A Message To BardsterTM Users

22 September 2002

The BardsterTM community is as you know the largest & fastest growing community on the internet & we have you to thank for that. Since BardsterTM's launch last year poetry lovers have downloaded more than eight billion poems from our eighty million online poetry libraries – that's a poem for every person in the world and then some.

Now poetry fans no longer need snoop around second-hand bookshops in search of a tattered copy of Pound's Cantos or a Japanese translation of Paradise Lost, to name but two examples. With BardsterTM, you are able to share poems on your hard drive directly with other poetry lovers via our unique poem-sharing software. As a bonus, our genre directories enable you to specialise your search by form, line length or language.

Indeed, that's what makes BardsterTM a truly global phenomenon. With globalisation, however, come new dangers. Mutant versions of some of the world's best-loved poems have begun to appear in our directories. In some cases, entire stanzas have been omitted in an attempt to decrease file size. Sadly, we have also seen a rash of trade in poems not considered part of the canon of poetry, uploaded by self-publishers of poetry, or the vanity set.

This has led to some soul-searching within the BardsterTM team. We are not pleased to announce our merger with [insert name of monolithic poetry publisher] however we feel that this new alliance will help BardsterTM return to its original status as a service offering its users the very best poetry from around the world. No longer can we tolerate the sharing of massive-sized files which turn out to be mere scribblings by amateur hacks seeking glory for their lame & pretentious verse. Free verse has always been a plague on our community but its effect on BardsterTM has been to create a community that no longer respects the form.

Further, many of you have written to us urging a tougher policy on plagiarism – it seems that some community members have taken the pen into their own hands & passed themselves off as major bards. In one instance, a user identified only as 'duino129' traded (quite successfully) in Rilke's Duino Elegies, passing the work off as his own. We at BardsterTM condemn such blatant ripping off and also note that the offending version isn't a patch on Rainer Maria's classic work. Needless to say, duino129 is no longer a member of our community.

We've also been trying to find a way to incorporate the criticisms of our service by small press publishers, spoken word artists & performance poets but we just haven't been able to do it. The majority of our users have spoken, and what they've said is we want less not more. How many versions of 'The Wasteland' do we need? surely the answer is one. And how many smart-aleck poetasters do we need in our community? Surely the answer is none.

So, from the team here at BardsterTM, thank you for your patronage of our service. We regret to inform you however that from this day forwards we have entered into an agreement with [re-insert name of monolithic poetry publisher] whereby we charge users for each line of each poem they download. Revenue from this exercise will be used to develop new poetic content that will in time become available to all accredited BardsterTM users.

Unfortunately, once more, it is our regretful duty to advise you that having completed credit checks against your names & businesses, we are unable to accept your application for accreditation at this time. We suggest you contact one of the many other free (but of course in our opinion sub-standard) poetry-trading services that exist in the real world.

Once again, thank you for your support during this difficult time and best of luck with your hobbies.

Yours, BardsterTM Incorporated.

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David Prater

About David Prater

David Prater was Cordite's Managing Editor from 2001 to 2012. His first poetry collection, We Will Disappear, was published by papertiger media in 2007, and Vagabond Press published his chapbook Morgenland in the same year. His poetry has appeared in a wide range of Australian and international journals, and he has performed his work at festivals in Australia, Japan, Bulgaria, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands and Macedonia. He has also undertaken two writers’ residencies in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and has worked extensively as a teacher, editor and researcher. He currently lives in Stockholm, Sweden.


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