Wednesday Sep 19

Hoppenthaler Year5b Presto

As many Congeries readers know, one of the things that makes it unique is that —for its nearly ten-year history—no poet has been published more than once. I wanted to see how long I could maintain this rule and still put out an eclectic, inclusive, high-quality issue each and every time. It almost ended with this one. I solicited no fewer than forty poets and translators and, as of April 18th when I left for travel and readings in Morocco, I had exactly zero poets in the bag for the May issue. I emailed Connotation Press’s esteemed editor-in-chief, Ken Robidoux, with the news that I thought the string was played. Of course, the rule was mine, not Ken’s, but still, I wanted to see the rule through at least for ten years. I hesitated to do what I thought I would have to do—contacting poets whose work has already appeared in the Congeries. I still had some time left, but precious little.

Then, while in Morocco, Emma Bolden responded to a query I’d sent. It was a start. As luck would have it, one of the featured readers at the Poetry Symposium I was attending there turned out to be Myronn Hardy, a fine US poet with multiple books whom I’d not heard about. I hit him up, and then there were two.

Then I turned to friends I suspected could help. Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs suggested Melissa Crowe, Danielle DeTiberus, and Seth Pennington, as well as few others I’ll be contacting for July. Carey Salerno at Alice James Books sent me a couple of names, as did Wyn Cooper, and these folks will be contacted by me shortly as well. Then I remembered I’d not asked Charles Harper Webb, whom I’d published years earlier in Kestrel, and after he sent work and I inquired, he suggested Ron Koertge.

And there you have it, the making of the May 2018 occurrence of A Poetry Congeries. Two more issues, and I’ll be at ten years, and at 22 years as a literary editor. Not a bad career.


XOXO
John