There was a recent article in The Guardian concerning the elimination of cursive writing from the elementary school curriculum in the state of Indiana. The rationale being that it’s more important for children to acquire keyboard skills (Original Guardian article here). But just as painting a picture using a brush and painting a picture using a mouse or stylus is different, writing a story or poem with a pen and writing a story or poem by typing on a computer keyboard is also different. Natalie Goldberg in Writing Down the Bones touched on this when she wrote, “Handwriting is more connected to the movement of the heart.”
Several years ago, I developed an interest in calligraphy. Along with that interest grew the desire to improve my own handwriting, so I ordered a copy of Theory of Spencerian System of Practical Penmanship in Nine Easy Lessons along with a Spencerian copybook #4 and began to work on improving my handwriting.
When blogging, I like to type out the first draft on an Olivetti lettera 32 manual typewriter because I find it easier to keep up with the flow of my thoughts. When working on a poem, I prefer using a Nikko nib attached to a Speedball penholder and dipped from time to time into a bottle of Pilot ink. I have found that the careful, deliberate forming of each letter has been an aide in poetic composition by causing me to slow down and deliberately consider each word, syllable and vowel as I carefully write them out.
At the risk of being diagnosed as suffering from literary prize envy by unlicensed, armchair psychiatrists, the recent recipient of a poetry prize named after a personal favorite poet, in an interview mentioned (to my dismay) she wrote on a laptop and kept the poem she was working on in a “Word document”. Then, to my further dismay, the poem included in the interview made reference to her husband’s c***k (arguably a unpoetical word by virtue of being vulgar slang). (See interview and poem here). Instead of writing on a laptop, maybe if a person learned Spencerian penmanship and began writing with a dip pen, that person would be more apt to choose elegant words that would be more fitting to an elegant handwriting.