a continuing anthology

Founded by Andrew Gettler & Linda Lerner

NO. 9 & 10         T H E  M I L L E N N I U M  I S S U E

Edited by Linda Lerner

E D I T O R I A L                                     [Down]

With this issue (nos. 9 & 10) POETS on the line will no longer come out on a regular basis. What began as Andrew Gettler's idea in the Spring of 1995, a hunch that the Internet was about to explode, have a significance far beyond what most of us could imagine, my feeling that he was right, culminated in ten issues (two double ones) of which I am extremely proud. There are hundreds of zines on the web now that have advanced technologically far beyond our black & white, text only, work. I neither have the skills nor the interest to proceed in that direction; having fulfilled our original plan, published most of the authors on our list, as well as many others, I feel that this is the right time to cease. There may be an occasional special issue of POTL done--at this point I don't have any such plans, but don't want to rule it out entirely, either.

When we began, neither one of us knew how to use a computer; we had to enlist the help of someone to put the poems on disk, and another person to do the HTML coding for it. We were determined. It wasn't easy. There were dues to be paid--a lost friendship with someone who disagreed with our publishing criteria. Inclusion in the anthology reflected the tastes of its editors, nothing more. There was never any presumption of critical judgment beyond that. We also decided that we would only appear in the initial issue; the purpose was not to showcase our own work.

What interested us, as stated in the first editorial, was "the immediacy of the Net, to produce a living body of literature that grows." It was, from the beginning, "the spirit of improvisation, not tradition, that unifies this anthology and springs it to life."

During the second issue, Andrew Gettler was no longer able to continue working with me on POETS on the line. I was more determined than ever to adhere to our original plan and to make a success of what turned out to be the first poetry anthology on the Net. There was my struggle to get computer literate, which I might not have become, without this goal; my search for any available computer and technician willing to help me in the various universities where I taught.

Each issue has its own significance for me, includes poets I feel very privileged to have published. But, the one I am most proud of, the one that received a 1997 Puffin Foundation & Ludwig Vogelstein Grant, which enabled me, finally, to buy a computer, is the Vietnam Veterans / Poets issue (nos. 6 & 7). Doing that one now seems an inevitability, though it wasn't part of our original plan. How could it have been otherwise--this project conceived by a Nam Vet, who like others included in the issue, came to protest the war he fought in, and completed by a Vietnam War protester. Again, my special thanks to all the poets who became the POETS  ON THE LINE. And to Andrew Gettler, without whom this anthology would not have existed, and whose spirit guided me throughout.

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