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SpringGun Press and the Future of Electronic Literature

Electronic literature continues to be an invigorating and compelling branch of contemporary poetics.  If you are unfamiliar with Electronic Literature, check out the

Any Vision from SpringGun Press on Vimeo.

and for an excellent interactive sample of elit, check out Serge Bouchardon and Vincent Volckaert's Loss of Grasp.

Recently, SpringGun Press has emerged as a forerunner in making e-literature more readily available to the public; more importantly, they have raised the bar in the quality of this multifaceted aesthetic.  Concerning SpringGun's print publications, I have talked at length about Michael Flatt's gorgeous first book Absent Receiver at the Poetry Society of America's site.  SpringGun's editorial choices for both print and digital publications reflects a desire for works to possess lyrical control, passion (whether exhibited in form or content), and, what I also hope to find in avant poetics, an inquiry that is not the rehashing of tired questions (narrative vs avant, the authentic vs the inauthentic, original vs unoriginal, Yoda vs the Emperor) but recognizes contemporary poetics' heterogeneity and the multiplicity of its critical endeavors (that is, Welcome to the Rhizome).

I was lucky enough to spend time with editors Erin Costello and Mark Rockswold earlier this month.  I asked them about e-literature, the difficulties of starting a small press and, importantly, where they would like to see e-literature go in the future of the genre.  Their answers were honest, funny, and generous.

What I found compelling is Erin's and Mark's desire for elit to demonstrate a kind of mastery of the forms composing the work and, if mastery isn't possible, a desire for the individual to step outside the ego and collaborate in order to not make, as Costello phrased it, purely a "novel" or "fetish object."  Novelty is a short-lived pleasure and it too often finds sanctuary and validation where it should be interrogated most.  I'm always happy to find a press willing to pursue the pertinent questions.

An Interview with SpringGun Press by J. Michael Martinez

Who is SpringGun Press?

Why start a small press?

What have been some difficulties running a small press?


What are some of your critical concerns in electronic literature?

What would you like to see happen in the future of E-lit?

 

Originally Published: April 30th, 2014

J. Michael Martinez was born in Greeley, Colorado. He earned his BA from the University of Northern Colorado and his MFA from George Mason University. His first collection of poetry, Heredities (2010), received a Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Judge Juan Felipe Herrera chose the book...

  1. May 4, 2014
     Recent Article at Harriet, the blog of the Poetry Foundation: “SpringGun Press and the Future of Electronic Literature” | ENG 209:05

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