Kali Tal on Sun, 1 May 2005 12:14:08 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> governance on Poetics

I remember POETICS. It was one of the ground-breaking lists back in the 
heady days of bitnet--a rare survivor, if one can call it that.  And the 
langpo crowd (at least as it existed on POETICS) was indeed around at the 
"foundation of new media poetics."  In fact, there was a lot a crossover 
between the most exciting new media bitnet list--Tech(No)Culture--and 
POETICS in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Pretty much all of those early 
lists are dead or moribund at this point, and I'm not sure we can expect 
anything else from them.  The convergences that made them initially 
exciting are long past and the torch of innovation has passed to newer 
lists and fora, as Alan mentions.  Like Jane Fonda (who was once young, 
passionate, dangerous, and exciting too), POETICS lived on and simply got 
less interesting, more distant from its radical roots, more pruned and 
manicured, and more conservative over time. I'm not sure why POETICS, 
among so many once challenging and exciting lists, is worth attacking at 
this point, though I can understand and sympathize with Alan's frustration 
and disappointment. I left POETICS years ago when the knee-jerk 
conservatives started to make the place hell for experimental and 
challenging artists and publishers.  When an innovation becomes an 
institution, it's hardly worth the effort to try and save it.

The "free speech" critique seems both a hopeless endeavor and 
inappropriate for email lists -- usually the fiefdom of some individual or 
cabal of idiosyncratic owners (unless they are sprawling unmoderated 
free-for-alls, and those have their own set of problems). I've always 
looked to cummings When Good Lists Go Bad, told myself "there's a helluva 
good universe next door," and gotten gone. No sense wasting energy on a 
playing field that's built on a slant. I'm not arguing that established 
lists like POETICS don't influence "the field" (whatever the area of focus 
or study).  It's just that by the TIME they influence the field, they are, 
like the journal of record, in the hands of those who have a vested 
interest in the Status Quo. If you're going to be experimental (like 
Alan), or challenging, or (like me) just "difficult," there's no place 
that's comfortable to call home for long. Life is just one long moving on.

Kali Tal

On Apr 30, 2005, at 3:09 PM, Alan Sondheim wrote:

> (I'm on the Poetics email list. The list has increasingly censored any
> creative work on it, moving instead towards a bureaucratic approach of
> announcements, etc. This has been done, now, with censorship - in a
> situation which was originally open. I sent the following yesterday to
> the
> list; it made it back briefly, then seemed to disappear from the
> archives.
> People on digest told me they never received it. I sent it again, and
> again nothing. The situation is particularly ugly since Poetics
> started as
> a 'creative' list and wields a great deal of cultural power, however
> much
> that's possible within a 'poetry' format. Anyway, I'm forwarding the
> below, in the hopes that, if in fact this was deliberate censorship,
> some
> of the list participants (and some of those named for that matter)
> might
> have a chance to read it. - Alan)

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