About six weeks ago I subscribed to Chris Lott’s daily email newsletter Katexic Clippings. It’s a compact, precise literary gift that contains a work (usually a short poem or excerpt from a longer work), a word of the day, and a number of interesting links. I love that Lott has dialed his online publishing back to email. And rather than that being a liability, I find I can wait to rip that hand-delivered electronic package open regularly. I find myself sometimes waiting for my clippings to come.
There’s a Tumblr site, but that doesn’t contain the actual newsletters, that’s just the various pieces—usually the poems or excerpts. The newsletter is the thing, and I think that’s what is so cool about what Katexic has done. It’s about the curation, representation, and sense of intimacy between author and reader. I find myself increasingly more attached with every new letter.
There’s something about the newsletter that seems personal, almost as if Chris is putting them together for me—although I know he isn’t. The links to what he’s reading turn me onto awesome stuff regularly, like today’s link to Reddit users summing up their first sexual encounters with a GIF. I find myself puzzling over each newsletter’s title, trying to find the loosely framed theme across the poem/excerpt, the word of the day, and the links out to the web. They often seem to work together to support the theme–which is a sign of how much work goes into each one. hand crafted emails at their finest.
Katexic is a good reminder just how intimate email still is. While it’s become associated with daily, repetitive chores as part of work life, Katexic helps liberate us from that assumption. I look forward to these emails, and I can’t say that about too many others. What’s more, I’m really taken with the word of the day. Words like syzygy, cockalorum, puteal, gloaming, celadon, and many others you probably never read keep me coming back for more.
I’m a huge fan of Chris Lott’s work, always have been. I wasn’t sure what he was up to when I discovered Katexic six weeks ago (via a snailmail card, mind you), but I’ve usually benefitted immensely from embracing his ideas and struggling with his work. If you’re looking for an excellent daily read delivered directly to your email, I highly recommend subscribing to Katexic Clippings.
As for the name of the newsletter, I think it might have something to do with David Foster Wallace. but then again, that’s just what email’s younger cousin the web tells me 😉