Friday, April 06, 2007

Poetic Archaeology; Kilobats

God, what a nuisance! I've been trying to sort my publications, some indexed by the names of journals, some by the titles of individual pieces, and some by other titles for the same pieces. Using Google and other sources, I have managed to discover, so far, the following journals either without a website or without archives:

Apples and Oranges
A Writer’s Choice
Adirondack Review
Beauty for Ashes
Blue Moon Review
Dust on My Palms
EZ Books
Free Cuisenart
Horsethief’s Journal
Muse Apprentice Guild
Poetry Cafe
Poetry Magazine (online journal, not the big one)
Poetry Now
Poetry Tonight
Recursive Angel
Shallow End
Spoken Word
Susquehanna Review
Tintern Abbey
Wired Heart
World Poetry
Writer’s Hood
Ze Books
Zuzu’s Petals

If I am in error about any of these, I would appreciate a note from readers or their scattered connections on the literary Internet.

There are also those journals who list me in their archives as a contributor, but strangely, have no record of or links to my poems--often right next to another poet whose links are still good. I assume this is random and not personal, though I have made some enemies in my faux career.

Anyway, my back hurts terribly from sitting despite the new pain medication, even though I did go easy at the gym yesterday. Since my recent cold I've put at least ten pounds back on from not exercising regularly, then Kathleen and I also became derelict re: our low carb high protein diet.

Three steps forward and four steps back.

Is it discouraging to find so much of your work erased from the net forever? Here's an advantage: when there is no record of a work I consider it unpublished and open for submission again, a liberty I don't take with print--which may appear inconsistent until you realize that with print publications I can still hold the evidence in my greedy little narcissistic hand. Where all evidence is erased, can anything have happened?

Speaking of narcissism, Kathleen and I watched the original "Sunset Boulevard" last night, and Kathleen threatened to fall asleep before the end, whereupon I threatened her with this: "You can never call me narcissistic again if you don't finish this movie." I mean, c'mon--compared to Norma Desmond even poets are normal. (Such a comparison does stretch the (Marvin) Bell curve.)

Ah, so little to say, so much to write. We'll be house sitting for my sister this weekend in the lovely SF suburb of Burlingame, while she goes south to check out the alma mater of my middle daughter and myself, UCLA. My sister's only daughter is making the college tour now, and from what I understand, likely has her choice of most, and money is no object thanks to the prudent planning of her parents. I had to put myself through college and medical school, which includes loans, of course. And I couldn't help my one college graduate daughter much monetarily, though some; mostly I provided emotional support and medical expertise--I'm still very proud that she, a bipolar I, got through UCLA in four years--a miracle. She has guts and determination, which can sometimes appear as an extreme and brittle stubbornness.

Enough about family. Like photos from a wallet, all that patter is a bore, isn't it? Here's a photo of my grandson:

I'm in a mixed state--fragile and sort of +2 and -2 at the same time--cried on the treadmill yesterday, have been anxious--but while I'm working I naturally feel better as I am not thinking about myself even if I'm writing about myself, which writers understand.

What's a kilorat and a kilobunny at the same time?

Put me at two kilobats.




  1. It's pretty bad - all those magazines disappearing and not archiving material. It is a problem for those who say print is dead and the Net is the future of poetry publication. This is compelling evidence to the contrary. Of course there are e-zines that do keep archives properly as well.

    Good luck in placing some of these poems elsewhere.

  2. CE, I don't know about all these journals, but Disquieting Muses does have an archives. I think the problem is that the name changed to DMQ Review. Here's the URL to the archives:

  3. CE I went back to the site - The majority of the issues are archived... 26 out of 31. I'm not certain why the early issues, Feb. 1999 through Feb. 2000, aren't included.

  4. This is an interesting problem; one I'd not thought about before. I would agree that if it's not archived, it's no longer published. Fair's fair. If no one has access to it then you should be free to submit it somewhere else.

  5. On the other hand, a print journal may have a 500 copy run of an issue. The press keeps a couple of issues. To mind, that's not really archived either.

    One can say that the copies of the issues exist somewhere. We all know that many of those copies, either by accident or on purpose, reach a landfill. Also, I may copy a poem that I read online and paste it into a file that I store on my computer.

    I think the real issue is whether or not online journals have the respect that a print journal has. Some do, some don't. There are strong print venues and weak ones. The same can be said about online journals.

    I have had a poem accepted and published in a print journal that is no longer active, and I would say that it would be nearly impossible to access any copies of that journal. I've had a poem accepted by an online journal that is no longer active, and it's equally impossible to access the poem. My own philosophy is that both cases are equal -- both poems are published and therefore out of bounds for me to submit as an unpublished work.

    A few years back, as editor of Blue Fifth Review, an online poetry journal, I accepted a poem from a poet whom I consider to be an important American poet - and I might add that poet's works are included in numerous anthologies and textbooks. I even nominated the poem for an award. The next year, I read the same poem at another online journal. I contacted the editor, stating that I like the poem - that I had liked it so much that I had accepted it at BFR and had nominated it for an award. I didn't ask that the poem be taken down from the online journal, but I did require that the poem's appearance at Blue Fifth be listed, and it was. I don't think the poet has to share most of the responsibility for the problem.

    Online journals vary as to guidelines. At Blue Fifth, I'm only interested in poems that have not appeared in journals, print or online. My hope is that that adds a certain level of credibility to the journal. I hope, in turn, that writers who send me their work will have a more positive experience about the appearance in Blue Fifth.

    I’m proud of the work that has appeared there – poets such as Dorianne Laux, Vicki Hudspith, E. Ethelbert Miller, Marge Piercy, Virgil Suárez, Natasha Sajé, Susan Terris, Eleni Sikelianos, Lee Passarella, and Donald Illich have had new work appear first at Blue Fifth Review.

    But – I do recognize that there’s a problem. I think the online editors and online venues have to do a better job. They have to earn the respect. Internet isn’t the future – it’s the present. The time to start is now.

  6. Correction to the last sentece in paragraph 5 of my previous epic:

    "I think the poet has to share most of the responsibility for the problem."

    I'm going to hush now. Promise.

  7. Sam, your points are well-taken, and I hope you re-publish them at your blog. Ironically, my two poems in DMQ review belong to those issues that were not archived.

    As an editor I may agree with you, as a poet disagree--my wife leaned more towards your position--but if your best poems have disappeared, can you resist the temptation to send them out once more, especially since you may never write that well again? I say take the money and run. Poets have enough trouble getting noticed already. Bend the rules until they break, just don't piss off the editors.

    Twitches, not surprised you agree. ;-)

  8. Anonymous11:44 AM PDT

    There was a lot of early hullabaloo about the low barriers to entry offered by Internet poetry journals. But higher barriers encourage higher levels of commitment, so they're not all bad. When it's too easy to pull the plug, the plug gets pulled.

  9. Anonymous11:44 AM PDT

    There was a lot of early hullabaloo about the low barriers to entry offered by Internet poetry journals. But higher barriers encourage higher levels of commitment, so they're not all bad. When it's too easy to pull the plug, the plug gets pulled.

  10. I found no relationship between quality of a journal and its longevity, looking back. Perhaps that has changed. Certainly a coterie of "good journals" has grown up on the web since, where even well-known print poets are happy to appear. The bar has been raised, but again, with the proliferation of literary e-journals, there's always room at the bottom.


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