First, a word of advice, if at all possible the next time you start a new online art magazine do your best to NEVER have to MOVE it! The stress is kind of unpleasant.
The month of April was a busy one for us. We'd maxed out our former service provider, a two-year goal we'd reached in just six months, and then managed to squeak by for a seventh month but there was no way we were going to make an eighth so we moved.
Moving a website of our kind is no easy matter. In fact, we quite simply had to hire a company to do it for us...yep, we had to hire a virtual moving company for our virtual magazine. To be honest with you, I don't think even in my prime at a Grateful Dead concert could I have managed to get intoxicated enough to contextualize that one! Throughout the process I had nightmares of little digital men loading up all our digital files onto little digital hand-trucks and piling them into a great big digital semi in the digital front yard. TRON Movers, I imagined them to be named, a division of Disney, because they're freakin' everywhere.
In fact, the company is called Joomla Movers and they were great. A wonderful group of guys that got the job done in about half the time they estimated. Thanks guys!
But when I say they moved us, I mean they moved our content from one server at one company to another server at another company. We had to do everything else including setting up our crazy email service and making sure our submissions were going to the right place. That took a while. And I want to thank all the Editors here that were so patient and really hung in there through a trying ordeal.
And a great big thank you also goes to all our contributors from the month of April that lost a couple of days of post time to the move. No one complained, not once. Thank you!
I'll break down the May issue in just a sec, but I have one more thank you left to go. Thanks to all our readers that also never complained and, rather, just keep multiplying. We are now read in 74 countries, including Swaziland! How sweet is that?!
On to MAY!
Our Featured Guest Editor this month for the poetry section is Mihaela Moscaliuc! I have been a fan of Mihaela for many years now, ever since I published her when I was an undergrad at UCRiverside editing the Mosaic Art & Literary Journal. She is absolutely brilliant and is a contributor herself to Connotation Press.
Mihaela brought us unquestionably our most diverse list of contributors yet. We have translations of Amal Al-Jubouri's poetry by Rebecca Gayle and Hasam Qaisi; Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz's poetry translated by Pablo Medina; and Jacques Viau Renaud's poetry translated by Patrick Rosal. Additionally, Mihaela brought us new work by Joan Larkin, Ilya Kaminsky translates Guy Jean (I think this is the third or fourth time we've published something by Ilya!), Aracelis Girmay, Jennifer K. Sweeny, Gregory Djanikian, Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno, Kurt Brown, George Bilgere, Sholeh Wolpe, Michael Paul Thomas, Nancy Mitchell, and Suzanne Parker. And finally, if that isn't enough, Mihaela brought us an outstanding interview with the legend Andrei Codrescu. Amazing! Mihaela, you rock!!
Amanda McGuire's From Plate to Palate this month features narratives by farmers and gardeners that were "inspired to plant, grow, and harvest". She's brought us lovely contributions from Arielle Greenberg & Rob Morris, Clara Silverstein, Krista Elvey, and Lynn Gregor who "Can't Say Enough About Kale". HA! As usual, I love From Plate to Palate this month. It's serious subject matter that is delivered in a fun way and right in line with the planting season. Great job, Amanda!
A Poetry Congeries, with John Hoppenthaler delivers on a number of fronts, but a large focus this month is on the poetry of politics. John brings us outstanding contributions from Medbh McGuckian, Brendan Galvin, Sandy Tseng, Dan Masterson, Renee Ashley, Grace Cavalieri, Deborah Brown, Heather Hartley, Stephanie Brown, Jason Labbe, Edison Jennings, and Mark DeFoe. And stay tuned to Hoppy's column this month as we have a wonderful interview with Ms. McGuckian coming within the next few days!
Due to the move we didn't post our April mid-month issue insert so this month (don't worry, we're doubling up this month...whoohoo!) we're bringing you part two of Nicholas Baker's Thailand travelogue. This time, it's Nicholas Baker – Phuket Discovered. Nick and Freddy venture out on a James Bond excursion to some of the most gorgeous beaches I've ever seen. I got lost twice posting the pics for this month's column. I just kept daydreaming. Excellent job, Nick!
On the Fiction front, our good friend Steve Oberlechner graciously (see: I begged him for months!) brings us a twisted story of youth gone wild in this second-person narrative about a guy in high school who makes, perhaps, not the best decisions. I really like this story, and thankfully 21 Jump Street it ain't!
Joshua Fardon brings a new, emerging artist to the Drama column this month in the person of Michael Kell. Michael is an actor and playwright living in San Marcos, California and his stuff will knock you out. Once again Josh has brought us another of the best, groundbreaking plays available and we are grateful to Josh and to Michael. Thanks, gents!
Lisa Alvarez brings us a sad and rather timely Creative Nonfiction piece about what it's like as a teacher to lose a student. We lost a student at Waynesburg University this week and it has been a tough time. Thank you to Lisa for so poignantly expressing this horrific experience.
On the Book Review front, Joshua Hardina has brought us a review by Lisa A. Flowers. Lisa reviews Kate Durbin's new book, The Ravenous Audience. And Sarah Lawrence College professor Cynthia Cruz introduces her student Saratoga Rahe for our Featured Undergrad column. Saratoga brings us five poems that demonstrate just how important it is to publish these emerging artists. We are thrilled and look forward to seeming more of her work in the future. And remember teachers, it is not too late to nominate your student for the Featured Undergraduate column. We're still filling slots for the summer and we need your help!
Well, I think that just about wraps it up. To tell you the truth, the move wasn't so bad. We managed to get it all done in about three days, four if you count the email. And the site just screams...it's so much faster than it was before. And we'll still be tweaking on it for the next couple of weeks to make it even better. Who am I kidding? We'll constantly be tweaking on it. Either this is becoming an obsession or I'm just another in the line of online publishers that have hung up their Craftsman tool kit and slammed shut the hood of a 56 Chevy truck in favor of playing desk-jockey, site tweaker. Life is such a trip!
Connotation Press: Here's Wishing You the Bluest Skies, And Hoping Something Better Comes Tomorrow
This issue of Connotation Press is dedicated to all the small house publishers and university presses that have slowly been forced to close their doors. We've lost another dear love, Isotope: a Journal of Literary Nature and Science Writing as they will be closing their doors due to underfunding. I know where they're coming from, believe me. But if I have to keep funding this thing out of my own pocket until we can somehow figure out how to generate enough income to keep from closing shop, well, I'll do it. I just have to believe it's possible to continue publishing, you know?
Photo of Layla and Me by Diane Dillon