Posted in General Interest, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry, Poets/Writers

We Should Respond | Terry Trowbridge

Why We Should Respond to Individual Short Texts

I’m annoyed at how writers of flash fiction, poetry, and flash nonfiction are all howling into the abyss of the internet with very few readers. I’m considering writing some kind of daily critical response to one or two pieces of literary writing that appear in online literary journals, just to prove there is an audience (even if the audience is just me).

Currently, the apparent majority of readers for online literary journals seems to be ChatGPT iterations and other attempts at generative algorithms. And they are under-equipped readers, because they lack intentionality, as demonstrated when GPT conversations go in a loop of “Goodbye!” “See you later!” “Goodbye!” “See you later!” ad infinitum. “Goodbye!” is a word you experience; a word that is defined by the intention to leave; and not definable by whatever explanation is in a dictionary, vocabulary lesson, or lexicon.

Many other examples of writing cannot be read or interpreted by generative algorithms, no matter how many iterations they pop out, because of the embodied intentions. The disembodied superficiality of generative algorithms is deeply inscribed by a human-led corporate culture that devalues literacy, but over values the production of bureaucratic paperwork. By which I mean, our online literary artwork is being turned into fodder that feed generative algorithms, as passive readers, to produce more text for the text’s corporateliability’s sake.

We should think of ourselves before we think of Silicon Valley corporations. We should be active readers for social change, creative conversation, or leisure.

We can’t afford to limit our readership to the data sets of generative algorithms. While AI labs control the legislative power that allows them to use our words without compensation and without critical consideration, we still have the power to be active readers. If we want to exercise power in the sociopolitical changes happening now, then we need to start producing critical and appreciative texts that demonstrate some kind of human reading.

©2023 Terry Trowbridge
All rights reserved

Terry Trowbridge…

…has poems appearing in The New Quarterly,Carousel, subTerrain, paperplates, The Dalhousie Review, untethered, Quail Bell, The Nashwaak Review, Orbis, Snakeskin Poetry, Literary Yard, Gray Sparrow, CV2, Brittle Star, Bombfire, American Mathematical Monthly, AoHaM, Canadian Woman Studies, The Mathematical Intelligencer, The Canadian Journal of Family and Youth, The Journal of Humanistic Mathematics,The Beatnik Cowboy, Borderless, Literary Veganism, and more. Terry is grateful to the Ontario Arts Council for his first writing grant, and their support of so many other writers during the polycrisis

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The 2023 (Inter)National Poetry Month BeZine Blog Bash

Pastel of European Robin perched on a small branch by Tom Higgins ©2021
Art: European Robin, pastels, ©2021 Tom Higgins


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