Jan 31

Issue III, Volume VI : January 2015

Ken Robidoux, Editor-in-Chief: September 2013

IMAG0643b Welcome to Issue I, Volume V: September 2013 of Connotation Press: An Online Artifact.

At the time of this posting it is September 1, 2013 and that means IT’S OUR BIRTHDAY! WOOHOO!

Today we launch our fifth year as an online publication and I am reminded of the eve of our first launch back on September 1, 2009. My small team and I were working feverishly to get the bugs ironed out of the system in time for the launch. Our website is unique to the software platform we built it on, and we had to make a lot of tweaks to the various module and plugin components we were working with in order to get them to perform the tasks necessary for producing the best possible layout and design that would not only stay true to the work of the writers we hoped to publish, but also flatter that work—make it shine.
By this point I’d already dealt with every person but one that I pitched the idea of a bi-weekly art & literary magazine to telling me it would never work. I was even told by my mentor at the time that it was not only impossible, he went even further in his specificity to include the workload would overwhelm me and if my new magazine lasted a year he’d be surprised. And his was one of the more polite pre-release condolences. Ha! Some people straight up told me off—said my idea didn’t make any sense at all and it would end up being a joke; the target of public ridicule. Another said the workload would tax my epilepsy and possibly kill me. And you know what, they were all wrong with the exception of the one person that wasn’t sure if it could be done but thought there was a chance, if it could, that I might be the person to pull it off.

Nope, no one thought we’d survive, and as the three-o’clock hour approached on the east coast (all new issues of Connotation Press post at midnight PST), I remember the spine-twisting excitement resonating through our tiny office in Morgantown, WV. I don’t know why but I knew it would work. I knew it. In fact, it didn’t even occur to me that the magazine might fail until twenty or so people said it would. I’d staked what little reputation I had on Connotation Press succeeding, dumped every dime I had into the magazine, and I couldn’t wait for it to start.

We ran a lovely issue that first night—small by our current standards, but strong, and by the end of our first month the submissions began to start pouring in. We have not looked back since, and we are now cresting 19 million hits publishing over 1600 authors, and we’re still going strong. Oh, hell yes!

Over the past four years we’ve rebuilt and migrated the entire magazine to an updateable and more fluid platform, we’ve had a host of talented people come and go who all freely dedicated their time and expertise to the cause, and we’ve even released a collection in print. And still, to this day I get giggly with excitement at the launch of each new issue. It hasn’t always been fun. It certainly has rarely been easy. The cost of publishing Connotation Press rises exponentially as our readership continues to grow. But we are strong and solid and ready for another year publishing the best & brightest the genres have to offer.

Oh, and the one person that thought we could pull it off? Yep, still on staff and we’re having a blast!

It’s Issue I, Volume V: September 2013, it’s our birthday, and it’s time to kick this pig and see what it’ll do!

This month we’re THRILLED to bring you an all-new guest edited column from our friend, contributor, and real life genius David Tomaloff. I contacted David a few months ago and said I was interested in his guest hosting a column. I wanted to learn more about the kinds of work he personally was interested in as I am a big fan of his work and am always seeking out the connections that occur between people leading to new and exciting forms of art. David delivered in truckloads! He launches his column with an amazing DO-NOT-MISS interview along with a collection of compelling poetry from his featured artist Eric Baus, and follows up with new work by Kristina Marie Darling & Carol Guess, Howie Good, Neal Kitterlin, Jasmine Dreame Wagner, J. A. Tyler, Amanda Deo, Chad Redden, J. Scott Bugher, J.D. Nelson, and Tracy Jager. KNOCKED ME OUT! This is seriously powerful, ambitious, off-the-hook work, and I could not be happier. Thank you to [dt] and all the talented contributors he’s brought to the table. We hope to see more work like this soon in our incoming submissions. Woohoo!

Our pal and an original team member of Connotation Press, John Hoppenthaler, launches our Poetry Congeries column with a collection of folks both new and familiar to the pages of Connotation Press. John opens with his blog and a serious discussion on the censorship of the work of Toni Morrison—an eye-opening discussion that clearly needed to be said. From there John delivers dynamic and wonderfully flowing new work from Michele Poulos. John adds another to his terrific interview series with Ms Poulos that we are certain you’ll enjoy. From there John takes us through new work by Dara Wier, Hugh Martin, Erica Dawson, Connotation Press Editor-at-Large Mari L’Esperance, Elaine Sexton, Seth Brady Tucker, and one of our absolute favorite contributors here at Connotation Press: Sandy Longhorn. Another great collection of artists and one that honors our fifth year launch wonderfully. A class act as always, Hoppy. Well done, pal! And welcome to the new and returning authors!

This month also brings with it the return of our regular columns. Eric Goss, editor of our film-poetry column, The Third Form, enters Volume V with a look at three video poems from artists under 40. Erica has been doing a bash-up job with the film-poetry column and has a grip of new artists along with a couple of trips to film-poetry festivals planned for our new year. We excitedly anticipate the talent and moving art she brings as we continue to support this powerful new form. Great job, Erica!

Our intrepid travel writer Nicholas Baker takes his Discovered column to part two of his recent trip to Spain with a visit to Valencia. GORGEOUS photos pepper Nicholas' own brand of travelogue as he takes us to the opera house, the market, science museum, IMAX theater, and all around one of the most lovely cities in Spain. It’s another outstanding submission from one of my personally favorite columns in the magazine. Nicholas’ Discovered column is my escape from the ever-invasive world around us, and I am a happy camper every month visiting and revisiting his posts. Thank you once again, Nicholas. You’re the best, old friend!

We're overjoyed to welcome back our Book Review column with the first post from our new review edtior Julia Bouwsma. YES! Julia starts off with a review of Rebecca Gayle Howell's newest offering, Render / An Apocalypse from the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. We are beyond thrilled to welcome Julia to Connotation Press and anxiously anticipate what she brings to the column. It is her intention to pepper the column with reviews she writes herself, those she solicits from writers she admires, and reviews submitted to ConPress. Please join us in welcoming Julia to the Connotation Press family!

A Drinker with a Writing Problem, our own all-things-wine column helmed by our sommelier in training John Turi, heads straight to the bottle for Volume V with a look at Agusta Winery’s 2009 Norton Reserva del Patron. John is currently investigating wines from every state in the US, and he starts here with a well-made varietal from Missouri—the wine capitol of America during the late 18 and early 1900s. Missouri, go figure! A little history, a little wine, a little discussion intended to help you pick a good bottle the next time you’re out looking for one, A Drinker with a Writing Problem is a great start for anyone interested in learning about fermented grapes from a wine loving, punk rocker. Thanks, John!

Our former Movie Review editor and now an Editor-at-Large, Robin Russin, returns to Connotation Press this month hosting a collection of work for our Essays on Art column. Robin brings in new analysis from Cat Priamos, Jonathan Le, Latisha Plance, and Alix Conde all on the topic of the writing of Shakespeare—specifically Hamlet. What we love about this collection of essays is that they are by emerging artists. These are young people’s takes on Hamlet and we are always happy to welcome new ideas and opinions to the table. Thank you, Robin, and welcome to the students of UCR!

Finally, our featured artists in the Fiction and Creative Nonfiction columns are Terry Wilson, from fiction with an interview conducted by editor Meg Tuite, and CNF editor Robert Clark Young’s pick for the Volume V launch physicist and literary essayist Sharon Stephenson. And as always, we remind you we’re only half-way done on the first of the month. Please be sure to come back on the fifteenth for the Poetry, Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Drama, and Artisan Review columns along with a number of surprises you’ll just have to return to see.

Until we see you again on the fifteenth, we are grateful for you and all the readers of Connotation Press for whom we produce this labor of love twice a month, every month, year after year. We love you guys!

Connotation Press: Party, Party, Party, Party. Party!

All best,
Ken Robidoux
Publisher/Founding Editor-in-Chief


This issue of Connotation Press is dedicated to Jake Adam York, Kurk Brown, Seamus Heaney, and all the outstanding writers we lost this year. They will certainly be missed. 


September 15, 2013

We welcome to Issue I, Volume V: September 2013 of Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, the artists of our mid-month post:

Editor Kaitlin Hillenbrand introduces the artists she and our poetry team chose for our Volume V launch: Alvis Minor (who I am personally so thrilled to be publishing as to find myself in tears tonight), Barbara Presnell
Hedy Habra, Frank Reardon, Ed Higgins, Fain Rutherford, Chris Siteman, and Emily Strauss.


Editor Meg Tuite rocks the house with her "Ode to September," and delivers for your reading pleasure strong new work by Joe Kapitan, Kristy Webster, T. L. Sherwood, Natalia Andrievskikh, Darleen P. Campos, and Kayleigh Buckner.

Creative Nonfiction

Editor Robert Clark Young delivers four Creative Nonfiction authors to delight and, in at least one case, creep you the hell out: Robyn Segal, Jennifer McGuiggan, Patricia McTiernan, and Jan Zlotnik Schmidt.

Editor Kathleen Dennehy interviews playwright Daniel Reitz and presents his entirely human play, "Turnabout."

Artisan Review

Editor Brittany Connolly introduces us to Mandie Manzano who works in Mock Stained Glass.