A Letter From the Editor of GRIST

John Fowler
fowl0101 and RIFT01.01 are copyright (c) 1993.
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From: IN%"fowler@mindvox.phantom.com"  2-SEP-1993 15:18:57.78

 John Fowler
 Editor, Publisher
 17 West 64th St, #2E
 NY, NY 10023-6710
 (212) 787-2861

 CSI 72674.3032
 September 1, 1993

 Hey Ken--
 So here we all come popping out of the
 woodwork like crazy all at once.  Seems like
 I hear about a new poventure everyday--it's
 great.  What an explosion.  When I wrote the
 first version of the press release for GRIST
 the figure for InterNet I found was three
 million.  Last week, I saw 10 million and
 last night NEWSWEEK had it at 12 million.
 Now that's a growing audience.!

 Anyway, it looks like you're in the Nous
 Refuse collect, right?  Ficus S. put me in
 touch there just this week and I'm glad to
 see some names I recognize and hope that
 I won't get pummeled with "cybershit"
 Pardon the attitude but.....

 As you say, doing a mag (I still can't say
 zine--shows where I'm coming from I guess--
 like 1964) is work.  It just don't happen.  I
 learned a lot from early efforts.  And
 although I admit I had some illusions about
 the ease of publishing on the net, I've
 gotten over them.  It seems to me the basics are
 the same, but the things that have changed
 like cost, range of potential distribution,
 speed, and really ease (after all you don't
 have to collate and staple and mail and pay
 postage or take returns and it never goes out
 of print and so on and so on) so it's EASY
 compared to.....or dealing with a printer and
 high finance if you're on that level.

 But what it really boils down to is getting
 good writers and good works and being able to
 put together something that people want to
 read.  That kind of stuff usually doesn't
 come in over the transom.

 The next thing is basically SUBSCRIPTIONS.
 And they don't come in over the transom
 either.  The "market" on the net is so
 diffuse that I'm still having a time figuring
 it out--let alone Bitnet, Fidonet, Euronet,
 AsiaNet and all the other branches, loops and
 crannies!  But that's the challenge isn't it?
 It's work and it's got the added "technical"
 side of dealing with all the software and
 protocols and dirty phone lines and problems
 getting access etc.  not to count the
 evolution of all that we're going to go thru
 til the end of our lives.  I have a feeling I
 won't have to go though as much as you will,
 since I may have a few years on you,
 but I switched over to microcomputers from
 bookselling/publishing when apples were the
 only thing and finally burned out trying to
 keep up with change.  Now I'm back into it
 and don't know how long or if I'll be able to
 keep up.

 But then Poetry has always been poboy and
 alternative and underground and all that so
 why not do what one can do and be satisfied
 with that.  Quality of the words and a clean
 presentation has seemed to work in the old
 media but there's going to be a lot of glitz
 to deal with.  I see the net staying rather
 primitive for a while, compared to what
 Paramount and Todd Rundgren et al are going
 to put out.  So we may seem like a not very
 attractive medium to a lot of folks.  But I
 have no problem with that.

 I want to get some of the better minds of my
 generation at least archived and hopefully
 active at some level, before they get lost in
 the cyber shuffle.  So there are so may
 possibilities for publishing in one form or
 another that I really can't get too depressed
 about it.

 I sent in a sub request to your listserv and
 it bounced once.  But please sign me up and
 I'll put you on auto for GRIST.

 I think the more of us there are, the better.
 There's some interesting history about guys
 from the early days of the Net doing some
 pretty innovative things and going for
 several years with only 30 or 40 subscribers.
 Then slowly they grew and got to 100, 200,
 600, 1000.  To me that's kind of scary.  And
 look how much bigger the base is now than it
 was 6 or 8 years ago.  I don't even know how
 I'd get 1000 subscriptions out!  Do you?

 There's more of us than just you and me--but
 I haven't seen anything that sets me on fire.
 A lot of very amateur stuff.  But there are
 people getting into it.  It'll take time and
 a lot of hand holding probably.

 I look forward to it.

 My project now is to break into the BBSs and
 get the announcements out on the net.  Not
 really my kind of favorite thing, like direct
 e-mail promotion, but that's what it takes.

 Let's trade notes on the process and see what
 we learn.  I've got a short list of boards
 that claim to be poetry based, maybe we could
 split the effort and cull through them.  Then
 there's the libraries.  They were a main
 support for the original GRIST.  How do we
 reach the libraries that are undoubtedly
 forming e-collections or what are they doing,
 just letting pauls archive for them?  A whole
 area to figure out.  It's great.  So much to
 do, and hopefully an opportunity in there
 somewhere to further the art.

 Better wind down.

 Looking forward to seeing RIF/T----


RIF/T: An Electronic Space for Poetry, Prose, and Poetics
Editors: Kenneth Sherwood and Loss Pequeño Glazier
ISSN#: 1070-0072
Version 1.1 Fall 1993

FOWL01.01 and RIFT01.01 copyright (c) 1993. All rights revert to author(s) upon publication. Texts distributed by RIF/T, e-poetry@ubvm, or the Electronic Poetry Center (Buffalo) may not be republished for profit in any form without express consent of author(s) and notification of the editors, but may be freely circulated among individuals for personal use provided that this copyright statement is included. Public archiving of complete issues only, in electronic or print forms, is permissible provided that no access fee is charged.

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