Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Newsletter Sublime

Newsletters, for lack of better words, usually suck. We have them where I work. It tells me about various plants, awards for safety, and the equivalent of the elementary school attendence award, the "Ten Years of Service Commendations".

To be honest, its actually rather depressing to read. It's scope is provincial, and with the exception of health tips for losing weight, which as a feature of nearly every damn thing coming into print these days due to the quaintly expanded waistlines of America is quickly losing its consciousness value, it offers no real stimulation. This is a loss. This undercuts our culture and the future of out society. Every time ink hits paper it consumes funds and causes environmental concern (for more on that read Michael Boyko's article on Ec0-Publishing from a past issue of Tarpaulin Sky), so if there is no attempt to illustrate and enrich meaningful topics or issues, or to tie the short articles newsletter are made from into larger concerns, then the whole thing becomes a frivolous, wasteful exercise.

Now seeing as I have held this view for some time I didn't start jumping up and down when I got a free subscription to their newsletter after becoming a member of the Poetry Project.

The thing is, it's really great.

Listen to this bit on how poetry opposes the neo-conservative, economy-driven government from the most recent newsletter's Editor's column,

"The creation of poetry, by vitually all industrial models, contributes less to an economy than
any other activity... but beyond simply not contributing, poetry, regardless of its form and
content, actually weakens the economy. It relies on the willful idleness and free time of its
operatives, using resources designed to control people in ways counter to their design."

Isn't that wonderful. Damn, we're taking it the streets when we're sitting around scratching our foreheads with the pen cap. We're cool, no really, we're getting street cred (check out how cool here and here).
Brenden Lorber is the editor of the newsletter by the way.
He's the dude behind lungfull!(see column link).

For my part, being a denizen of the publication hell that is magazines, not only can I appreciate Lorber's comments, I go running and screaming to embrace them. Most magazines today are glorified catalogues. It's the few Vanity Fair's and Harper's, and occasionally the New Yorker(although if you read my last post you know I'm sorta pissed on them) which keeps the industry from tumbling completely into Fight Club's 'porn-replacing Ikea-nesting instinct' realm (although they are looking over the edge).

It's great because it's tying together in a mobius strip of product and idea everything that poetry needs to be about. It's idea feeding craft, craft feeding product, product feeding community, community feeding idea. My favorite part of the newsletter is the World News section, which features reports on the goings on of poetry from various points. It's a great way to see who is where and doing their part to reject the economy; to feel the culture and hopefully see it growing.

The newsletter is available for subscription if you're not NYC local, just check the projects website (also in links column).

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