I don’t know. Maybe it was the warm Santa Anas, those glorious devil winds that seem to take a few frames out of reality leaving us all so off our kit, but on a sleeveless summer night in Anaheim, California, about a block from Disneyland with their nightly fireworks in full bloom, pacing on the concrete pad in John Turi’s side yard, chain-smoking cigarettes and weed, we hashed out the idea to create Connotation Press. Two months later, after building a website from scratch on an open-source platform and assembling ten somewhat tentative friends to work as our editorial staff, sorry, unpaid editorial staff, on September 1st, 2009, we launched. Nine volumes with 81 two-part issues and nine retrospectives later, and tonight we start our tenth year online.
As I write this I find I am not much interested in looking back and even less inclined to speculate on the future. And although I took some time today to think of all the brilliant, talented people over the years who have burned what now seems like countless hours that could have been spent with their families or working on their own art, instead vetted work for Connotation Press, interviewed writers, invented and wrote columns, introduced and reintroduced artists to the world, I’m not going to be writing of them tonight, either.
And I will neither be writing about the depth and so often surprising genius of the authors we’ve published, nor the generosity of those who have chosen to support us in so many ways, although both would be absolutely worth writing about. Contrary to the popular political opinion of our time, truth so often is. I won’t be complaining about the difficulty of the job, the constant tech issues, or any of the crazy places I’ve found myself posting a new issue of the magazine while on the road, both legal and illegal, on so many rock star nights.
Instead, tonight, tit-high in the absurdity of this thing actually ever working in the first place let alone for so long, I’m just going to enjoy it all. Because I’ll tell you what, I have loved this damn magazine since the day we created it. It is one of the few things in this world I had a hand in creating that I am still so entirely proud of and in love with. So, amigos, for the 91st time, what do you say we go to the well and once more kick this pig to see what it’ll do?
A few months back, our poetry editor Julie Brooks Barbor invited all things wonderful in the person of Shayla Lawson to guest edit a column for us. We are honored and thrilled to report she agreed and tonight we have a collection of gorgeous, vital poetry for you. Shayla starts off by introducing her authors and their writing, or as she puts it, “this body of humanity, this gorgeous collection of hard-earned work.” Welcome to Keith S. Wilson, LeConté Dill, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Nana Boateng, Middo Harvey, Chet’la Sebree, D.M. Aderibigbe, Britt Ashley, Bianca Lynne Spriggs, and Joy Priest. Your work floored me. THANK YOU ALL so much for joining us, and GREAT JOB, Shayla!
A Poetry Congeries with John Hoppenthaler, one of our first and longest running columns, has been a mainstay of our monthly offerings. Of course, this month is no exception. As always, John delivers so much good work it hurts, this time by Jenny Molberg, Joseph Fasano, Amy Small-McKinney, Philip Matthews, Stephen Cramer, Patrick Cotter, and John’s featured poet this month, Derrick Harriell. Oh, and don’t miss John’s preface. It’s good for a smile. Welcome to all the new poets and thanks again, John!
Finally, our Book Review Editor, Julia Bouwsma, who I can’t even begin to tell you how much I am grateful for, brings us two interesting reviews this month. Layla Benitez-James reviews Leslie Contreras Schwartz’s Nightbloom & Cenote, and Jane Sellman takes a fond look at Neil Carpathios’ Confessions of a Captured Angel. And our all things wine guy and the original site builder of this magazine, John Turi, takes a long pull off a bottle of 2013 Sine Qua Non, Resiste, and decides it just makes the cut for a “classic, extraordinary wine”.
And with that, part one of Volume X, Issue I is in the ethernet. As always, please don’t forget to come back on the 15th of this month for all new Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction as we round out Issue I. I promise you won’t regret it.
From all of us at Connotation Press, to you and all of yours, thank you for nine wonderful years. Onward & upward!
Connotation Press: Six Issues & A Retrospective