Sunday Apr 14

MeandKaite a Welcome to Issue VII, Volume VIII: August 2017, the Connotation Press Year in Review.

Today we publish our last issue of Volume VIII, our year-end retrospective, and on September first we'll launch our ninth year online. NINTH. Over the
course of our run we've published thousands of contributors, some of the best artists on this planet, due to the diligent, loving, dedicated, ALL VOLUNTEER work of more than three dozen editorial staff members-- brilliant and talented artists in their own right all working for free just to get great art out to the world. For FIVE YEARS we published TWICE MONTHLY (try that sometime!), and for the past three we've put out seven sound, powerful issues a year of which I am deeply proud. In a world run amok there is still much to be grateful for, and for that I am especially thankful. Cheers to my amazing crew of the little lit mag that could: John Hoppenthaler, Meg Tuite, Julie Brooks Barbour with Davon Loeb and the newest member of the ConPress Team Ösel Jessica Plant, Jonathan Cardew who joined us in January as Karen Stephano moved on to focus on her own brilliant, genius writing, Robert Clark Young, Julia Bouwsma, John Turi, Nicholas Baker, and Kaite Robidoux. These are people I have deep respect for, an outstanding team, and the sole reason we’ve managed to go on for so long. I love these people. They make my job easy. Thanks, guys!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, or at best think it strange to see a retrospective issue this time of year, our publishing schedule is September through August. Although the frequency of our publication’s release dates eventually changed, we’ve always followed the school year as most of us teach in one capacity or another.

Before I go off on what a steaming piece of shit Trump and anyone associated with him is, as I have been wont to do quite a bit this year, or before, say, he pardons his entire shiftless, creepy, desperately-in-need-of-a-shampoo piglets for treason via Twitter, I’ll instead stay focused and pass the baton on to my amazing staff for their picks of pieces they brought to the table that for one reason or another stood out in their minds.

This issue is a LONG WAY from a “Best Of” issue, as that is quite simply a disgusting idea. I think of it this way: The musician & poet Dave Alvin was once asked in an interview for what he thought were the ten best songs ever written, and I’m paraphrasing here, but he said he didn’t qualify art that way and in lieu of what they were asking offered tens songs he’d wished he’d written himself. I’ve always thought of that interview every year at this time because it so perfectly captures what we’re going after.

Because not all of our columns lend themselves to a retrospective for one reason or another, Julia Bouwsma, our Book Review Editor, has a special call out this issue that I know a grip of you are going to be seriously interested in, and we’ve got an all new killer music piece by Al Maginnes. Sweet!

Finally, in January this year Natalie Diaz guest edited a column for us she titled, “14 Possibilities of Native Poetry.” It was a dream come true for me to publish the work of 14 stunning artists who, as Ms Diaz so aptly points out, “… were born on reservations or in ancestral lands, some still live on those lands; some were born in the city, far from their homelands and indigenous communities; some have MFAs; some speak their native language, and some do not; some speak and even teach languages other than English and other than their native language; some are musicians or spoken word artists; a few have braids; some work for their tribes; some live in cities; some live outside of America. They are many things, and they are also native poets.” As a publisher it was an honor to publish these 14 authentic writers, and as an enrolled member of the Iowa Tribe of Kansas & Nebraska, it was and continues to be an honor to open my house to these talented brothers and sisters.

Here then are links to all our staff’s picks and offerings for Volume VIII, and keeping with a tradition I’ve followed for eight full years: Let’s kick this pig and see what it’ll do:

Okay, that’s about it from me for now. I’ll take this opportunity to once again remind you we will be publishing our first issue of Volume IX (wow, an X!) on September 1st with new offerings in our Hoppenthaler’s Congeries, Crazy Rabbit Review, Music, Wine & Book Review columns, and on the 15th we’ll bring in our Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction columns.
And finally, to all the folks who thought enough of us to let us publish your work this year, thank you. Your trust and confidence in what we do is the fuel that keeps this crazy, cobbled together machine grinding on. You entirely rock! From all of us at Connotation Press to you and all of yours, all love. And now, onward & upward!

Connotation Press: Eat A Rock, Donny.

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