24 December 1999

Memo to all Newspoets: Holiday Greetings

Dear Colleagues:

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 collegial accomplishments.

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.

Happy Holidays,

William K. Gillespie



Newspoetry at Spineless Books