Cobalt: You employ a lot of electronic media in your publishing business. What do you consider some of the most important tools for book publishers? How do you think social media has changed the landscape for book promotion?
Robinson: Well, I’ve been blogging since NPR was trying to figure out…
There was also a sense of work ethic amongst the writers who had their own blogs. No one was writing a zillion poems and ebooks and just putting them out every week. People were taking time, really perfecting their craft. The ebooks that were published through bearcreekfeed or Publishing Genius or wherever (even bear parade) really added up to something. No one wasted their time spewing out image macros, pretending that that made them a poet.
Oh yeah, and we also didn’t have assholes trying to give stupid names to their “movements” (2). What was so great about app. 2007-2009 is that there was definitely community and a willingness to be connected with writers that were all doing different things. It didn’t feel masturbatory or half-assed. It was a group of writers with some similarities, but mostly distinct voices, creating their own worlds. But now, every writer has the same fucking voice, it makes me sick. Goddamn, you guys. I think we all need to just take a break from the internet, write something real, and then come back and share.
There have always been these murmurings of group identity and trying to define what is going on with writers who use the internet as a primary means of publication and networking, but those have always been kind of batted down. But now broad generalizations and meaningless categorizations have been accepted and embraced and used as some sort of symbol of artistic merit. It feels like watching the mystics walking slowly toward their deaths by the sides of the alt lit skeksis. Not that some of the writers from the early days of the internet scene haven’t helped pushed it toward its own end (HTMLGIANT and the Lit Pub have certainly helped oversaturate and take the fun out of fucking it up on the internet).
Basically fuck alt lit and the new sincerity. If you have to give a name to what you’re doing to validate it then it probably wasn’t that interesting to begin with.
I hope I don’t sound bitter, and, if so, I probably am. I just miss the days when everyone was developing their own voice and building their own worlds of words. I look at the new scene and I see Steve Roggenbuck creating his own thing and everyone else simply following his lead. How do you get across that in art, there is only you and what you make? Or how is that not obvious? How does a person live with themselves and their poetry when their poetry is simply an imitation of someone else’s style? It’s fine to have influences, but influences should only be a point of reference in your own worldview and voice.
What happened to vision? Go eat a pigeon.
Also, thank you to Matthew for posting this. And to Adam Robinson for his greatness. Adam is truly one of the great ones. He continues to put out books that I love. I can’t tell you how many times in the last five years that I’d list multiple Publishing Genius books as some of my favorites of the year.