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I am just about to slip off the homepage of DVBlog, which is not to say my videos won’t be accessible there, just that time flies. Two sections of “Vex” and “Ferrari Dogs” have been featured there for the past couple of weeks.

There’s a rather curious assessment of my work, too. Something along the lines of “I thought it sucked, but now I think it’s great,” which in some ways I find more reassuring than a straight “I think this is great.” Why?

Anyway, check it out. This is a really great site, I check it everyday (I’m downloading three new videos now.)

http://dvblog.org/

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I posted a notice on FSC about these videos below.

Digital Literature has just taken the long anticipated “great leap forward” with the appearance of the beta version (and book) of Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler-Henry’s “The Apostrophe Engine.” A simple idea that makes a lot of funky.

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I know this blog can seem at times as little more than a testament to my big ego. Like, let me tell you the story about the fishing tropy AGAIN… etc. Luckily, I’ve never won a literary (or any) award in my life, with the exception of a contest on TV trivia that nabbed me my first computer, a Vic 20, in 1980 or something like that.

In any case, here is something that appeared recently, a review of several of my chapbooks by the poet Stan Mir. All of the material he writes about will eventually appear in the What Is Said to the Poet, so I guess it’s fitting this goes up with the cover below. The review appears in the online journal Fascicle, link below.

MATTER ORDERED TO BE MADE
Five Recent Chapbooks by Brian Kim Stefans

Stan Mir

The term chapbook first dawned in the minds of the poor reading public in the early nineteenth century. Its name derives from the itinerant pedlars, chapmen, who sold them. Circulation of these quaint books began as early as the sixteenth century when one was likely to find short versions of tales such as Jack the Killer and Tom Thumb usually illustrated with a few crude woodcuts. By 1800 children’s tales such as Mother Hubbard and Cock Robin were produced. Typically, they were badly written and printed. Most interestingly, these books preserved the imaginative literature in countries like England and France when the ideological climate was hostile to the fantastic.

While our political climate is hostile to any sound idea, let alone any fantastic work of the imagination, it can’t be said that our cultural climate lacks familiarity with the fantastic or the rational. After all, we have to observe from afar the doings of our government. Within our time we have all types of artist producing work that manipulates the wash of information, and this information’s errata, we experience daily. Through the rearrangement of these daily artifacts we come to understand how we might arrange ourselves within a culture. With this in mind the chapbook remains one of the viably interesting ways for the artist’s presentation of order. These little books are like biopsies of larger bodies that not only allow the writer to see more clearly, but grant readers the permission to make diagnoses as well.

Into the midst of this era that co-opts more of our attention than we realize Housepress of Calgary published Brian Kim Stefans’ POEM FORMERLY KNOWN AS “TERRORISM” and other poems.1 In the background of these poems one hears a modern soundtrack that remixes the odd phrases of a questionnaire with the data of the news, as in “ ‘Islamabad’ is not an adequate response”, utilizes the quotidian quirkiness of “They’re putting a new door in”, which has physical as well as metaphysical significance, as in a door to another dimension perhaps, and reinvents other languages, as in “Feliz Navidada”.

Continues at: http://www.fascicle.com/issue02/essays/mir1.htm

I didn’t think the site would get so popular so soon… but someone has been so kind as to create a mirror of the site in, I don’t know, Germany?

http://www.unbehagen.com/mirror2/mirror.php?url=www.arras.net/fscIII/

It’s definitely worth checking out.

This one reminds me of my Flash Polaroids… and it’s named after a Robert Altman film.

Three Woman

I count more than three, don’t you?

Other fun things from the Scenes of Provincial Life

I once made the joke that the Four Horsemen — the sound poetry group that included Steve McCaffery, Paul Dutton, bpNichol and Rafael Barreta-Rivera– would be appearing in NY at my digital poetry event. What I really meant was that these guys – which I found on a Swedish children’s site that I highly recommend for adults – would be appearing.

Click away and be treated to a fabulous sound poetry concert in the tradition of the Ursonate and Meredith Monk, with a touch of Steve Reich’s Tehillim. (I don’t know why I can’t make it bigger…)

Here’s an essay that went online in my time between blogs. It began as a response to Chapter Six of First Person, “The Pixel/The Line,” which Noah Wardrip-Fruin invited me to contribute to electronic book review’s version of that text.

http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/databased

First Person: New Media as Story, Performance and Game, edited by Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan, was published in January 2004. Here is the blurb intro thingie from their website:

Electronic games have established a huge international market, significantly outselling non-digital games; people spend more money on The Sims than on “Monopoly” or even on “Magic: the Gathering.” Yet it is widely believed that the market for electronic literature — predicted by some to be the future of the written word — languishes. Even bestselling author Stephen King achieved disappointing results with his online publication of “Riding the Bullet” and “The Plant.”

Isn’t it possible, though, that many hugely successful computer games — those that depend on or at least utilize storytelling conventions of narrative, character, and theme — can be seen as examples of electronic literature? And isn’t it likely that the truly significant new forms of electronic literature will prove to be (like games) so deeply interactive and procedural that it would be impossible to present them as paper-like “e-books”? The editors of First Person have gathered a remarkably diverse group of new media theorists and practitioners to consider the relationship between “story” and “game,” as well as the new kinds of artistic creation (literary, performative, playful) that have become possible in the digital environment.

This landmark collection is organized as a series of discussions among creators and theorists; each section includes three presentations, with each presentation followed by two responses. Topics considered range from “Cyberdrama” to “Ludology” (the study of games), to “The Pixel/The Line” to “Beyond Chat.” The conversational structure inspired contributors to revise, update, and expand their presentations as they prepared them for the book, and the panel discussions have overflowed into a First Person web site (created in conjunction with the online journal Electronic Book Review).

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Shanna Compton of Soft Skull Press has put up a .pdf of the first and only book of poems by Joan Murray, selected for the Yale Younger Poets award by W.H. Auden back in the day. I have more to write about Murray’s poems, but for now, I think you should check it out.

http://www.shannacompton.com/half-empty.html

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I’ve gone a little blog wild lately. I’ve spent most of today creating a blog for the course I teach at Brown University, Electronic Writing II. It’s actually, in a very short time, become a much better resource than arras.net for links to electronic writing on the web, though perhaps not as tied to my taste (it’s a learning tool after all).

http://www.arras.net/brown_ewriting/

It’s a work in progress. Soon, you will be able to see my students work from last semester and the semester to come.

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