In January, Steven Schroeder wrote a post in which he took a look at all of his poems published in his wonderful book Torched Verse Ends and counted which of those journals that originally published the poems are still with us. Now the book has only been out about a year, and five of the journals which originally published his poems are gone.
And yesterday, the news that Shenandoah will soon be an online only journal.
Since I first started sending out poems in the late 80's, Shenandoah has been on my list of places where I'd like to see my poems published. And just in the last year, I got a personalized rejection slip. Progress!
I realize that I'm living in geological time when it comes to the idea of progress in my writing career. I like to think that the tectonic plates are shifting, even if I can't see them. I remember when I first sent out chapbook manuscripts. For a few years, I felt like I was making no progress, and then, wham! One got accepted, and a few months later, I had the beautiful chapbook in my hands.
I'm ready for that next earthquake.
But back to Shenandoah. At least the journal isn't going away entirely. It will be online, unlike so many journals which just cease.
I have become one of those people who does most of her reading online. Once upon a time, only a few years ago, I only read a few newspapers online, and I'd have told you that I'd prefer the print editions, if I could afford to have them shipped this far.
Not anymore. When I read print newspapers, I'm annoyed at having to flip pages. I'm annoyed at the unwieldy size. I'm annoyed at not being able to look things up quickly, at not having a hyperlink.
For the individual poem, I think I could be happy to read it online or on paper. I read online journals in the same way that I read paper journals: I flip around.
For a collection of poems, I think I still prefer a book of poems. But my recent experiments with animated poems have made me think that an online book of poems should be more than a print version that migrated online. I may be moving to that idea when it comes to individual poems too.
There's so much that we can do with technology to entice the reader. We've only begun to explore those ideas.
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