Katexic, Emphemera, and the Joy of Snail Mail

Just the other day I hot what might be my last Katexic Newsletter. I hope there are more to come after the hiatus because I dig the format, but I can only imagine the time that goes into each of these carefully curated missives. Filled with crazy ass vocabulary words, an excerpt of some brilliant literature, and a list of awesome, annotated links it was one of the highlights in my email inbox. In fact, after a quick search I see I subscribed in October of 2017, and looks like he may have been sending them out since 2014 making for over 400 newsletters! Since October 2017 I’ve gotten roughly 100 of those newsletters, and I have the email archive to both prove and cherish it. What a run.  

Thanks Chris, I really appreciate your razor sharp sensibility and absolute, undying love of words, it makes me better reading you.

To heal my wounds I just subscribed to Notabilia (I know, I know, I’m late to that party too), but reflecting on Katexic and the life of any project we engage over time, I can’t help but think of Chris’s championing of online emphemera, in fact he has been known to just up and delete a blog or two—which is akin to Grand Moff Tarkin obliterating Alderaan for me. So what struck me about Katexic, and by extension newsletters and email, is that the archive is built-in.I now have 100 issues in my email archive, and I am sure many others have the newsletters I am missing. It could almost make for a peer-to-peer seeding archive that is insurance against Lott up and deleting katexic.com 🙂 Interesting that despite my tongue-in-cheek smack-talking on email newsletters, many years later I can see the long-term archiving value as near and dear to my anti-ephemera stance to shared resources (on, and sometimes off, the web).


Finally, for all my love of writing, linking, and then futilely trying to preserve my little plot on the web, something about getting snail mail from an online friend is special. Dr. Garcia has been consistently awesome about this, and she sends the family postcards on the regular. On the other hand, I have been terrible at responding. So the same week I read about the shuttering of Katexic I get a letter from Chris for National Poetry Month 2019 with two chapbooks, and a typed poem by Stanley Moss titled “Allegory of Evil in Italy”:

The Visconti put you on their flag: a snake
devouring a child, or are you throwing up a man
feet first? Some snakes hunt frogs, some freedom of will.
There’s good in you: a man can count years on your skin.
Generously, you mother and father a stolen boy,
to the chosen you offer your cake of figs.
A goiter on my neck, you lick my ear with lies,
yet I must listen, smile and kiss your cheek
or you may swallow the child completely. In Milan
there is a triptych, the throned Virgin in glory,
placed on the marble below, a dead naked man
and a giant dead frog of human scale on its back.
There’s hope! My eyes look into the top of my head
at the wreath of snakes that sometimes crowns me.

This whole thing brought me so much joy. I know have two typed poems from Chris (he sent me another by Oscar Wilde in 2016) so that I can’t say, with any authority, that no one writes to the Colonel anymore—and that make me very happy. 

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One Response to Katexic, Emphemera, and the Joy of Snail Mail

  1. Pingback: Katexic, Emphemera, and the Joy of Snail Mail – Skate Curated Best of the Web

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