Thursday, April 13, 2006

Medium the Message?

From the desk of Lizette:

Just one further note about Creeley’s abbreviated writing style. I see that many folks tended to connect the “shorthand” with the typewriter, or felt that castings such as “sd” and “yr” evoked a typewriter idea. My take on this is different only because traditional shorthand (someone else had raised this inquiry about shorthand), such as the old Gregg style, was written in cursive, frequently in steno or yellow legal pads. When I said that I found this part of Creeley’s work to be nostalgic, part of the nostalgia was that this shorthand was in huge demand during pre-PC, pre-fax days. Of course, one would later transcribe the cursive on a Wheelwriter, IBM Selectric or Smith-Corona typewriter, but the print would not be abbreviated. Only the handwriting would.

So Creeley’s poetry reminds me of handwriting rather than the typewriter. And I still compose stories (not nonfiction or papers, just fiction) in longhand, which is another reason for waxing nostalgic. I don’t know too many colleagues these days who write fiction in notebooks and turn to the computer only at the end of the composition process.

QUESTION FROM RODNEY: Any thoughts from people on how the physical process of writing--longhand, typewriter, computer, etc.--influences your poetics? How does your medium shape your message? Just curious.

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