Featured Blogger: Levi Asher of Literary Kicks
Literary Kicks, also known as LitKicks, is still kicking after almost 17 years with founder Levi Asher continuing to provide readers with relevant perspectives and opinions on modern literature. The site has maintained its position as a highly credible resource for quality literary content. In addition to commentary on specific works and broad industry trends, the site provides author interviews and a poetry forum called Action Poetry.
Q: How did you decide on the name “Literary Kicks,” and do you ever wish you had chosen a different name?
A: Funny you should ask, because I distinctly remember the moment. I was in a supermarket, walking down the aisle, and suddenly I thought to myself “Literary Kicks”. At that moment, I knew I needed to create a Web site with that name. Today, I don’t always love the site, but I always love the name.
Q: What do you think makes Literary Kicks unique amongst other book blogs?
A: Well, besides being certifiably the oldest well-known literary Web site on the Internet (founded in 1994), I think it has a quirkier and more personal voice than many of the others. I range pretty freely into territories like philosophy, politics, art and psychology, and I try to represent counter-cultural or alternative points-of-view about life as often as I can. I also think I focus more on literature of the past — the classics, the forgotten should-be classics — than many other literary bloggers do.
Q: How do you decide on the ideas or content for your blog posts?
A: I have a certain amount of structure here. I devote weekends to philosophy — a series called “Philosophy Weekend”. I try to cover some substantial, significant topic on Monday — a contributed article by one of the other Litkicks regulars, an interview with a writer I like, a political manifesto, something like that. Then I spend the rest of the week on book reviews, links and lighter stuff. Of course, I vary this routine as often as I want to.
Q: How much time daily do you spend blogging?
A: If by blogging you include reviewing comments, reading other blogs (you can’t be a good blogger without reading many other blogs), checking Twitter, keeping up with my bloggy friends on Facebook, as well as writing or editing blog posts themselves … well, damn, I probably spend way too much time blogging. But I enjoy it.
Q: How many times have you redesigned your blog since it started?
A: Considering that it’s been around for 16 years, not many times. It was a flat HTML site from 1994 to 2001, when I rewrote it using an early version of Jive software. In 2005 I redesigned it again in WordPress. Then early this year, 2010, I redesigned it again using Drupal. Four times total. I did a visual redesign along with each technical redesign. I don’t think it’s a good idea for bloggers to tinker with their designs too much — it’s a big waste of time that’s better spent writing.
Q: How often do you correspond one-on-one with readers?
A: Constantly. Many have become close friends. Many others have become my writers. When somebody writes me a good email, I’ll turn a reader into a writer by asking them to contribute an article. But, I should also say that I am terrible at writing back to emails, and sometimes take weeks to write back, or forget completely. I always feel bad about this.
Q: Has your approach to blogging changed over time, or are you pretty much on course from where you started?
A: Well, again, I’ve been in this game a long time … when I started Litkicks the word “blog” was still a few years away from being invented. But, really, I think my style has generally remained the same. The main difference, I think, is that the site was originally about a specific subject, the Beat Generation writers. Now it’s more of a general literary/creative writing blog.
Q: What is something your readers do not know about you?
A: Hmmm … that I have been playing bridge nearly every single week on Yahoo with my stepmother, stepsister and brother for the past 11 years? I’m pretty good at bridge. Not very Beat of me, I know.
Q: What is your personal favorite blog post?
A: That I ever wrote? I think I’ll pick my post about Walden, the book by Thoreau. This meant a lot to me on many levels.
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