Editors' Note

Welcome to the first issue of Verse Wisconsin Online, a compatible but unique companion to the print magazine, Verse Wisconsin, in which you will find a section of themed poetry and all of our book reviews, as well as media supplements that the print magazine cannot incorporate, such as audio files of poets reading their work, animated poems, and visual poetry. We hope you will enjoy exploring both VW Online and Verse Wisconsin!

Another editor asked recently, Is there such a thing as Wisconsin poetry? While we’re not sure yet if there’s such a thing as "Wisconsin poetry,” there are Wisconsin poets, of all kinds, old and young, well-known and just starting out, urban and rural, university-affiliated and not, experimental and traditional, formalists and free versers, dramatists, lyricists, spoken word activists, visual artists, and poetry animators, natives and newcomers, all of whom we hope to include in print or online at versewisconsin.org. As a group, these poets are both creative and supportive—just take a look at Verse our Links page for a list-in-progress of the programs, organizations, and groups started by state poets, from reading series in the rural northwest, to presses, publications, and writers’ colonies, to one of the nation’s top creative writing programs. For a population of under 6 million, that’s a whole lot of organization and output.

Verse Wisconsin and VW Online, the new face of Linda Aschbrenner’s well-loved small-press poetry magazine, Free Verse, are part of that organization. It is our mission to publicize poetic activity in Wisconsin, as well as to publish Wisconsin’s best poetry alongside that of poets from outside the state. Think of VW as a series of windows on a panoply of ever-changing views, as well as a set of doors that, we hope, will swing freely in both directions. We think the features in this inaugural issue exemplify both the kinds of activities that we want to report on, as well as the values that contribute to Wisconsin’s poetry community: inclusiveness, accessibility, innovation, and the desire to share what we make. VW aims to keep opening doors and windows onto more of Wisconsin’s poets, and we invite you to participate in the process of creating VW: read, submit poetry, write us letters, send in your story ideas about writing groups, like the Hibiscus Collective, publication venues like the innovative Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf, and poetry service that makes a difference, like the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project, featured in our print magazine. Write about how poetry relates to your life, or the life of someone you know. Subscribe to the print version of Verse Wisconsin, which contains more poetry and feature articles. Send us photos and more links. Ask for one of our “Books Received” and write a review. Remember that Verse Wisconsin, like its predecessor Free Verse, is an all-volunteer operation that aims to break even—we appreciate your donations of whatever size and your subscriptions, and welcome your professional knowledge from proofreading to accounting to marketing and publicity!

Verse Wisconsin would like to thank the donors who have already contributed to producing both the print and online versions of the magazine:

Linda Aschbrenner
David Blackey
Tom Erickson
Shelly Hall
Susan Heubner
CJ Muchhala
Richard Roe
Sandra Tully
Mary Wehner
& the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets

January in Wisconsin—snow on the ground, ice on the lake—and what do we do? We keep busy. We go outside—put skis and blades to feet for fun, bore a hole through the ice to fish, continue biking to work, some of us, regardless of the temperature, make snowmen. Or we stay inside. Make hot chocolate, make fires to keep warm, watch the snow falling outside our windows, watch our neighbors falling outside our windows, invite the neighbors over for some poetry!