Student blogs: Breadhead, The Unbook

Couple more student blogs for ya. They’re having some trouble, truth be told, not all but many are, sustaining their blogs as a steady discipline, without any deadlines from me. I was clear when I concocted this project, that’d be part of the challenge, the drive and momentum would need to come all from them. It’s a 400-level course. They’re to go out in the world soon. The work here is maturation and self-direction.

Now, I get it, I do. They’ve got accumulating loans, part- (or, incredibly, full-) time jobs, crazy heavy course loads, personal crises, roommates melting down. Too they’ve grown up in a multifactoral technological surround that makes concentration well nigh impossible. But, counterargument, to stay in distraction’s a choice, you can turn off the iPod, walk away from the roomie.

There ends my highminded plaint, of the “kids these days” variety.

Want also to say, the group’s gelled really nicely, even if I’m a bit pissy on the state of the blogs. Some of them have been having a hard time; I too have been having a hard time. It seems to have made us good to, appreciative of, each other. How nice is that.

So here are a couple of blogs I think have found their natures well.

One takes bread, the making and breaking and sharing of bread, as its metaphor for what happens in poetry, communion in words. It also has a lot of fun finding faces in toast.

Jacob has a lively quirky slantwise imagination – he may be a distant cousin of M. Dada – and his cutups and breakdowns are very worth checking out. If I have a hope for this blog, it’s that heel (sorry!) find something verbal to do with or near the toastposts … they’re fun and pleasing in themselves, but I feel like there’s some mischievous potential here, not yet tapped into.

If the one blog points back to anciency, our oldest communion, this other points into futurity, asking what the book might be, once fully undone by digitality. Donald’s proposal, and think he’s right, is that we haven’t thought the question very far through.

E-books are not the future. E-books are just the past put on touch screens, it’s still black on white, left to right, top to bottom. And that’s not bad. But I think we can do better….

Why must books be linear? Why do they have to be the same every time? Why does reading have to be a solitary endeavor?  At one point they stop being books and become something else. Something untapped, unrestricted and undone. Untapped, because there is more to books than books. Unrestricted, because they are given freedom from the restrictions of physicality. Undone, so they can be redone.

I give you, then, the concept of the UnBook. A book unleashed by technology.

Thinking on the question is going on, though. UbuWeb doesn’t have a dedicated section on digital texts but possibilities are scattered all through. And my own English Department’s Bellingham Review has an online issue in the works, due out fall 2016, on “The Kinetic Page.” So stay tuned all y’all.


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I write draw teach blog in and from the Pacific Northwest of America.

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