Channeling the Rage

Internet Culture Politics
I've never wanted LitKicks to be anything but a literary website, but sometimes I need to write about things that have nothing to do with fiction or poetry. That's why I've decided, after much contemplation, to take the plunge and start my second blog.

I've always had a passion for history and political theory, and I'm sure I've read more history books than novels in my life. I've long wanted to do some writing in this area, and with the stark global events that have dominated our world in the past few years I've sometimes felt frustrated at not being able to write about the issues on my mind (I've also made a few attempts at merging my two passions, like October Earth, a literary/political symposium we conducted during the final month of the Bush/Kerry election season in 2004, and the old LitKicks Poetry and Politics board).

But literature and politics are distinct, and that's the way it should be. I love the way LitKicks is developing, and I don't want to risk losing what is good about this site by introducing controversial topics that don't belong. The decision to branch off a separate channel will let me keep LitKicks focused on its own area. I'm looking forward to a lot of upcoming events: participating in the next round of Litblog Co-op selections, getting creative with the Action Poetry format (I've got some ideas, let's see if I can actually make them happen), maybe doing some live events in New York later this year.

But I'm also psyched to have a new place where I can let loose, and I do mean loose. Maybe this will even help temper my tone here on LitKicks, because I occasionally read my back pages here and wonder if I haven't been taking out my anger about various global events on a few poor writers and critics. The truth is, Jonathan Lethem and David Orr are really not what's wrong with the world today.

What is wrong with the world today? You'll have to read my new blog to find out.

But you can't look just yet, because I'd like to let it percolate another few days before I show it to you. It's live, but there's not much there yet. This Sunday will be the 12th birthday of LitKicks, and maybe that'll be a good opportunity to sneak a link in. I better get busy!

10 Responses to "Channeling the Rage"

by Billectric on

Right choice.Having two separate blogs does make more sense. As an avid fan of the History Channel for the past and NPR radio for the present, I look forward to your new venture.

by brooklyn on

Thanks Bill. The new place will be interactive, of course, and I'll be very happy if you (and everybody else) pipes up there. Once I tell you where "there" is.

by firecracker on

Not surethat I agree with you on the David Orr thing ...

by Billectric on

and whenever i disagree with you, i'll try not to show my ass, as we say down south.

by warrenweappa on

Zola, Silent Spring, Ivan Denisovichin 2006, PC games would make more of a political statement than books and some of them do but there's nothing new under the sun concerning injustice and human suffering. Rather than a seperate blog, possibly you could set up a propaganda page or political postings. Zola said, in regard to his novels that were part of a set of 20 collectively known as "Les Rougon-Macquart": "I want to portray, at the outset of a century of liberty and truth, a family that cannot restrain itself in its rush to possess all the good things that progress is making available and is derailed by its own momentum, the fatal convulsions that accompany the birth of a new world."Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" is credited with launching contemporary environmentalism and "One Day in the life of Ivan Denisovich" is credited with exposing the corrupt Soviet gulag. If Hollywood would do the same, US society might be a very different place.

by Nasdijj on

impact and voiceI wonder if in the Writing Life there are people who feel they make an impact with their writing and their voice. I am not trying to be mean. Honestly, I would not know.I have never met such a person. I have never known anyone who thought they had an impact nor have I been exposed to anyone who actually did. Does Camille Paglia have an impact on culture. It is folly to think so.The gap between impact and voice seems an abstract influence and phenomenal in depth and width alone. I am sure there are people who have impacted public opinion -- or even public policy -- but are they some other thing, and then a writer, or are they are writer first.I question whether writing impacts either culture or social issues. I'm not with Paglia on this. I'm with Foucault on this one. We humans aren't even minor players on the stage. History happens. Usually to you.I know many writers who want a voice in the argument, and have that, but writing today feels after-the-fact, an adendum, and I fail to see where there are voices leading; they seem to be commenting after events, or they're observing and guessing, or they're just spitting rhetoric, but I can't put my finger on a single voice, only a cacophonous resonance that seems to vibrate on some commercial lid that keeps the genii in.I wonder, too, (a lot) about the relevancy of writing at all. Who is listening and who controls access. With the advent of the Internet are people now really more empowered than they used to be. I don't know why this is, but part of me is suspicious that even what we do or say or wrestle with as issues online isn't being manipulated by the pulling of the puppet's strings by the people who have always pulled them and always will. What bones are thrown to us to keep us semi-happy."Let them eat cake and blog." I did not say that. Helen of Troy did.I stay up late at night with other criminals and we ponder.I've been writing a novel lately with a lot of Greek God stuff in there, and it fascinates me that we don't really even know who Homer was. All we know is that he wrote two poems and both long after the fact. Of war. I don't know how or where you can separate social issues from literature. Both are messy and both interact in ways that would make a hermaphrodite seem quite tame and both in time become antiquities or dust.None of which means I don't wish you well because I do. Literature is maddening. Often, It seems to have a life force as tenuous as small, subatomic particles in string theory and we only surmise the particles are even there because we think we can measure the most minute of electically charged vibrations.Is it real.Another kind of blog, one more atuned to measurements that can be taken, versus nuance and metaphor would be more immediately reinforcing.I do wonder why people become involved with literature at all. It's nothing less than amazing that people care about it and want to control the direction it takes as if we all really believe in the backs of our minds that in the end it's what actually lives on, and is kept vibrant by people like Homer.Blind but the man could sing. I want to be optimistic and forward-looking and even hopeful. Do twenty blogs. But there's something that nags at the edges of my vision whose haunting voice like some Greek chorus keeps telling me that the light we think is light is not light, and that we have been in some long, dark age for some time, now, and the day will come when they go to dig up Troy and I really do wonder what stories of us will then resonate up ghost-like from the grave.

by judih. on

I like this!and as afterthought, Digging up words and finding fury buried in a sea of syllables - unleashed it tickles the tyrant and the servants dance upon a fiery encore.

by djrob1972 on

dual passionsLiterature, history and political science are all seperate, yet also paradoxically interlinked. I heartily recommend a book by historian W. Bruce Lincoln called BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL exploring the development of arts and literature in the context of history and politics over 1000 years of Russian history. This new blog is an exciting new venture- I look foward to contributing. I hope that persons from diverse ethnic, political and religious backgrounds are compelled to participate also.

by Situationist on

This sort of reminds me of my masters thesis. I'm writing a series of poems which are, in fact, meant to serve as commentaries on other war poems. I'm 3/4 done with the Illiad poem. Then I move on to Archilochous of Paros, then Catullus, and so on...

by peggy on

Politics and literatureI think this is great! Your new blog will be easier to link up with news and commentary sites, and possibly have a higher profile, which is desirable in the realm of politics. It would be great if literature was higher profile too but since it doesn't (usually) affect what we eat and who we're bothering, we may have to wait until the next utopia for that. Until then, vibrant subcultures R us. Anyway, congratulations on taking the plunge, and I look forward to seeing it!