Welcome to the second issue of Verse Wisconsin, and thank you for the many comments we’ve received about Verse Wisconsin 101, online and print. We appreciate your responses, subscriptions, submissions, and help to get the word out about VW. Posts on list-servs, blogs and social networking sites like Facebook make a difference, as does passing along a copy of VW to poets, friends and neighbors! Why not share this online issue with someone who doesn't usually read poetry? It’s poetry month, after all, and we’re very pleased to be able to show everyone what you’re up to!
Verse Wisconsin has two forms, print and online, and they differ but complement each other. In addition to "Alternate Realities" poems & book reviews, VWOnline also features articles about social media for poets and genre poetry; Sarah Busse has an essay about Wisconsin poets Bruce Dethlefsen & Ralph Murre; Wendy Vardaman's expanded interview with Matthea Harvey contains extended online content as well, including an animation of one of Harvey's poems. The print version of Verse Wisconsin contains poetry not found online, as well as articles by John Lehman ("How a Poem Listens to its Reader") and Angela Rydell ("Recipes, License Plates & Greased Pigs: Titling Your Poem"), and a conversation between Sarah Busse and American Players Theatre actor, David Daniel, about "The Potency of Poetry." Subscription information to Verse Wisconin in print is available here.
On February 21, The Chronicle of Higher Education posted a thought-provoking article by David Alpaugh, “The New Math of Poetry.” Alpaugh looks at the ever burgeoning numbers of magazines, both online and in print, and speculates, “If current trends persist, the sheer amount of poetry ‘published’ is likely to double, quadruple, ‘ten-tuple’ in the decades ahead….If journals merely continue to grow at the current rate, there will be more than 35,000 of them by 2100, and approximately 86 million poems will be published in the 21st century!”
Surprisingly, he’s not alarmed by this vision. Rather, his article takes on, gently but persistently, the academicization of the world of poetry. It’s well worth a read. Still, we admit that although we mostly celebrate the proliferation of poetry, we occasionally worry: what possible reason could we have, here at Verse Wisconsin, to add to this glut? What are we thinking?
Repeatedly, we find ourselves returning to the idea of community. We like to think that we continue Linda Aschbrenner’s tradition of providing a place for familiar names to share their latest poems, thoughts, and news with each other and with interested newcomers and visitors. We like to imagine readers happy to check out the latest poem by one of their favorite writers, or turn to see what an unfamiliar voice might have to say.
As editors, we look for excellence. No editor that we know of desires less. But we like to think we also partner with each of you, building community among poets, between readers and writers. We hope you enjoy this issue of Verse Wisconsin!
Finally, thanks to these contributors to Verse Wisconsin who especially help sustain the printed magazine:
The Hibiscus Collective
Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets