norwegian net lit
I’m giving a talk in Narvik on Monday at the literature festival. The general theme of the festival this year is youth literature, and I’ve been invited to talk about net literature since young people surf. My title is “Nettlitteratur – nye stemmer og ny teknologi”. So I’m going to talk about web diaries and blogs as literary endeavours, and show how teenagers often combine design and writing, and how the writing is often very good. I’m poking around for examples now. I’m not sure whether to show “regular” net lit or not. Mm.
I like papirepler by Karina Junker. Nice design (visually, it’s kind of cryptic to navigate and I don’t like that it’s all hidden in frames and you can’t link to bits of it, but it does look good), lovely sketches, and she writes well about choice little topics. In this long fairly mundane listed post (sorry, no design on the direct links) item 2 on the list is “hendene mine er laget av sn¯”, my hands are made of snow. There are tiny bursts of joy like that throughout the site. Look at the way she presents herself if you click her name under each post. Beautiful. And she’s born in 1985 (a test tube baby!), nettdagbok.no says, so she counts as “young” 😉 Among Karina’s friends I found Mia Frogner, whose site is a poem in several screenfuls with images of her (?) face evocatively set against dark golden text. The poem is in English with no explainations or anything to explain it, not even the name of the author, but the guestbook at the end of the poem is in Norwegian. [update: actually Mia’s used bits of song lyrics by Tool, with some of her own words set against them and very evocative design and images. I love it.]
Wandering on (starting as always from nettdagbok.no) I find Thale, whose an exchange student at highschool in Melbourne (marvellous Melbourne). Today her web sports little but a photo of a wombat and of course, the archives, but a link to “diktene mine” (my poems) leads to dikt.no, a community poetry site, where I find that Thale has some rather good poems, like this one, and that at dikt.no readers comment each others works and recommendations.
I’ve not frequented sites like dikt.no because I’ve been more interested in interactive, networked literature, whereas dikt.no is all about conventional poems only on the web. Perhaps I’ve been too locked into the conventional categories of works and genres. Browsing from site to site like this, finding connections and links to “my poems”, and seeing the way in which web diaries nest alongside dikt.no and each other, I’m thinking a little differently. Perhaps net literature is not simply about works that individually respond to the network or use interactivity. Perhaps I should forget about discrete works. Perhaps network literature is in between the works and throughout the works and in web diaries, community sites and links?
Karina is a member of dikt.no, too. Some of her poems are in English, perfect English for that matter: I don’t remember my friends being perfectly comfortable writing in English when we were eighteen. Except me, but English is my mother-tounge. Perhaps it’s Karina’s too – or perhaps eighteen-year-olds are more international today. I like her Norwegian poems better than the English one I read: she piles words onto each other in a way English can’t emulate. Papirengel (it matches the title of her web ) reminds me of Gro Dahle’s poems.
Clicking through to the front page of dikt.no I remember why I’ve never explored it before. It’s incredibly ugly and deeply uninviting. Perhaps my looping reading through diaries and links is the best way to enjoy a site like this?