not real matter

The internet has done some wonderful things but, in my opinion, publishing is not one it does well. Since I began reading, my fascination with the written word has been as much with texts as it has been with book (or print) objects, which I view as physical manifestations of language. Analogous with digital music, the digital poem is not real matter, but a collection of ordered ones and zeros translated into a form our eyes can understand. You can not hold a digital poem in your hand, smell the ink, or feel the grit of the paper between your fingers. These tactile pleasures are equal to the interpretation of content in how I experience poetry. Books and broadsides can live for hundreds of years, can be read far into the future. How long can we honestly expect the internet to last before it devours itself?

- Geoffrey Nilson, in conversation with Shazia Hafiz Ramji over on the Invisible Press blog. You can read the whole thing here.

No comments: