Monday, February 01, 2010

Epitaph for Santa Fe Poetry Broadside

Here is what I'm proposing we say formally, on our about page:

    Santa Fe Poetry Broadside : Poets of the Region and Beyond has published its final issue.
    The Broadside was edited by Miriam Sagan and Miriam Bobkoff, and was published from June, 1998, to September, 2009.
    We started fairly early in terms of literary magazines on the web; and now we think we are done. Eleven years is a respectably long run, whether we think of ourselves as a very-little magazine or a born-digital epublication. In that time 190 poets, artists and guest editors appeared on our pages, and we thank you all for working with us.
    From the start we did whatever we felt like. If the Broadside wants to publish again, it will. But for now, issue #59 is the final issue.

Here's what I want to say as myself:

On the whole, Mir S. was the one who knew the poets and lined up the issues, and I did the web work. I liked my identity as 'the poets' techie' and used to sign myself that way. There were a couple of times during those eleven years when one or the other of us had lost interest, but we never both lost interest at the same time. Until lately.

Mir S. has moved on. She has umpty publishing/editing venues going, including a lively Facebook life and a blog, Miriam's Well; oversees the community college literary magazine, Santa Fe Literary Review; collaborates with two other New Mexico poets in a small press, Tres Chicas Books; and oh yes, she keeps publishing books of her own work. I think she was ready for the Broadside to stop when I moved to Port Angeles, but I panicked. "No no it's part of my online identity! Who will I be if I can't say, '... and I co-edit a little online poetry magazine...' (And will you still love me if we aren't working together?)" But we both feel that now it's time for it to sail away.

One of our original purposes, beyond the fun of extending our friendship to a joint project, was to help our poets get into the online world. None of the six poets in our first issue were findable on the web in 1998, until we put them out there. And only one of the six had email and sent me their text electronically. All that has changed, and really the 190 writers and artists whom we published in those 11 years don't need us anymore to bump their internet profile.

One of us is a poet and one of us is a librarian, and we are not of one mind about what our long-term preservation responsibilities are. Conceptually, the Broadside was produced in issues and volumes. On the model of the print literary magazines, each current issue would be "on top" at the root address, just as if it had arrived this morning in your (actual) mailbox, and you could page through it, poem to poem.

But I always understood that the real Broadside was a web entity: everything we ever published, all at once. It is archived for digital preservation in LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe), but LOCKKS is a dark archive, not searchable on the web. So I think we need to leave that all-at-once entity online forever, or it doesn't exist anymore. Mir S. says we will leave it online for two years and then re-evaluate. To her, the bottom line is still print: the best of the poems will be republished in the course of each poet's career, we ourselves did a print anthology in 2005, and the rest can after all be allowed to be ephemeral. We'll see.


Miriam Sagan said...

Thank you, Mir. This is great recap!

Sky said...

lots of years, lots of work. i just glanced at it but will try to go back and explore a bit later. congrats to you both for your dedication. change is always in the wind.

hope all is fine on the peninsula. i am just baffled by this mild winter and our recent dry days.