The Creative Writing Program • Department of English • University of Texas at San Antonio • One UTSA Circle • San Antonio, TX 78249
AMERICAN LETTERS & COMMENTARY

Co-Editors

David Ray Vance
Catherine Kasper


Editor Emeritus
Anna Rabinowitz

Cover Art
Brian Dettmer

Layout Assistant
Emily Broadwater




Issue #23



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Special Feature
The Future of the Book
 
     

Joan Retallack The Future Of The Book

 

Ander Monson Mirror Work

 

Brian Dettmer Process Statment
Standard American, 2008
Saturation Will Result, 2011
Prose & Poetry Journeys, 2011
Tower of Babble, 2011
Western Civilization 5, 2011

 

Dimitri Anastasopoulos
Christine Hume
Dave Kress,
and Christina Millettii
Story Net

 

Poetry & Prose:
Eric Anderson
Hadara Bar-Nadav
Denise Bergman
Thea Brown
Jennifer Chapis
Suzanne Cleary
Elizabeth Cross
Jesse DeLong
Dan George
AB Gorham
Richard Greenfield
Derek Gromadzki
Kathleen Hellen
Russell Jaffe
Christopher Kondrich
Brandon Krieg
Jason Labbe
Megan Levad
rob mclennan
B.Z. Niditch
Simon Perchik
Marthe Reed
John Phillip Santos
Anne Shaw
Kent Shaw
Carmen Giménez Smith
Jason Snyder
D.E. Steward
Josh Wardrip
Nicholas YB Wong
Amy Wright



The Future of the Book

The book is a miraculous, marvelously tactile and democratic invention, one that made literatures of all sorts more affordable, accessible, and transportable, and that lead to increased literacy around the world. As publishers and writers and book artists ourselves, we have largely dedicated our lives to books and what goes in them. Books are among our favorite objects, and recently, their fate has inspired discussions, predictions, and heated debate. The ability to carry whole libraries in a single handheld device is a Borgesian dream come true, but one can imagine the consequences. Will technology increase access to literature or restrict it to those who can afford new technologies? Will paper bound books become art objects for antiquarians, restricted to museums and wealthy collectors? Will producing electronic media prove more or less
hazardous to the environment as compared with paper production for printed books?

Between these covers, bound by glue, we offer a number of meditations, discussions, predictions and anxieties about the future of the book. Our feature artist, Brian Dettmer, is a book artist in the most literal sense as he sculpts and reforms printed books. Joan Retallack explores the future of the book in her opening essay, and Ander Monson delves into the digital transformation of text. With the future of the book changing before our eyes, the whole concept of future is under scrutiny. The collaborative work, "Story Net," first performed at the &NOW conference in San Diego last year, examines the concept of "tomorrow" through a kaleidoscope of approaches, ranging from the historical and sociological to the theoretical and narratological, including government examinations of narrative and "story" for defense purposes. Many of the works published throughout this issue express digital anxieties about the world-altering advent of our computer age, and notably, many of the contributors are themselves editors and former editors, book artists, publishers of paper and online journals, chapbooks, and websites.

—Catherine Kasper and David Ray Vance