Thursday, May 22, 2008


For the past 2 weeks I've been the lucky test subject for an Amazon Kindle (That's me in the photo on a sun-drenched Bellingham beach)

I chose to download and read David Gilmour's memoir The Film Club. It's a wonderful book about time the author spent with his wayward teenage son watching and discussing movies. Aside from great movie trivia, and great ideas of what to watch - Gilmour was a Canadian film critic for years - it's an an extremely moving story.

Here's my report on the Kindle:

  • The Kindle is cool, lightweight, compact (10.3 ounces, 7.5 x 5 inches)
  • Electronic paper/ink gives incredible contrast - no eye strain
  • Wireless - it downloaded The Film Club in less than a minute
  • Fully searchable
  • Incredible battery life - only needed to charge it once
  • Over 120,000 book choices that Amazon has digitized, along with blogs, newspapers, etc.
  • 3 gig storage holds up to 200 books
  • Book prices are only around $9-$10
  • Displays graphics
  • Can use it on the treadmill easily - no need to hold it and turn pages
  • Adjustable font size for tired old eyes
  • Has a dictionary and rudimentary web look-up features
  • There are already a number of support blogs, etc. online

  • Cost - pricey at $400
  • Can't "borrow" books - have to buy novels, etc., which I usually don't buy
  • Navigation can be a bit tricky (menu-driven, but wording can be confusing - no obvious Help choice)
  • Navigation buttons (previous page, next page) are too large and poorly placed - I hit these inadvertently many times which took me from the page I was reading

  • Can it display color?
  • Can one download from sites like Project Gutenberg?

Overall Recommendation

This is by far the best e-book reader I've seen (I've tested some of the early readers), and the best marketed. I would certainly buy one given a few major changes: lower the price; fix the navigation buttons; and allow library check out of books so everything doesn't need to be purchased. But then again, I might buy one anyway. It's pretty cool.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Spam Poetry Critiques

I, like all the rest of y'all, receive spam, much of it quite poetic. The latest entry to arrive, submitted by Evelyn Mosely, a direct disciple of Apollinaire, is:

"To abstraction. Are
the fend, flourish. Are
itself dispenser."

(I provided the line breaks, which were obviously lost in the mail)

I've decided that it would be a shame, not to mention a substantial loss to the field of contemporary poetics, to toss these all in the Delete file. Henceforth I will be publishing them on this site, with critical annotation provided by some of the finest toasted-modern critical theorists.

Criticism for this lovely, yet subtly complex little pome was provided by none other than the literary scholar and critic Jeff Purdue, founder of the "Newer Criticism," and currently Poésie de Littérature de Licker de Pied D'idiot at the Sorbonney. It was with extreme luck and good fortune that we were able to harness (literally) Professor Purdue for this task, as his time is all but consumed with his latest tome, Derrida: Diddled, Sparred, Ligatured, and Placed in a Big Boat. Enough however, on to the critique.

Professor Purdue writes:

"In this poem, Ms. Moseley artfully echoes that supreme moment of self-abasement and overweening pride in Milton's Satan, when Milton declared 'Myself am hell.' Moseley's encomium to nothingness recognizes it as the ground of being, where individual subjectivities contest ("fend") and proliferate ("flourish"). All this activity happens parthogenetically, as a folding out of itself."

I concur, although I'm a bit skeptical about this parthogenesis stuff, and I'm not sure, for the sake of accuracy and clarity, that folding shouldn't be "fondling." But other than that, I think you'll agree it's masterful stuff.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Paul, how to be a luckier author

as the e-mail I just received states. I used to get e-mails telling me how to be a better writer, but they've apparently given up. Still, luck can't be discounted.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spring, and all

As the poet Basil Bunting once wrote, "The spuggies have (finally) fledged."