I belong to a number of North American (one Canadian) e-mail groups related to poetry. They inform me about contests, new books & periodicals, projects, readings and other things less focused than what I just listed here. Many of the groups contain members from around the globe, so it's not strictly a North American audience. I just mention that as an indication of where the e-mail lists originated. More or less discussion and exchange of writing occurs in the different groups depending upon a number of random factors: blog chatter, current events, scope of a particular group, etc. While I don't have the time, generally, to follow each thread in detail, and I receive dozens of e-mails on any given day from these groups, it's a nice way to both stay informed and spread my gospel, however slight, when I feel like getting involved in the on-going conversations.
And not all of the participants in these various groups are poets. Some folks are just interested in the conversation. Members bring their personalities and personal obsessions to the table. I find myself interacting with people who I may never have considered before. I'm almost fearless...
As an American poet living abroad, it's an easy way for me to feel a part of the events and discussions which are happening around the US and around the world, especially as I can't be in most of those places in person. As much as I like this kind of interaction, which is, at least, simply convenient (and sometimes frustrating), it's still a little too fragmentary. There seems to be an e-mail group for every special interest. That seems to be the old method, wherein folks from a certain region or a particular school of thought were assembled or lumped together under some banner. A bit limiting.
Nonetheless, these groups have been inspiring and motivating. I'm part of the ever-widening e-community. I get new ideas! I have made friends!! Those are good things. I can't help but think that they make me better. They bring things to my attention. Even if they are fragmentary, they still bring people from around the world together, and that can't be bad. Greater awareness of an international presence combined with a seamless way to share information and ideas via e-mail, via the internet, makes for a beautiful marriage.
So things are changing. It's measurable. Things are coming together from various places and colliding to great effect. People don't know what to make of it. Is that a revolution? Hell, yes! Aren't you reading poetry? Our language is changing even more drastically as the language and form of the electronic world begins to emerge as commonplace. Have you googled anything? Ever backchanneled someone? Do you know what a LangPo is? What about a blog? How could any writer not be excited about the possibilities of an even more creative language? And how does poetry fit into all of this? These are our tools. TTYL.