I'm psyched to be included in an impressive series of interviews about the Beat Generation conducted by Michael Limnios at Blues @ Greece, a Greek web publication devoted to underground music and culture.
Please write us a poem today. Anything you want to get out of your system? Any thoughts you want to send into the public stream, either about election day 2012 or whatever else is on your mind?
The new integrated version of Litkicks Action Poetry is still not ready (it'll be here soon), but here's a simple thread for anybody with a verse or a rhyme or a message to share.
Eleven years ago, a Litkicks reader posted a suggestion: could I create a free poetry board on this site? I thought it sounded like fun, and thus Action Poetry was born. I added a twist by inviting readers of each contributed poem to write short poems in response.
12,000 poems later, I've had to temporarily shut down the Action Poetry stream for the technical redesign of the site (which, you may have noticed, is still in progress, which is why the design of these pages keeps changing a bit every day). Several friends of Litkicks have asked me how long it will take to bring the poetry board back. The truth is, I am slowing down the restoration on purpose, because I want to rethink the whole thing.
After spending two months redesigning Literary Kicks and migrating it from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7, I asked my wife Caryn what she thought of the new look. "It looks the same as before," she said.
That really made me laugh, because it's true. I spent two months trying out about ten new themes, two different responsive/mobile strategies and at least three crazy ideas about completely reinventing the look and feel of the blog. I then ended up choosing a design/layout structure that strongly resembled the layout and design that was in place before. I guess I don't like to screw with a formula that works.
But, even if the difference isn't obvious, I've made significant improvements in the site's content architecture which will allow me to keep digging deeply into my archives, cross-pollinating by taxonomy and various metadata, and adapting to new reader devices and display formats. Most importantly, the entire site is now fully HTML5. If you don't know much about HTML5, you might have at least caught a glimpse of one of its champions, Tim Berners-Lee, a long-time tech hero of mine, at the London Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Articles by Year
- Litkicks articles from 2013
- Litkicks articles from 2012
- Litkicks articles from 2011
- Litkicks articles from 2010
- Litkicks articles from 2009
- Litkicks articles from 2008
- Litkicks articles from 2007
- Litkicks articles from 2006
- Litkicks articles from 2005
- Litkicks articles from 2004
- Litkicks articles from 2003
- Litkicks articles from 2002
- Litkicks articles from 2001
- Litkicks articles from 2000
- Litkicks articles from 1999
- Litkicks articles from 1998
- Litkicks articles from 1997
- Litkicks articles from 1996
- Litkicks articles from 1995
- Litkicks articles from 1994
Old Message Boards: From January 2001 to July 2004, we ran a variety of message boards, which are now archived.
(More archive pages coming very soon!)
Literary Kicks launches a new design and layout today. I'll write more about that shortly, but for now I'm just glad to be blogging again after a hiatus of nearly two months. My primary goal for the new design is to allow a more natural and spontaneous flow of content on the site, and in the spirit of natural and spontaneous content, here's a great piece of writing by Jack Kerouac: his Belief & Techniques For Modern Prose.
This thirty-point program was tossed off by Kerouac in 1958 in a private (and probably drunken) letter from Kerouac to a friend, but it has become one of his most popular texts. I think of the Beliefs & Techniques often. I didn't have a wireframe for this new site redesign ... but Jack Kerouac's words will serve as a symbolic wireframe for what I hope the new version of the site will be.
Belief and Techniques For Modern Prose
1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
My name is Levi Asher. This is me, and that's my guitar and my son and my book collection.
I created Literary Kicks in July 1994, and have been running it continuously (with occasional short sanity breaks) ever since. Litkicks is about literature ... and also about philosophy, art, history, religion, society, culture, music, politics, technology, nature, psychology, life. The articles are written by either me or one of several great contributors. If you have an idea for an article, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We always love to get your feedback via comments to every piece we publish.
in the middle of the journey of the life we share together
i became lost in the woods, and could not find the correct path
Dante, the Divine Comedy
I am not actually lost in the woods, though I know I promised to finish the redesign and relaunch of Literary Kicks by early September, and I'm running late. The project is going well, but I'll need at least another full week before the new thing is ready to drop.
Here's the real honest truth: I'm enjoying the break from blogging. I decided to allow myself to take my time with the technical redesign, because ... well, I've been blathering on this infernal website for a whole long time. Sometimes I just want to be stop blogging for a couple of weeks.
You may find this hard to believe, but I sometimes just want to be silent. Silence is a good thing. The latter-day Beat poet Bob Kaufman once took a vow of silence for 10 years, whereas I'm pretty sure Litkicks will be back in the next two weeks.
The Literary Kicks upgrade/redesign is progressing well. I'm on a rare family vacation out on Long Island, catching up on my reading and thinking (sometimes it feels great to just take in, to not be writing) and I'm looking forward to coming back refreshed in early September.
Meanwhile, up in the real world, some people are asking if Mitt Romney's selection of enthusiastic Ayn Rand follower Paul Ryan as his running mate represents the closest Ayn Rand has ever come to the White House, the zenith of her influence on American politics. Actually, Ayn Rand has been in the White House, and in Congress, and all over Washington DC, for nearly 40 years now.
Ronald Reagan was a Randian (though the fiercely independent Ayn Rand herself refused to salute him back). Trickle-down economics -- the idea that government policies should favor the wealthy, ignore the middle and lower classes and "allow the rising tide to lift all boats" -- is Rand's economic philosophy in action. This unfortunate and dangerous ideology, which culminated in the ruinous financial crash of 2007/2008, has dominated federal economic policy since the 1980s. Even the supposedly liberal administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have barely managed to make a dent in the trickle-down system. The fact that President Obama's call for the wealthiest Americans to pay more taxes is controversial (I think it's a no-brainer that wealthy Americans need to pay more taxes, and begin to pay off the deficit they voted for) shows the powerful presence of trickle-down policy in American economics today.
The photo at the top of this page shows Ayn Rand and her close friend and prize student Alan Greenspan, along with their spouses, visiting President Gerald Ford in 1974. Alan Greenspan had just been appointed chairman of Ford's council of economic advisors, and would eventually go on to run the Federal Reserve Bank under Ronald Reagan. Greenspan was not a strict Objectivist -- a strict Objectivist could never endure the endless compromises of real-world politics -- but his vision of deregulated and hyper-charged American capitalism was highly consistent with Ayn Rand's economic philosophy. That was nearly forty years ago. The important question today isn't whether or not Paul Ryan intends to bring Ayn Rand into the White House. The important question is: what do we have to do to finally get Ayn Rand out of the White House, and out of Congress?
I'm off for a month of rest and rethinking. As I've mentioned before, Litkicks is going to go through some changes before it returns in early September. The main goal of the redesign is to enable a more natural flow of content on the site, and to allow the site to do more of what works and less of what doesn't. I'm still sketching out the basic plan, but here's a slightly more detailed breakdown of the changes I have in mind:
Literary news and essays. This will remain the primary purpose of the site, though we'll be posting shorter pieces at a faster rate on the new version, along with the regular stream of longer pieces by myself and excellent contributors like Michael Norris, David Richardson, Claudia Moscovici, Alan Bisbort, Garrett Kenyon, Dan Barth, newcomer Tara Olmsted and hopefully other new voices too. The main change in this area will be a bifurcated design for content: there will be one stream of short, newsy blasts and another stream of more substantial writings. I think this will help the site a lot. As for the style and sensibility of the literary coverage, that will stay exactly the same: opinions, observations and research.