Saturday, December 6, 2008

Go South for Animal Index: the type/manuscript

I've begun the process of posting up the life of Poetry Scores in the years before blogspot. Since I posted up Stefene Russell's poem Go South for Animal Index, which we scored and released in 2007 with an Art Invitational, along with her essay about the poem and my essay about the score, a number of interesting things have happened.

A St. Louis law firm read every page on this site. If you post a stat counter and track your readers, you notice this from time to time. It could be a lawyer who likes your stuff (most of the lawyers I know personally are smart people and serious readers). And it could be someone on retainer who has an intern or junior counsel Googling a client's name every day and policing the blogosphere.

Since this firm discovered us the same day I posted up Stefene's essay, and a Google search revealed the firm to have represented a certain powerful corporate client on some cases concerning toxic waste, and this firm is name-checked in Stefene's essay regarding its negligent handling of nuclear materials, I think it's due diligence on the part of the law firm, representing its client's interests. I alerted Stefene, who has her documents assembled to post up here, should our little arts org endure the indignity of a "cease and desist" order.

It's good to think about these things. I'm preparing to coteach a workshop on blogging for KDHX Community Media, and my volunteer advice will include the caveat that the interconnectivity of the internet makes every individual blog as potentially damaging - and, therefore, as dangerous - to corporations and polticians as the most powerful professional media source. That's all the more true because the pros are reading the amateurs constantly. The Post-Dispatch is currently lifting a series on beer straight off a very impressive local blog, STL Hops, to cite one of countless examples.

Also, I was reminded in posting up Stefene's essay on her poem that she had contributed the original manuscript of Go South to The Skuntry Museum, Library, Beer Cellar & Prop Shop, which I curate in my basement. She mentions this in the first paragraph. It inspired me to give the museum manuscript collection a good sort this morning, and to scan the second page of the original Go South (the first page having been scanned when I curated the donation, it seems).

This fragile document - techinically speaking, it's a hybrid of manuscript (inscribed in the author's own hand) and typescript (typed by the author's own hands) - is enormously valuable to me. When the rest of the world catches up on Stefene's peculiar, clairvoyant genius, it may become valuable to someone else. I see the University of Utah in her native Salt Lake City has a manuscript collection.

One day, when Stefene and I are dead and gone (I'm in no hurry to fulfill these conditions ...), let's hope the manuscript curator at the J. Willard Marriott Library offers my daughter a jackload of money for this type/manuscript (to add to its Stefene Russell Papers), that Leyla prays on the offer, Googles her old man to see if he ever expressed any opinions on the matter, finds this post, and encounters the following advice: Only if you really need the money, honey!

The Skuntry Museum's manuscript collection is available for viewing by appointment. It is best accessed from Milo, the most comfortable chair on Earth. That's the poet herself perusing the collection from her perch on Milo at a recent Museum Mixer; photo courtesy of Thom Fletcher, Museum curator in charge of robot parts.

No comments: