Well, this is it. The last full issue of the magazine before we begin our year-long hiatus. Because we’ve got something special planned for our August retrospective, I’ll save my goodbyes until then. Some of our staff is leaving after this issue, and as difficult as it’s going to be to hold off on praising them and saying my formal goodbyes, I’ll try to wait until next month for that privilege, as well.
Besides, after 10 years online, this is our first complete issue. That’s something, right? HA! Seriously, this is the first time we’ve posted a full issue of the magazine all at once. As I’m sure if you’re reading this you know, we’ve always run each issue of ConPress in two stages: part one on the first of the month, part two on the 15th. But because of the scope of the project we’re putting together for the August retrospective, we’re saving ourselves some time and running this final issue tonight!
SO (nice transition, huh?), with that, and for the final time with THE most outstanding, top-shelf crew an editor could possibly hope for, let’s strap ourselves onto the back of tradition one last time and let’s KICK THIS PIG AND SEE WHAT IT’LL DO!
Because I’ve got so much ground to cover here, I’ll try to be brief:
A Poetry Congeries with John Hoppenthaler goes big this issue with stunning new work from Jennifer Militello, Kimberly Kruge, Julia Koets, John Hodgen, Crystal Simone Smith, Cathy Carlisi, Beth Gylys, Jennifer Wheelock, and John’s featured artist: Roger Bonair-Agard. Brilliant! And don’t miss John’s preface with a far shorter than it could have been list of some of the talented folks we’ve published in his column over the past ten years. It’s been a hell of a ride, Hoppy. Well done, sir!
Up next, Jeez. Who knows?! So much to choose from. I guess we’ll run down the written artists then head for the columns.
Julie Brooks Barbour has been with us as a Poetry editor for the past six years. That is SIX YEARS of strenuous, difficult, unpaid work that has never made me less than completely proud. This month, without the aid of her staff, Julie brought in her last four contributors: Leah Umansky, Caroline Parkman Barr, Callista Buchen, and Jeff Newberry. Thanks, Jules! (I will not cry. I will not cry. I will…)
Our Fiction editor Jonathan Cardew has been with us two and a half years, and before he heads off to AFRICA (really, I’m not making this stuff up), he brings us a wonderful game with four stunning writers: Len Kuntz, Jacqueline Doyle, Claire Polders, and Andrew Stancek. You’ve got to check this out. I LOVE IT! This column represents what I’ve loved so much about Jonathan’s work for us: it’s inventive, creative, and addictive. We’ll miss you, pal.
Robert Clark Young has been with us as our Creative Nonfiction editor almost since the beginning. I think for nearly 9 ½ years! There has never been an editor who more entirely butchered his deadlines than Bob. Seriously, I can’t remember him ever hitting one—at least not in the last seven years or so. HA! Still, he’s brought in some outstanding Creative Nonfiction. This issue is no different. We’ve got three authors, Som Oluwatobi Adedayo, Jill Moyer Sunday (one of my favorite people in the world!), and B. Michael Rubin. A nice way to end ten. Well done, Bob!
I guess from here we should go to the Book Reviews, right? Julia Bouwsma, that is, recent AWARD WINNER Julia Bouwsma!, has also been with us for the past six years. I can’t believe how fast it seems this time has passed. In addition to delivering issue after issue of some of the most insightful, passionate, intelligent reviews I’ve ever read, she has been the NUMBER ONE on-time editor we’ve ever had. I don’t think Julie was late with her column more than twice in six freakin’ years. THAT, like so many things about this brilliant person, is amazing. Oh, and this month she’s running a review of Ilya Kaminsky’s new book, Deaf Republic, by “deaf writer, wanderer, and artist," Kristen Ringman. Thanks for everything, Julie!
No one gets paid here at Con Press. No one. Not even one. None. And still, over the past ten years our intrepid Travel editor, Nicholas Baker, somehow managed to turn in 52 (if my count is correct) reviews of some of the most beautiful places on the planet. I have adored Nick’s reviews since he wrote in the very first one of the folks in Scotland, “The girls are short and fat and the guys have scars and bad teeth, but without a doubt, everyone we spoke to was friendly and welcoming.” Heeheehee! Nick and Freddy’s travels have kept me going on more than one occasion, and to be completely honest, it’s probably Kaite's and my favorite column. SO THERE, SCRIBNERS!
The newest member of our staff also writes a column that I adore, and rallied hard for, Mr. Al Maginnes. Al’s Sweet Obsession column is a music lovers daydream, housed in a road-hard and hung-up-wet pair of jeans. This month, Al looks at the writing of music. He checks out three important books on the subject and offers up his two cents. IT IS GLORIOUS. Thanks, pal. See you again, soon!
And finally, the guy who hammered out the original platform this fiasco rides on, my pal of, jeez, 30 years or so, and our resident wino, John Turi, delivers what he’s calling his Motely’s Wine review. It’s cool! I’m especially interested in what the focus of this piece, entrepreneur Jaimee Motley, is up to. Thanks, John!
Okay, that’s it. Next month the last retrospective before we shut down for the year. Until then, enjoy!
Connotation Press: The Bear Went Over the Mountain