Sunday Jul 14

This One Welcome to Issue I, Volume VIII: September 2016 of Connotation Press: An Online Artifact.


I am so entirely overwhelmed by the idea that we’ve been hammering at this stone for 2,555 days. We’ve published thousands of artists, with poems, stories, and reviews in the ten plus thousand range, but for the past 2,555 days, through poor health and good, fending off hackers and prima donnas, come rain AND shine, we’ve continued headlong into a pool of talent so vast that even now we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s out there. The written word is so f’ing alive and well that just being close to it adds quality years to one’s life.

As I write this I’m being notified by my (software) secretary that I am late for a deadline for my writing gig. Yep, this year, the first since we started publishing ConPress, I took a gig as a script writer at an educational video company. I never thought I’d write creatively or otherwise again after turning my life over to publishing, but with the help of some good friends and the advice of mentors I trust, I’m back at it. And you know what? DEADLINES ARE HARD!!! I guess what I’m trying to say is, for all of you who have put so much effort into meeting my deadlines since we launched in 2009, I have an entirely new respect for you.

Normally, I’d use the launch of a new volume to outline our plan for the coming year, talk about our successes during the past year, and in general produce a “state of the magazine” address. Not this year. Nuh-uh. To be frank, I’m pretty tired of hearing my own voice in my own head. But I will say this, I have had and continue to have THE BEST team in publishing. My crew is amazing, but you already knew that, didn’t you?

Since we started ConPress John Hoppenthaler and I have been together on this thing. He is the only remaining member of the original ConPress crew, and the first person I asked to join the magazine. I’d put the work John has done in his Congeries column up against any, ANY, other poetry publication in the world. Hell, there are whole journals that don’t produce a tenth of the quality that John’s little column that could has year after year. John is his own person, and I love that about him, and he’s honest to a fault. I really couldn’t ask for better. I mean, why? It just doesn’t exist. Thank you, John. For every damn thing.

Meg Tuite, the universe’s gift to short-form fiction, is still with us producing an artist or two for her Crazy Rabbit Review column each year. I love you, Meg! You’re my rock and I have no idea what I’d do without you. And Julie Bouwsma’s Book Review column levels me every time I read it. She’s the genius of our motley crew. And man, when she gets warmed up, her reviews are something to see. I have actually enjoyed them more than some of the books she’s reviewed. HA! Same goes for John Turi’s wine review column. A Drinker with a Writing Problem is an award winning look into the world of high-end lush-life, and I love it. Always different, always daring, and often written in ways that make me giggle, John’s is one of my guilty pleasure columns. And in case you don’t know, Mr. Turi and I built this crazy place.

The hardest job on this magazine is performed by three people who never, NEVER complain and who dig deep into the constant stream of submissions we receive (AND NO, NONE OF US CALL IT “THE SLUSH PILE”. I mean, come on. Slush pile? Really? Who are these editors that believe that’s not a derogatory term?). Robert Clark Young, Julie Brooks Barbour, and Karen Stefano represent the best amongst us, and their unending dedication to getting it right is exactly why we are as successful as we are. I can’t stress this enough, Robert, Julie, and Karen rock my world and yours, they do it for free, they do it out of love for their genres, they do it because they know if people like they don’t it won’t get done, and they do it because they love the game. There is no way I can thank them enough. I guess that’s one of the crazy realities of publishing, because I know none of us ever will. But they don’t do it for the “thanks,” which is another reason they so entirely rock.

Rather than doing a rundown of the whole first of the month post, part one of our two-part September Issue, I’m just going to list the new artists and content below with links to every post. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to thank our first Featured Guest Editor of the year, the brilliant and emerging-strong Roy Guzmán. For someone still in an MFA program, this young individual put together one of the most stunning guest edited columns we’ve ever produced. He got right in there with his contributors, too, no absentee editor, he. OH, HELL NO! And for his unpaid, unending effort, I can only say thank you. What a pleasure it has been to work with this young person. Keep an eye on Roy, people. Watch as his star crests the horizon!

Here then are links to all the new content in our Issue I, Volume VIII offerings, people. Now let’s kick this pig and see what it’ll do!

A Poetry Congeries with John Hoppenthaler
A Note from John
Bob Hicok (
Ramón García
Gail Wronsky
Amber Flora Thomas
Emari DiGiorgio
L.S. McKee Carolee Bennett

Featured Guest Editor, Roy Guzmán
A Note from Roy
Joshua Jennifer Espinoza
Ashley M. Jones
Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello
Audrey Gradzewicz
Jacqueline Balderrama
Alexandra Lytton Regalado
D. Allen
Maitreyi Ray
Luis Lopez-Maldonado
The Art of Sarah Shields

Meg Tuite’s Crazy Rabbit Review
Jonathan Cardew

Book Review
Forest Primeval, by Vivee Francis
Reviewed by Leslie Contreras Schwartz

A Drinker with a Writing Problem, by John Turi
Kosta Browne 4-Barrell, 2006

That completes our part-one post. Please come back on the 15th for new offerings in our Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction columns. I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

And now, I think it’s about time for me to ride off into the sun, well, rise. You know, you’d think by now I’d have figured out a way to not be up until dawn on posting days, but hey, what say we go eight more years and see if I figure it out? Heeheehee! I LOVE MY JOB!

Connotation Press: EIGHT, BITCHES! EIGHT! EIGHT!!!


Ken Robidoux
Publisher, Founding Editor-in-Chief
Connotation Press