Sysop (systems operator) of Hairless Girls BBS wrote the Introduction to
Scribble 2, which appeared in Summer (Southern Hemisphere) 1995. This Foreward
throws further light on the idea of the Bulletin Board, the Echo, and Fidonet.
scribble the book:
for the second time
BACKGROUND AND ORIGIN
A year ago,
a slim volume of poetry was printed under the title "Scribble" - Poetic
Dandruff Combed from Cyberspace". Now - coincidentally justin time
for Christmas - here's volume II. Equally coincidentally, here am I, to
tell you a little of the background and origin of this anthology.
is more than just a book. It is an 'echo' on the Fidonet network of bulletin
boards throughout New Zealand. It is part of 'Cyberspace', the world of
electronic bulletin boards, where people write messages - and poems = to
each other using computers, with modems plugged into their telephone lines.
On a computer
bulletin board, messages are usually arranged by topic, so that callers
can read, and write in, only the areas they are interested in. When a message
area is shared by more than one bulletin board, it is called an 'echo',
and the BBSs themselves call each other by modem to echo the messages posted
on one board to all the others participating in the echo. That is the origin
of the poems in this book" they were posted on bulletin boards in the Scribble
echo. Many have never been written or printed on paper before.
The aim of Scribble is to promote New Zealand poetry, and encourage
New Zealand poets. As well as a way for poets to publish their poems, both
on the network and in anthologies like this, it provides access to other
poets for feedback and advice on polishing a work, in terms of both technical
factors and the feelings it evokes in readers. It's also a place where
they can meet other poets, to encourage and inspire each other - or, simply,
to chat. Christine Schiff, the moderator of scribble, refers to it as 'An
electronic cafe, where poets meet on the screen initially".
book is a projection of that electronic cafe onto the printed page. Since
our last volume, Scribble also projected itself into another medium:
live performance. Earlier this year, a poetry reading evening was held
at an Auckland pub, where poems, mostly read by their own authors, were
interspersed with and accompanied by the music of a local band. The performances
were videotaped for posterity, and for poets and audience to enjoy over
and over again.
I mention Scribble to people unfamiliar with BBSs they assume that poems
written and transmitted using computers must also be about computers.
As you will see, however, this is not 'computer poetry", but the thoughts
and feelings of the poets - on all themes - just like any poetry.
The computer is not the focus but is the tool, the medium, through which
we share out insights and observation.
Of course, the
poetry is influenced by special characteristics of the medium.
Its interactivity and immediacy, its ability to bring widely disparate
people together on an equal footing - there is no admission fee, no requirement
to be in a certain place at a certain time, no need to be of particular
age, race, sex, political or religious belief or stratum of society. Needing
to use computers doesn't even have the effect of restricting access to
Scribble to those with computer skills- many of the writers have no technical
knowledge of computers, knowing them just as the household appliances they
are - rather, it enables people to intersperse their poetry with their
everyday life; and after all, that is where poetry belongs.
immediacy and accessibility livens the poetry in Scribble producing poems
which change and mutate as the poet gathers reaction from readers; poems
which contain the errors and abbreviations of a hasty modern world, and
the typographical conventions of a net where conversations are without
facial expressions and tones of voice.
A GLIMPSE OF SCRIBBLE
Through this book we offer readers merely a glimpse, through
a narrow window, of Scribble. To experience its full vitality and exuberance,
you'll need a modem and terminal, the phone number of a BBS that's connected
to Fidonet, and a love of poetry. We hope you'll join us one day.
Until then - enjoy the book !
is the usual abbreviation
for Bulletin Board Systems.
In computer networks,
the moderator of a message area is a combination organizer, host and supervisor,
promoting and developing the area, and monitoring the content of messages
and the behaviour of participants..