leaning toward the concern that each author had already set his writing style before the selected samples were written.

            In the results tables of the quantitative analysis, each author displays remarkable consistency over the course of the decades.  These findings are displayed in tables with variables including: average number of sentences, number of words per sentence, percentage of passive sentences, the Flesch Index score, and the Flesch-Kincaid grade-level score (146-48).  The authors find that although there are fluctuations within each individual sample (148), “the only measure that is perhaps time-related is the use of passive [constructions]” (149).  The authors continue, however, to attribute that change to the fourth edition of APA’s Publication Manual (1994), which encourages the use of active rather than passive verb constructions (149).
            Although the authors conclude that the changes they have made in technology usage in composition has not significantly influenced their writing styles (149), I again point to the issue with the methods used in this study.  These authors had significantly defined their writing styles prior to when the samples selected were composed, and I believe this is a significant shortcoming.  By evaluating developing writers, as well as writers who are constantly attempting to define themselves (i.e. – poets), I hope to show that there are significant differences between analogue and digital technologies in drafting.