Well, it’s been nearly a year since we pulled together the editorial collective for NewPoetry.ca, and while you’ve seen nothing here, there’s been quite a backstory, some of which I’ll give you here.
The people who signed on as editors did a great job of sending in material from exciting and excited writers across the aesthetic spectrum, but at the back end of the site — where things like design, administration, and other grunt work gets done — things have fallen apart.
When I announced NewPoetry last year, I was genuinely surprised by the pickup — Facebook, newspapers, magazines, and blogs went crazy for the concept. Hey, all those people who normally fight with each other can be in the same magazine! I hadn’t really expected it to be so crazy-public an endeavour. But I was reasonably certain at the time we could get it together and make something really interesting.
And, for the record, the editorial collective was genuinely jazzed and on board with the concept, pulling in interesting work from around the spectrum of available poetries. And remember, this was all done out of goodwill — no money exchanging hands. People were contributing because they believed in the project. The only money spent on this was by me, for hosting and domain names, etc. Otherwise, this was a community effort. I bring this up because there were naysayers out there who said the group could never work together and things would fall apart. Not true. At least not for those reasons. It’s been great and supportive. But these people were never brought on board to do the grunt-work of making a magazine function. They agreed to participate as contributing editors, and they’ve fulfilled that role amicably and admirably. The backchannel discussion was great, and everyone was professional and helpful.
Yet, behind the scenes, the people had volunteered their time and expertise to help me do things like design the site, sift through the submissions, arrange the many pages with audio, video, image, and text — essentially all the things it was beyond my skillset to do with any accuracy or class — were, for one reason or another, unable to show up for work. In essence, I’ve been left to do all the grunt work myself, and I just can’t. I don’t have the skills, and I don’t have the time. I’m not a designer. I’m not even really a proper editor. I have some good ideas, and some energy for getting people together, but if I can’t get help, there’s not much I can do. At least not in a timely fashion.
Last April, I had envisioned NewPoetry launching in June or July. Then I put it off to the fall. Then to the winter. The editors and the writers who so generously donated their work have been wondering: what happened?
So, now I think the only responsible thing to do is postpone it indefinitely until I can get the work of a couple issues done on my own.
I’ve been slowly working on a design (this means learning to code in PHP, which is new for me, but interesting… It just takes time) and when I can get it together, slot in all the pieces, and have it ready to go, I’ll announce the same day as I post. That way there’ll be no hype and/or, given the vagaries of volunteer work schedules, disappointment.
I hope you all understand. It’s not that the project is dead, it’s that I can’t do it alone in short order. The key to this sort of endeavour is the love and investment of a good group of like-minded people who can afford the time and resources to bring it together. Take away any element of that and it all falls apart.
It feels weird to be the one left holding the bag on this, when it was meant to be a community effort, but it was my idea and so someone has to say something. I still believe in the project and hope to get it up and running when I find the time. So, until I can get things together, I beg your patience.