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BlazeVOX [books]
Cleaning the Mirror
by Joel Chace
(BlazeVOX , 2008)



I'm resisting the impulse to use a Phoenix metaphor--but yes, the rumours are true. 5_trope is back.

In the old days, I might have commented here on the problem of a left poetry in the digital age, or even of an experimental writing in the age of twitter and facebook--but all of that seems to me by now a well-traveled marketplace of ideas. We hear that twitter is killing grammar and that facebook shortens our lifespan, or kills real friendship, or that myspace hastens the encroachment of experience onto innocence in our children. It seems like one symptom of the age of information is not merely that the globe is smaller as McLuhan predicted, but that we hop frantically from one moral panic to the next, always knowing that a moment later the "new threat to our innocence" will be some novel media form not yet imaginable. In a way, feeling unsettled is the new security blanket of the 21st century; we cannot settle down to bed until we are sure of our next information crisis, or at least until we are confident that there will be one. And after all, the alternative is still more terrifying: is twitter the end of the line? Is this IT?! Is this what Marshall McLuhan was preparing us for--that the ultimate resting place for the information age was this celebration--and yes, elevation--of mundanity and utter alienation from one another, from ourselves, from the subject, from experience?

All of which is not to harsh on the twitter buzz--but I do hope that 5_trope offers an alternative--here, we still feel that there are hidden vistas in the world of text. Not to elevate the art work--not to insist on permanence, or authenticity--but our task is to insist that language still matters, and that moreover, it is our medium. Consider this offering: the multimedia entries of virtuoso videographers Nico Vassilakis and Norman Ball; the visual poetry of Jeff Crouch and Diana Magallon; the various commentaries and offerings from our authors who work in the still-vibrant medium of text, here asking you to read their work for that trace, that tiny vibration of the gut that for all of us defines the act of poetry. And in the words of Gertrude Stein: "if you enjoy it, you understand it." Enjoy.




editor's note

gunnar benediktsson, ed.