Saturday, August 18, 2007

Was I too dismissive of e-missives?

I thought I'd mention the George Bowering interview conducted by Rachel Loden over e-mail for Jacket Magazine. In addition to it being a fascinating interview from a content perspective, I wanted to mention it because of my earlier post about e-mail interviews. Here, Loden's meandering digressions lay bare that an interview is a conversation.

I didn't mean in my original post to be curmudgeonly about technology. Here, it's clear that dozens of e-mails passed between the two, rather than Bowering simply being provided with a list. Well, maybe conversation is a bit of a misnomer—I suppose it's more like literary correspondence, which still has its limitations (Bowering is still able to dodge a number of questions, or else answer slyly) but I think it reads better. You be the judge.

The other reason I thought I'd mention it is because of something from Maud Newton's blog I saw on bookninja the other day about how Internet writing gets no respect, which made me immediately flip to Jacket Magazine, the most overwhelming e-magazine for literary types. Jacket doesn't have a print component. You can read John Tranter's manifesto on Jacket here.

"Weird things happen to capitalism on the Internet. Think of one of those pink rubber kitchen gloves. If you pull a (pink) right-handed kitchen glove inside out, you get a (silver) left-handed glove. That’s what the Internet does to capitalism: it pulls it inside out," he says.

There's a generosity of spirit that I can't quite pin down in the (web)pages of Jacket. Their decision to make every first-rate essay, review and interview available for free – even their thirty-something archive issues: it warms my heart.

The other thing about the Bowering interview being solely an online output is that, free from page-length limitations, it's over 8000 words long. Fuck yeah.

Speaking of which, I'm halfway through An English Gentleman, the Sky Gilbert novel James Moran mentioned he was so smitten with at last week's reading. I'll post more when
I'm finished it.