Welcome to the Issue XII, Volume III: August 2012 of Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. This month we're proud to present our third year-in-review retrospective issue. It's our chance to look back and remember some of the talented artists we've been fortunate to publish here at Connotation Press.
As we're taking a look back at some of the outstanding literature we've published over the course of our third year you'll notice that the magazine looks just a little different than it usually does-- namely, no authors! That's because in this issue each editor was asked to write a short blog revisiting what they saw to be the highlights from their column this past year.
Our publishing year runs from September 1st to August 31 and our bi-weekly magazine averages about 40 authors a month. That means we published somewhere in the neighborhood of 480 authors this past year, and our audience is a diverse one. Connotation Pressaverages over 5,000 readers viewing over 11,000 pages a month from over 140 countries-- 143 to be exact. To give you some idea what that looks like, here's a shot of all the countries from where readers are currently visiting us shown here in green and dark purple:
United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, India, Japan, Germany, Australia, France, Philippines, Mexico, Russia, Belgium, Brazil1, Spain, Italy, Israel, Romania, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Argentina, Sweden, Denmark, Palestinian Territories, Indonesia, Greece, Colombia, Hong Kong, China, Portugal, Turkey, South Africa, Poland, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Ukraine, Pakistan, Austria, Malaysia, Czech Republic, Iceland, Peru, Thailand, Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Macedonia, Serbia, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Tunisia, Vietnam, Algeria, Ecuador, Lithuania, Chile, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Dominican Republic, Croatia, Moldova, Venezuela, Guatemala, Lebanon, Slovenia, Kyrgyzstan, Puerto Rico, Syria, Armenia, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Slovakia, Trinidad and Tobago, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Luxembourg, Albania, Bahrain, Belarus, Cyprus, Georgia, Laos, Dominica, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Sri Lanka, Myanmar [Burma], Mozambique, Nigeria, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Libya, Mongolia, Martinique, Malta, Oman, Panama, Senegal, Yemen, Netherlands Antilles, Barbados, Brunei, Bahamas, Belize, Cameroon, Estonia, Ghana, Guam, Haiti, Jersey, Nepal, Sudan, Uganda, Angola, Burundi, Fiji, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Guyana, Montenegro, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Rwanda, Suriname, El Salvador, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Zambia, and last but certainly not least: Zimbabwe. Welcome Zimbabwe!
Now that we've got that out of the way, this year has been a busy one for us. Where to start? The first piece of news that seems important to pass on to you is the creation of our print division. Over the past year, we've been hard at work deciding whether or not we wanted to get involved in the rather complicated, exhausting, expensive, and seemingly not profitable task of publishing collections in print. It was a difficult decision but in the end we decided, just as we did when we launched Connotation Press three years ago, to go for it. I mean, why not right? We've already sunk most of my retirement money in the magazine, might as well try to figure out a way to make some of it back. Ha! Besides, what's better than publishing art? We look forward to the release of our first book in print under the Connotation Press Publicationsbanner. Woohoo!
To this end, we're happy to announce the hiring of our newest member of the Connotation Pressstaff, Melanie Moro-Huber. Melanie will be working with me to head up the technical aspects of the print division, and to bring her trained artistic sensibilities to each and every book we produce. We are already working on our first collection and we'll keep you up on our progress as it develops. Welcome, Mel! It's already great working with you.
The second piece of news that is probably more important to me than anyone else is that after much unsolicitedinput from family and friends, it became clear to me that I needed an assistant. Apparently, I'm a busy guy. I put out a call for the position and received over 20 quality applicants. In the end, I decided Brittany Connolly would be my new Emily (see: The Devil Wears Prada). Emily is brilliant, attentive, and about the best assistant I could have hoped for so I immediately suggested she might like to edit a new column for us-- effectively making her so busy that she'll eventually need an assistant of her own. Brittany (I'm speaking the column editor now so out goes the "Emily" tag), will be editing a column devoted to finding, interviewing, and bringing to our pages interesting artisans from around the world. Her new column will debut in our September 1st issue and we couldn't be more excited. Welcome to the show, Em!
The third piece of news is the addition of two more new columns on Connotation Press! All around super smart and sassy in the best possible way, Poet Erica Goss was chosen over all other applicants to edit our new column focused on the emerging art form of the poetry/video mashup. Erica is calling her column, "The Third Form". If you're making videopoems and are looking for a place to showcase them, we're that place. Erica will be choosing from her favorite submitted videopoems and including an interview with the writer, director, and maybe both. Sweet! Welcome, Erica!
Our most recent new column comes by way of one of my oldest and dearest friends (and let's end the rumors now. Yes, I do have his name tattooed to my bottom-- LONG story!), John Turi. John is a writer, collector, computer genius, and certified master sommelier in training and he brings a half-baked brilliance to the rather difficult and often intimidating world of fine wine. But don't worry, John is one of us. His column, "A Drinker with a Writing Problem" is designed to help us learn about wines, not put us down for asking. We are EXTREMELY lucky to have John with us and I feel honored to be publishing a guy that has saved my life on more than one occasion (literally, not figuratively)!
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't take this opportunity to thank Associate Poetry editor Mari L'Esperance, who will be leaving us this month. Mari set the standard for quality, intelligence, and hitting all the endless deadlines we're dealing with when publishing a bi-weekly magazine. THANK YOU, Mari, and good luck in all you do. To replace Mari we've brought in two talented new Associate editors: Miha Avramut & Doug Van Gundy to join Poetry editor Kaite Hillenbrand and Associate editors Nicelle Davis and JP Reese. We are stoked to have them with us and Kaite will introduce them more fully in her blog, but I think it's telling to note that it took TWO editors to replace Mari. Welcome Miha & Doug! Now that we've got that covered, this seems like a good time to get in step with our long standing tradition-- so let's kick this pig and see what it'll do!
In the 2011-2012 year we featured a number of artists, but only two actually made the Featured Artist column. In January we brought you new work and an interview with David Tomaloff & Swoon. This was one of my favorite projects this year and I am thrilled to have had the chance to interview these brilliant, generous, and talented guys.
A Poetry Congeries, with John Hoppenthaler's reading came next and even though it started at 9:30AM on Saturday (because writers are notorious for being early to bed early to rise kinds of folks...riiiiiiight) John put on a sublime reading. Featured in the ballroom were Camille Dungy, David St. John, Mihaela Moscaliuc, Brian Turner, and Anna Journey. This one brought me to tears more than once. Quite simply, one of the most beautiful readings I have ever attended. John organized this particular reading entirely by himself and he did one hell of a job.
We also had three Featured Guest Editors this past year. Our guest editors basically construct a column filled with the artists they are connected to and we had three OUTSTANDING offerings this past year. In December, Leanne O'Sullivan edited an all-Irish author columnwith 11 new contributors including Caitríona Ní Chléirchín, Michael Coady, and Bríd Ní Mhóráin. Leanne did a wonderful job and the artists she brought to the table just knocked us all out. A joy to run a column that originated in the very home of all things poetry. Thanks Leanne!
In June the fine scholar and the editor of Poetry Kanto, Alan Botsford, agreed to edit an all-Japanese author column,with a focus on the devastating tragedy that ripped through the heart of Japan last year. Alan answered the call with a list of the top living poets in Japan. What a gift! Tanikawa Shuntaro, Abe Hinako, Nomura Kiwao, Hirata Toshiko and six others brought their take on the events that had transpired-- some hopeful, some sounding the alarm, but all poignant and a blessing. Thank you Alan!
Finally, last month Keetje Kuipers edited our guest column superbly. We've had the privilege of publishing Keetje and as I mentioned earlier, she read at our off-side AWP event so yes, we knew already that she is an extremely talented individual-- but after this recent effort she can play in our editorial sand box anytime. Keetje brought in a stellar list of writers including Elizabeth Bradfield, Natalie Diaz, Cynthia Marie Hoffman, Jennifer Elise Foerster and a host of others. Like manna from heaven, my friends.
That takes care of the front matter, but now comes the moment I've personally been waiting for: the introduction of my staff! I will not go into the particulars of the work of each editor because, quite frankly, this blog is too long already and we've got a HUGE staff. Besides, if I wrote about how much I love each one of them and the work they do we'd be here for a week. I'll spare you all that-- but know this: I have THE BEST editorial staff in publishing. Period. They've demonstrated it time and again. They work their body parts off and NEVER complain. They do it for the love of the arts and nothing more. And, hardest of all, they put up with me.
Here, then, is our team complete with links to their retrospective blogs.
Well, that's about it-- at least for now. As many of you know, Connotation Press is one of those labor of love thangs. We work long hours for no pay and we do it because we believe the arts are transcendent, because we believe the arts are connective, because we believe the arts answer all relevant questions about why we're here, and because we are fortunate enough to be able to do so when so many others are not.
Do people still perform entirely selfless, wonderful acts to help others communicate, create art, link us all together, and find tether to this amazing world and all the beauty it contains? Oh, HELL YES they do. ♥
Ken Robidoux Publisher/Founding Editor-in-Chief
Thank you to my daughter Hannah Robidoux for this loving tribute.