What IS a poem? 

There are probably as many definitions as well-known poets. I’ve put a download in the HappenStance shop that shares some thoughts on this topic. It’s a lure, needless to say, to get more people into the new shop which has all sorts of advantages over the old one. But if you’ve bought from HappenStance before, and want to do so again, it does mean you have to re-register. It’s quite easy.

And it’s worth it because at the same time you can take a look at the sample poems for the two new pamphlets, Fiona Moore’s The Only Reason For Time and Chrissy Williams’ Flying into the Bear. 

Very shortly, there’ll be a third. Diana Gittins’ Bork! is probably the only poetry pamphlet full of poems about chickens, and certainly the only poetry pamphlet about chickens also to feature Lacan, Foucauld, Prynne, Ginsberg (by implication) and Kentucky Fried Chicken. 

Watch this space. More will be revealed soon.



Dear Santos38pe, Correia9g, Castro22cl and Oliveira30jw


and Cavalcanti5, Goncalves8m, Victorj0b, Lavinia0h7g, Almeidarc21, Larissa37pe and Vitoria65ql, and your many hundreds of relatives with curiously South American sounding names, greetings!

And in particular, I would like to mention Vsaegwe Upyours (user name Bvasdva) using a disposable email address, (a DEA), who ordered a single copy of The Pied Piper of Hamelin (I don’t think you would have enjoyed it much, Vasaewe) to be sent to 53 Vasdvddsv, in the UK city of Lalal, using a phone number with a Kelso code. Alas, there was a wee problem with the payment of £2.75, which didn’t go through. Such a shame.Unsuitable Poems cover image

Dear zombies, you electronic identities with no souls who register on the HappenStance website in flocks, with the intention (such a shame to mention it) to break into the site security, to ransack whatever is of pecuniary benefit to you there (email addresses? phone numbers?), you have educated me.

I now know, for example, about tempinbox.com which provides “free, receive only, temporary, throwaway email accounts”. It is all above board. They even provide alternative domains, also above board, though they sound somewhat below board to me, namely [anything]@DingBone.com, [anything]@FudgeRub.com, [anything]@LookUgly.com, [anything]@SmellFear.com. Easy to see, perhaps, that people registering on certain kinds of website for certain kinds of information, would not want their emails tracked. It is perfectly legal (or legally perfect, depending which way you want to look at it.) “Tempinbox.com is a free, anonymous, temporary email service . . . not necessarily a fake email address.”

Such sites are helping fight spam, they are the “anti-spam weapon of choice”. There is guerillamail.com. And spamgourmet (2000) and Trashmail (2002),  And perhaps the most interesting, mailinator.com, which dates back to 2003 and was clearly created by a somewhat brilliant person, Paul Tyma, for engaging reasons.

Besides, Paul Tyma can write. In a blog based in 2006 he recalls the origins of Mailinator and its mission, that mission being mainly to survive, especially to survive the daily onslaught of spammers. Yes, the facilities that help people resist spam are themselves attacked by “zombie networks” of spammers (i.e. machines, not real people).

His Mailinator FAQs are very funny, witness:

What is Mailinator’s official privacy policy? Privacy is a serious issue, and we want to be clear. We think Mailinator can provide pretty decent privacy, but we can’t and don’t promise it. A promise like that would require lawyers, money, and probably guns – and we don’t have any of those.

So if the government issued a subpoena to Mailinator to divulge emails or logs, you’d rat me out? Holy crap, yes. I’m not going to jail for you, I have a boyish face and very (very) supple skin.

So websites like Mailinator give you temporary email addresses that help you resist spam – except they themselves are targeted by numerous spammers, most of them zombies, trying to put Mailinator out of business.


Ultimately, it’s about money. Spammers spam for money. Some of them are (allegedly) college students raising money to help them with fees. Hackers and spammers overlap, because hackers want to get into websites in order to spam registered users for the aforesaid reasons.

Because of all this, we are currently working on, and changing, the HappenStance website shop which is currently Vmart but about to be HikaShop. Frankly, I don’t understand any of this but fortunately Sarah at Zipfish, does. She is the one who monitors the changes, the weaknesses, the security and the spammers.

This is going to mean that loyal online customers will need to re-register – but not yet. Wait till it’s all up and running. There will be special offers and attractions! At the moment the current shop is fine and no security is compromised. It’s just being bombarded with ever increasing numbers of false registrations. Those people (except they are not actually people) won’t be able to register with the new setup.

So next time you get annoyed by the various ‘captcha’ systems (copy this to prove you’re not a robot), remember why. It’s all in order to keep your information safe, especially if you’ve given a real email address, as I myself do when ordering online purchases.

AND there are about to be two new pamphlets to order, and two new cards. Watch out for Paul Lee (card), Fiona Moore (pamphlet) and Chrissy Williams (pamphlet). More news about those next week.