competing to be less competitive

Community includes and excludes. There are ways to wall out on the Internet. But a real wall works better.

In December 1998, Charles Bernstein, as the then-list moderator, in response to the escalation of hostility, closed down POETICS for reorganization. It is now a subscription-only, moderated forum.

Shortly before this reorganization, in an email sent to the list, Charles Bernstein explained: "Electronic space is neither free nor unlimited because our lives are neither free nor unlimited." The subject line of this message reads "Freedom is never free" (a slightly more eloquent version of a slogan used by anti-gun-control activists in Albany during last year's AWP conference). Participating in a private list, the moderator reminds us, is not a right, it's a privilege.

Posts to POETICS are screened, just as an editor selects which poems to include in a journal. There's nothing shocking about the fact that a print journal can't afford to print all its submissions. Think of the trees that would require (I'm a poet who loves trees. I'm one of those poets that love trees. I'm one of those poets, which love trees.). Furthermore, the fact that the POETICS archives are available to the public is not only wonderful, but may be an additional justification for moderation. I can attest to the fact that it is difficult to navigate, in large part due to its immensity.

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