Ron Henry

Aught

When, five or six years ago, I began thinking about the project that would eventually become Aught, I confess I didn't know quite where to start. I certainly didn't have the capital to start a print magazine, but still felt the impulse to help connect the writers I knew were looking for readers to the readers I knew were hungry for innovative poetry. The web was still relatively new, and at first it seemed almost silly to set up a forum for innovative poetry in the middle of its mostly uncharted wilderness.

Even now I don't quite remember which informational post I sent to which email list, Usenet writing group, or on-line set of acquaintances that prompted the first wave of incoming work. In retrospect, Aught's first issue seems to have accreted out of the void: on some level, the network, the nascent web, took responsibility, in its not-un-chaotic way, directing diverse particles of poetry toward my humble and remote In box.

Obediently, I chose from the assembled texts, did the then-much-more-laborious HTML tagging, posted an email announcement on EPC's Poetics list — and so the first issue of Aught existed.

The net has begun to serve as a tool that connects people whose physical realities and non-virtual life-paths otherwise discourage connection. I can't help think that all these new connections will form glimmering new possibilities upon the substrate of our lives. Media cliches have been claiming for decades that the World with a Capital W is growing smaller, smaller everyday, so lookout!

On the contrary, as the media and information density of our society swells precipitously, it feels to me that the world gets larger, because it becomes more complex, and forms a labyrinth some dare not venture out into, scaring some to remain in the easy television and newsmagazine periphery.

But I hope Aught may become a node in the gradually self-organizing information chaos. I hope it can offer a haven and venue for a physically-scattered minority of people in which to share innovative poetries, fresh conceptualizations of experience through language, and so become a tool for deepening and broadening each others' textual and aesthetic experiences.

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