24 December 1999
Memo to all Newspoets: Holiday Greetings
The holidays, and the end of the twentieth century are
almost here. For me, this is a meaningful time to reflect on the extraordinary
impact of Newspoetry on society for more than half a year, and on our
vision and aspirations for the year ahead.
First, however, Joe and I take this opportunity to wish
you the happiest of holidays. This is by tradition a season of joy,
goodwill, irritating muzak, and doomed resolutions for the new year.
In our Website, it is also a season for poems about uncomfortable family
reunions and insane parties with good friends. Our heartfelt wish for
you: May the year 2000 be filled with joy, goodwill, good health, family,
friends, formal innovation, vicious satire, teargas, and personal and
This season of chilly nights and warm computers--plus
the especially intriguing inevitable millenial apocalypse--promotes
contemplation, too. I think about the transformative roles that men
and women of Newspoetry have played throughout the last 11 months. While
this is not the place for a list of achievements, who could let the
1900s end without a general salute of thanks to the long roster of writers
programmers and activists, past and present, whose work helped change
the scope of irresponsible journalism in the past year?
You find these agents of change in political and computer
sciences, the arts and humanities, and elsewhere. They developed the
Heimlich. They imparted slant rhymes to hundreds of thousands of readers.
They helped create the Internet and then opened it to all. They even
made virtual reality a reality.
Against the scale of a millennium, the year of my presidency
is like the blink of an eye. Yet within that period, working together,
we have progressed. Whether writing a poem about the MIR space station
in Adobe Illustrator or writing haiku and calling it a limerick, whether
advising government units on public policies or finding new ways to
help children learn, we have--according to colleagues at webzines worldwide--fostered
excellence and service.
Joe and I remain grateful to be part of an institution
so diverse in its contributions, so increasingly communalistic in its
people, and so able and eager to advance all aspects of electronic political
poetry. Working with you, we soon will begin to write the next chapter
in the Internet's story. I hope you look forward to that with as much
genuine enthusiasm as we do. I believe our future is very bright.
May you enjoy your holidays with families and friends,
embracing all the traditions and practices and television reruns meaningful
to you. Finally, may the dawning century be one in which your silliest
dreams are fulfilled.
William K. Gillespie