Internet, Art & Literature: Transforming Cultural Realities – Ananya S Guha

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By Ananya S Guha

The interface of the www, the internet and Literature is a growing phenomenon today. They are intersecting in the manner of the text and the hypertext, the real and the virtual. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, it is more cost effective to have e-zines or websites promoting quality creative writing. Secondly editorial decisions are quicker although many e-zines are patterned on the model of conventional journals having time bound submissions such as Autumn, Spring, Fall and Winter. But the important point is that of quality and many e-zines maintain minimum standards of quality and selectin by acknowledged writers. Editorial standards determine the quality of journals and magazines; the web has become a source of creative writing, and creative dissemination of ideas, poetry for example has become highly enhanced today as an art form due to such realities: cross fertilization and hybridization of real and the virtual. We have e-books and cyber anthologies. It puts creative writing not only on wider base but even more interactive as Social Networking sites have blogs where the writer can post his/her writing for comments and there is a kind of common ownership between reader and writer; an intertextuality of sorts. Such an intersection is significant for feedback and the text and the hypertext become subliminal entities. Also writing becomes more impromptu, and ‘natural’ if one may contend so, The Facebook Notes page adds to such a wonder as peers praise and criticize openly. Creative writing blogs are the first phase of an e-zine or a website. Many blogs graduate into e-zines or websites where in addition to creative writing there is information on journals, sites, conferences, publishers etc.

 

This new wave of creative writing has put to the fore many Indian creative writers in poetry and, writing in English; writers who otherwise may have gone unnoticed. An interesting feature, which is rather bemusing is the ‘anonymity’ of the editor(s), many a time a reply is given mentioning only “editor” or “editors” and somehow the locale of the journal is disturbed transcending barriers of time, place and space. It matters not what and where the geographical locale is: what matters is the text, its quality and not the context. The context is diffused into a subversion of realities, real time is challenged as also cultural space. Culture is a shared reality transforming it into a world space, world culture. These open spaces challenge creativity into the timeless, the spaceless as opposed to the temporal. Moreover the internet also is a focus and platform of commingling of cultural dimensions such as poetry, music and artwork. Many e-zines are consiously promoting such a concept, in the process radicalizing art forms. This amalgation of art forms together with concepts like poetry for performance has made the internet a respository of creative resources. One such e-zine with a trans-disciplinary aproach is Eye Socket Journal published from the USA.

My first experience of reading a cyber anthology of poetry is www.othervoicespoetry.org which is collated and edited by an American poet Roger Humes. This is a gargantuan task as it is a continuing edition of World Poetry.

The cyber world has made daunting forays into the worlds of art, creativity and literature, or conversely. Poetry and writing poetry is rejuvenated and emancipated from market forces of contemporary literature, especially fiction, which has become dominant market force.

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