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Passions in Poetry

Heat and the internet

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Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea

0 posted 06-13-2000 01:13 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Robert Bly:

Heat in itself has been disappearing for some years from our English. It is said that in a single day in the United States more words appear on computer screens than are secreted in all the books in the Library Congress.  But as these words stream across our screens, freed from doubt or elegance, we can see that computer verbiage has become the model of cool and empty language.  I'm not making an original claim here; we all agree that the language of the chat rooms is empty.  It's as if some world-wide force were trying to free us all from literary style, and is succeeding. Many contemporary writers persuade themselves it is good not to have inwardness, not to have intensity, not to engage layers of meaning, not to have pungent phrasings, not to allow the heat of that sort of language that springs from the fight between God and the donkey.

--Seems a bit hyperbolic to me but does he have a point?


Senior Member
since 05-25-99
Posts 1391
Loomis, CA

1 posted 06-13-2000 03:22 AM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Seems to me that Mr. Bly may have read a few LOL's and ROTHLMAO, and a/s/l  on the computer screen.

Electronic media (visually enhanced, that is) has been usurping the power of the spoken and written word since its inception.  In times before radio, an average speech easily ranged from 45 minutes to three hours.  The rhetoric of these speeches was wonderful and kept the audience spellbound (usually) through their entirety.

The depths of meaning is public speech was astoundingly complex and the masses, for the most part, understood and appreciated it.  A good speech would often be disected in public houses, trading posts and other convient places for meeting and talking... Newspapers served to spread these words farther and faster, telegraph and then radio had the same effect.

TV, put a rather sudden stop to speech of old... within the span of 60 or so years, the length of the average speech plummeted, the depth of meaning likewise followed suit, and now days, anything written or spoken that lasts for more that two minutes is quickly forgotten or merely dismissed... the visual has superceded the oral, and the brain has seemed to lost its ability to comprehend.

Oh my... it seems that I am rambling once again... what was the question?

 Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.

"Everything is your own damn fault, if you are any good." E. Hemmingway

Member Elite
since 09-18-99
Posts 2641
Whole Sort Of Genl Mish Mash

2 posted 06-27-2000 09:42 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder


Sorry so late to this.  I think Mr. Bly has forgotten one EXTREMELY important point ... as long as there are lawyers there will ALWAYS be a remnent that finds layer after layer after layer of meaning in the simplest word.  

Seriously, I think Mr. Bly does have a point but I really don't think the "decline of style" is being exacerbated by the Internet.  Before shallow people chatted in shallow chat rooms, they hung out with real-life shallow friends and talked about shallow things.  At least now they are learning to type (I just wish more of them learned where their [SHIFT] key is!).  


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