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Monday, January 07, 2008

What is a Lit-Blog? Further Notes Towards a Taxonomy or, Herewith a Whole Bunch of Fuzzily Overlapping Categories

Re: blogs as a new literary genre: I'm going to be chairing a panel at the Washington Independent Writers conference (held at American University), Washington DC, this February 9th. So, what is a "litblog"? According to Madam Mayo, who is still, after nearly two years of blogging, trying to get her mind around the concept, literary blogs, or "lit-blogs" include:

#1. Writers's & poets's blogs
These focus on the writer or poet's own work, and whatever happens to interest them. Some focus tightly on their own work (ego city); others are more expansive (others do exist...). In my view, the best are not only well written but rich with information and links. Some examples of writer's and poet's blogs:
Madam Mayo (Yours Truly)
E-Notes (E. Ethelbert Miller)
Tod Goldberg
Chicks Dig Poetry (Sandra Beasley)
Moorish Girl (Laila Lailami)
Quid Plura? (Jeff Sypeck)
Composite (Liz Henry)

Already it begins to get fuzzy because we might ask, well, what's "literary"? Does that include just strictly literary writers or all kinds of writers? Nina Planck, for example, is a food writer, with a (very good, I might add) book about "real food." So is hers a "lit-blog" sub-category "writer's blog"? You decide.

#2. Blogs that are more generally about literature and the literary community / literary book business (note, many of these can also be considered "writers's and poets's blogs")

(a) Writing workshops / creativity
Work in Progress (Leslie Pietrzyk)
The Daily 5 Minute Writing Exercise (by Yours Truly--- no longer updated, but archives available on-line)

(b) book news, reviews, and literary community blogs
Arts & Letters Daily
La Bloga
The Happy Booker (Wendi Kaufman)
Maud Newton
Conversational Reading (Scott Esposito)
Critical Mass (National Book Critics Circle blog)
The Millions
The Old Hag
Paper Cuts (New York Times book blog)

(Herein are an infinity of possible subcategories--- Chicano, Latino, African-American, childrens, sci- fi, historical novel, magical realism, etc.)

(c) by literary agents
Miss Snark (Discontinued--- alas! Oh, it was snarky...)

(d) by literary translators
ALTALK (American Literary Translation Association blog)
Poet in New York (Mark Statman)

(e) by librarians
Tiny Little Librarian
Judge a Book by Its Cover
Library Bitch
Naked in the Public Library

(f) by book PR / marketing specialists
Buzz, Balls & Hype (M.J. Rose)
Rejection is My Middle Name (Peter Handel)

(g) by publishers
Right Reading (Thomas Christensen)
Unbridled Books News Blog (Fred Ramey)
Bullets of Love (Vrzhu)
Home Schooled by a Cackling Jackal (Reb Livington)
32 Poems (Deborah Ager)

More anon...

--->For an archive of my previous posts on litblogs, click here.