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“We’re Desperate for these Conversations”

     The “spoken word” tour of the blogosphere continues.  Here is the poet and provocateur Jim Behrle’s walk around the blog landscape–for poets.  You can check Jim’s own blog (as I do, every few hours) at Jim’s Monkey.  Jim is master of the revels at the Wordsworth bookstore in Harvard Square, also a Red Sox fan, a skillful writer in many modes, a well-known literary connector.  His blog runs from the borderline offensive to the lyrical.  It’s always on, often hilarious, plugged in to hundreds of other blogging poets.  So he seemed like the right guy to check the pulse of electronic poetry half-hidden behind the bookshelves in the heart of academe.

     The atmosphere of poetic blogspace is different from, shall we say, the Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.  It feels, as I said to Jim in conversation, like the back of the classroom in junior high school: the place where the liberated, funny,  cool, dangerous, expressive cats hang out rather noisily.  But it’s also amazingly populous, energized, connected, confident, full of its own vision.  So what is it like living there? How can the very deliberate distillations that go into a poem–the deliciously slow transformation of language and life that draw us to poetry in the first place–be delivered  and absorbed at hyperlink speed? Or have we started an altogether new game?

     There will be more of this tour next week, and you can help me sharpen it up.  Eugene Volokh of the esteemed Volokh Conspiracy will walk me through his space on Monday.  I told him I want to ask: How is this famous fount of legal opinions to be compared with: a law firm?  a law school?  a law review?  Lawyer’s Weekly?  Who do you reach?  Who will you reach a year from now?  Is there money in it?  Are we having fun? 

   Please email me ( if you have your own questions for Eugene Volokh or if you’d like to join the conversation yourself. 

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