Friday, July 2, 2010

The Future of Literature

The current issue of Smithsonian magazine is themed on 40 things to know about the next 40 years. One of the 40 things they cover is the future of literature, based on the opinions of Rita Dove, 1993 poet laureate of the United States. I found her thoughts to be quite interesting and decided to share. Part 1 of 3.

What is the future of literature?

With the advent of technology and cyberspace and iPads and Kindle, I feel change happening even at the level of composition. In the past, a reader had to rely upon the author to supply all the details of what it was like to hike in Nepal, let's say. Thanks to search engines, now you can quickly look it up, and that is going to change the way literature is written.

How will blogs, YouTube and other technology affect authors?

The intimacy that literature affords--that feeling that you are really in the head of characters portrayed--used to be almost the private privilege of plays, novels and poetry. Now there's another place that has it--be it blogs, Facebook or Twitter--and it gives you second-by-second accounts. That does not diminish the power of literature, because literature is shaped intimacy. For the writer, it raises the bar, as it should. The very fact that we can be found at any moment, through a cell phone or whatever, changes the way plot will work. How many plots were dependent upon the fact that a note had to be passed here or there or that someone didn't answer the phone.

(Image credit)

Scripture of the Day: Hebrews 12:7

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