The figure above was adapted from a pre-Columbian book used by the Mixtec people of Mexico. It shows a priestly deity painting a book of the heavens as part of the creation of the world and the Mixtec people. It is presented respectfully here as a tribute to indigenous book makers, a reminder that book making in the Americas is an ancient and venerable art, and that some of the best of it should be more widely known. Poetry on the web continues the work of the world's first scribes in a new medium.

The last thirty years of literary history has been a period of freedom and diversity such as the world has never seen. The purpose of Light and Dust On-Line is to reflect that diversity and freedom and to make some of the results as accessible as possible through a World Wide Web site. As this collection grows, there should be something of interest for nearly every reader. If you look at an entry and don't find it of interest, try something else: there's probably something in this collection that will speak to you in a meaningful way. Whatever your interests, you are urged to check out work with which you are not familiar as well as work that you know. In addition to classics of the past 30 years, this collection includes work by people who have published little, but who have new and original things to say.

I began publishing books and magazines in 1966. I continued this under the Membrane Press imprint until 1990, when I changed the name of the press to Light and Dust. I set up an electronic Light and Dust archive under the sponsorship of Spunk Press in May of 1994, and opened Light and Dust shortly after that. The first entries in Light and Dust and Light and Light and Dust @ Spunk were works by poets I first published on paper. Though some work appears in both the Spunk and Grist collections, the former is primarily an archive tailored to the needs of an on-line collective. Light and Dust @ Grist is more flexible, responsive, and oriented toward new work. As time goes on, more work at this site will be oriented toward mail art, book art, and visual poetry, and other areas that seem useful in keeping poetry available, free from dogma, and socially responsible. Some work will explore web-specific possibilities -- both work that employs properties and techniques of the graphics and links, and the possibilities for participatory events.

Electronic publishing remains in its infancy. Despite the claims of pundits of all sorts, no one knows where it will go from here. 20 years from now it may very well be the norm -- a type of publishing that has acquired qualities impossible or unthought of in print. Then again, it may devolve into a sort of home shopping club, like the junk you can find on late night tv. On whatever level each of us participates, we will contribute to whatever the medium becomes. We can make it something magnificent if we so decide through the work we put online and the sites we visit.

I hope you find something you're looking for in Light and Dust -- but even more, I hope you find something new, something you would find nowhere else, in this constantly changing anthology of poetry.

For more on the editorial orientation of the site, check out the following essay:

- Toward an Ideal Anthology

or go directly to

- Light and Dust Main Menu

Good reading!

--Karl Young

Go to Light and Dust Poets