The first scribble
anthology appeared before I ever read the echo, far less participated in
it. Subtitled: Poetic Dandruff combed from cyberspace, and introduced by
'The Queen of Scribble', Christine Schiff, who was then moderator of the
echo, this publication contained an illuminating foreword by Brian Wrigley.
In it, he explains such things as Bulletin Boards, Modems, Echoes and FidoNet.
Not, as it is here being used, to explain these things to the Internet
Community, but rather to an audience not used to the idea of computers
at all. This was, after all, not so very long ago.
Brian's foreword is
reproduced here with his permission.
poetic dandruff, combed
The poems in this book first appeared
Cyberspace. The information Superhighway.
Electronic Bulletin Boards. Terms like these conjure up images of a culture
apart from everyday life, a high-tech culture of computers and wires and
people hunched over consoles in dimly lit rooms in the middle of the night.
A culture beyond the comprehension of ordinary people, where the denizens
speak in bits and bytes, not words.
that is true. More and more, though, ordinary people are using their computers
and phone lines to keep in touch with their friends - across town, up and
down the country, around the world. Or to make new friends. Or discuss
issues that interest them with strangers. Or swap recipes. Or share their
thoughts in the form of poems.
environment this book comes from: the computer technology is just the medium,
replacing the paper or radio or television signals of other media. Using
a computer and modem to dial a bulletin board and send a message simply
replaces writing a letter, making a film or printing a newspaper.
is a compilation of poems that were first published on electronic bulletin
board systems (BBSs) by their authors, for readers to enjoy, and perhaps
comment on. Once posted on one BBS, in an area called Scribble, set aside
for poetry, they are automatically sent around New Zealand to other members
of a network of BBSs called Fidonet. The same poems appear, within a day
or two of their original posting, on every Fidonet BBS in New Zealand that
has a Scribble area.
see strange little clusters of punctuation in some pieces: these are not
mistakes: they are 'emoticons", designed to convey concisely, in a medium
where tones of voice, facial expression and body language are absent, a
hint of what the author is feeling. Usually a smiling or frowning face
on its side. There are many variations on the theme, and entire poems can
be written with them. Another unique feature of this electronic medium
is its interactivity. Some poems have two authors, with lines written by
one interspersed with those by the other. These interactive poems arise
when one person posts a poem, then a second writer develops the same theme
by starting with some or all of the original poem, then adding and intermingling
his or her own lines.
poets around New Zealand and around the world are displaying their latest
works in Scribble and similar electronic conferences. If you enjoy this
book, and maybe have a poem or two of your own to share, then get on your
computer and modem, dial a Fidonet BBS and look for Scribble, or Poetry
and Writing , and if it's not there, ask the system operator if he or she
can arrange to get it for you.
stylish writer with a delightful sense of the absurd. He has a sharp eye,
sharp wit, and knows well how to turn a phrase. He's a lively debater
'of whom I stand in awe."
fluid prose, neat turns of mind and phrase, and complete sang froid
have kept Scribblers on their toes for year.
is well known to Auckland BBSers as a technical assistant to the sysop
of 'Hairless Girls' and long time supporter, promoter of scribble
the echo and of NZ_Fidonet .