10 October 2012

The Week Shall Inherit the Verse / This Magazine

After eight pretty darn good years, I have left my position at This Magazine, where I was the Fiction & Poetry Editor. I really enjoyed most aspects of that gig. I got to offer up new work by many of my literary heroes, and be the first to publish an awful lot of other writers and poets, many of whom have gone on to excellent things.

I hemmed and hawed about leaving for almost two years, and finally I bit the bullet. It just seemed it was time for some new blood at the mag, and I felt old compared to the youthful and energetic This gang, and really I'd accomplished all I had wanted to there. From the first time I'd thought about leaving, I knew exactly who I wanted for my successor. I checked it out with This's publisher and editor, and they liked the idea. So Dani Couture, a hugely admired writer and an awfully swell person, is the new Fiction & Poetry Editor.

I also knew that there would be a big void in my life after moving on from This, a magazine I believe in deeply. So I conjured up a new project that would allow me to continue curating literature, but in a very different way.

So enter The Week Shall Inherit The Verse, a weekly curated poetry blog that I launched on July 22. I wanted that first "issue" of the blog to be very meaningful, so I selected a poem by Montreal writer Jason Camlot. A poem called "Jewtard." About four or five years ago, when Jason launched his Punchy Poetry imprint through DC Books, he told me he wanted the first book to be by me. It was hugely flattering, as I have tons of respect for Jason, plus he's a good friend, but I didn't have a manuscript handy. The book that resulted, Dead Cars in Managua, started off as a collection of three side projects, but then I realized it more like three chapbooks bound into one cover, and then I realized, hell, it's just a book.

Anyway, it seemed only right that I'd kick off my new blog project with Jason. I've also since published poems by Sandra Alland (Edinburgh, Scotland), Niels Hav (Copenhagen, Denmark), Laura Farina (Vancouver), Leigh Nash (Toronto), Paul Dutton (Toronto), Richard Huttel (Chicago), Alice Burdick (Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia), Gary Barwin (Hamilton, Ontario), Nicholas Papaxanthos (Montreal), Eileen Myles (NYC), and, this morning, I posted a new poem by Jaime Forsythe (Halifax).

I'm going to pay each of these writers 10 bucks (as soon as some overdue freelance-editing cheques come my way). That's a matter of principle. Ten dollars doesn't sound like much, but if a poet got 10 dollars for every poem that appeared in a book, before it appeared in the book, she would probably make two or three times what she's going to make in royalties.

The Week Shall Inherit The Verse is curated entirely by my soliciting poems. I don't accept unsolicited poems, and to my amazement no one has sent me any. I'm enjoying this adventure immensely. I have a bunch of poems crashing against the paddock doors, waiting to hit the blog, and I'm constantly asking for more. As for readership, things began gradually, but after the first few weeks, each new poem was getting a couple hundred hits within a few days, and now it's up to about 300 hits.

I'm thinking people like this tiny "magazine" — it's not like some huge literary journal overflowing with stuff you only want to read about 10 percent of: you are committed to reading only one poem each time you dip into The Week Shall Inherit The Verse.

Anyways, I wish all my comrades at This Magazine all the best in this turbulent publishing and political era. They're doing great things. As for me, I'm enjoying this relaxing new gig of finding one poem a week.

Over and out.


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