I love my fifth-generation iPod. It's 30-gigs, black, named Othello. I take it practically everywhere, often to the chagrin of my companions. But their groans of protest matter little to me. Othello has improved my quality of life dramatically. Since it's acquisition, my bench-press weight has increased fantastically, no more suffering through Hall & Oates in the supermarket, and in the evenings, Al Green is a scroll away. Of course there is a downside: my driving record has endured a precipitous blow.
My point being that I'm decidedly not an anti-technology guy. I dig my 21st century toys, and as I make clear above, I fetishise my digital music player. That said, I am impassionedly against digital readers of any kind (at least for those with better than 20/200 eyesight). Devices such as Amazon Kindle represent the dark side of technological advance. Eviscerating the romance from the loins of literature is something I will never quietly let slide. Amazon Kindle is an abomination.
A quick story. I attended a book festival recently. Forget the "featured author readings" or the gratuitous literary wares; I go for the rare/used book flea market. There are few more satisfying experiences than digging through the sandpit of Emeril Lagasse cookbooks, Tony Robbins motivational tomes, and twenty editions of The Devil Wears Prada to find buried underneath a true pearl. In this particular case, it was a hardcover edition Elbert Hubbard's Little Journeys to the Homes of English Authors: Robert Burns.
The pages are as thick as impecunious wedding invitations, the binding smells of the 19th century. It contains no publication date but research revealed that Hubbard perished on the
. At the latest, this book's origins coincide with my late grandmother's birth. Who knows whose hands this book has passed through, what history it's seen. The imagination trembles. And now, in 2009, the book is mine (for an outrageous $2) to possess into posterity. How can Amazon Kindle ever stand up to that? It doesn't, it can't, it won't. Thank goodness! Lusitania
I leave with you with the first page of Little Journeys: Robert Burns:
The business of Robert Burns was love-making.
All love is good, but some kinds of love are better than others. Through Burns' penchant for falling in love we have his songs. A Burns bibliography is simply a record of love affairs, and the spasms of repentance that followed his lapses are made manifest in religious verse.
Poetry is the very earliest form of literature, and is the natural expression of a person in love; and I suppose we might as well admit the fact at once, that without love there would be no poetry.
Poetry is the bill and coo of sex. All poets are lovers, and all lovers, either actual or potential, are poets. Potential poets are the people who read poetry; and so without lovers the poet would never have a market for his wares.