FROM THE EDITORGALATEA RESURRECTS (GR) synthesizes some thoughts as regards poetry, the internet, poetry publishing, and cultural activism. My intentions certainly need not be of concern to readers who may go directly to each review. But if you are interested in the background to originating this new journal, read on...
First, simply, I'd love for poetry to receive more attention within our culture. I hope GR helps facilitate such increased attention.
Second, I was interested in GR being specifically an online publication because online readership is often higher than for many poetry print publications. Relatedly, I wanted to add to the internet data base as regards poetry, given the widespread use of the internet for researching a variety of topics. Moreover, GR's addition to e-data would be accessible long after each issue's release date (I still get queries involving articles that were published in the internet many years ago). Thus, in addition to new reviews, GR is open to publishing commentary previously published in a print publication but unavailable within the internet.
Thirdly, poetry publishing offers a history -- an honorable history -- of poets finding the cheapest ways to publish poems and other poetry-related materials as poetry is rarely financially viable. I am particularly tickled by the example today of, amidst 21st century technology, a stapled, xeroxed publication called MIRAGE #4 (PERIODICAL) co-edited by Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy and often hand-distributed within the Bay Area, CA. In such manner, I consider GR to be my version of an e-xerox or e-mimeo project. Blogger (at least for now) doesn't charge fees (except for its advanced versions) which no doubt relates to why it's become a popular vehicle among contemporary poets. GR is situated within that tradition that, e-wise, also manifests itself in poetry publishers' increasing use of print-on-demand technology as well as various Blogger-hosted magazines. For the former, a favorite example is The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel, a poetry anthology co-edited by Molly Arden and Reb Livingston; this book, published by self-described "housewives", is not reviewed in this issue but I consider it one of the most effective examples of an anthology successfully manifesting its expressed premise. For examples of Blogged journals, visit Duplications (Ed. Jonathan Mayhew) and LuzMag (Ed. Lars Palm). This aspect also relates to the "Do-It-Yourself" approach fabulously explored at Shanna Compton's DIY Pub Web Ring.
Fourthly, as regards cultural activism, I go back to the nature of the internet. My intent with GR is partly inspired by the existence of BagongPinay.com founded by Perla Daly and others. These Filipinas founded the site to offset how internet searches for "Filipina" usually comes up with negative myths, mail order bride sites which may be unsafe, porn sites, among other things. Similarly, I and other Filipina poets and scholars recently set up -- via Blogger -- Your Filipina Pen Pal to disrupt internet search results for various phrases related to Filipinas and/or pen pals. In this sense, I consider that boosting data content gratis for profit-making corporations is an acceptable price for longer-term benefits: in GR's case, more attention to poetry in all its forms, schools, approaches and other variety.
GR, therefore, while presenting mostly poetry reviews, is not just about offering a space for boosting sales of reviewed publications (not that there's anything wrong with that result either, of course!).
It's a premise, however, that also makes slippery the way in which I, as Editor, assess the "quality" of submitted reviews. For instance, I passed on one submission (not through the fault of the reviewer's critical or writing ability but because the reviewer was pressed for time to address the book more comprehensively) and confess that I've been considering whether I made a mistake. While the review text was really bare, it did accomplish presenting the existence of a (probably wonderful) book of poems involving horses. Did I miss an opportunity here to place GR within some internet search that would make an equestrian read a book of poems s/he might not otherwise know? I don't know. (I hope that reviewer gets some more free time in the future and we can revisit this issue.)
With its desire to enhance poetry discourse, GR also is open to relatively new critics as well as experienced reviewers whose CVs include such established publications as The Boston Review, Artforum, university press-published critical texts and so on. Basically, I don't want to pre-judge who is a "good" reader of poetry (particularly when I feel a poem can -- not always -- but can be read legitimately in parts). I am grateful to long-time critics who've volunteered their effort with this project, and I hope that this project also will encourage others to engage in more poetry (discourse) in the future.
The deadline for submitting reviews for the next issue is May 5, 2006. You can review books you own or ask for review copies sent to us. GR also is open to all styles of reviewing. I accept all forms, though would suggest generally that it's a good idea to provide excerpts of poems to exemplify reviewers' assessments. For more information, go to Galatea's Purse here.
Finally, I am very grateful to all the participants. I honestly would have been happy to get just five reviews, thinking that such would suffice to put out a "publication." This issue inaugurates itself with 25 new reviews of 27 poetry publications and a poetry video, e-reprints of ten reviews previously published in print publications, and a section of three featured poets partly chosen by two guest editors. The gratifying response suggests this venture is a good idea, notwithstanding its sloppy birth during one of my bouts of insomnia -- or a better idea than I even anticipated.
Well then: Let's see! And party!
St. Helena, CA
March 15, 2006