Portal del Sol

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The First Year: Vinyl Poetry

In The First Year, editors of magazines in their first year of publication write about what they are doing and why, and the challenges and triumphs they encounter along the way

Still drunk on poetry. Still skiing down a black diamond run on brand new skis.

The third issue of Vinyl Poetry came out in May and we are working frenetically on getting the fourth issue together. The project is the same. We are, to be honest, in love with the work of writers such as Dana Guthrie Martin, Robert Kloss, and Jonterri Gadson. I mean love. If I wasn’t trying to discourage my children from getting tats themselves, I’d ink the poetry of Donora Hillard on one thigh and the words of Trey Jordan Harris on the other.

But the “we” of Vinyl has changed. And that is perhaps the biggest growth twinge that has occurred in the last couple months. With four books having been recently published, newly launched, or contracted to finish, Gregory Sherl has had to step down from active editorial work to focus on his writing commitments. He is also in the process of getting a real job with cover letters that include persuasive arguments like “I don’t have any experience, but I look really good in a sweater-vest.” In spite, of all he’s got going on, Greg is going to hang around and send along names of newly-found brilliance as he comes across them.

Meanwhile, I am the recipient of myriad blessings in the form of Phillip B. Williams. When I mentioned him in the last article, I had no idea that I’d be asking him to come on as Poetry Editor. With Greg stepping down from Vinyl and my increasing activity at YesYes Books, I was desperate for a skiing companion. I mean it’s no fun crashing into snow-covered trees by yourself. I am so excited about the poets Phillip has already brought in such as Ocean Vuong and Aricka Foreman in V3 and Anne Shaw, Brittany Cavallaro, and DeLana Dameron for V4. Phillip reads and reads and reads – I am in awe of his breadth of knowledge in and exposure to current poetry.  And, like Greg and myself, he is not attracted to any single aesthetic.  I’m truly excited about continuing this Vinyl Poetry adventure with him.

The other shift we’ve made is that Thomas Patrick Levy and I have decided to take this baby all the way into the hi-tech world and are now offering Vinyl Poetry as an ePub. Check out the bookstore at YesYes Books (www.yesyesbooks.com) to see what we are up to there. We will still be primarily focused on producing our free online lit mag (which Thomas has entirely redesigned for Volume 4, live this August), but there is another audience out there, one composed of folks who don’t look to websites for reading but might look to eBooks they can download onto their eReaders or phones. Our goal is now, has been since the beginning, and will be forever to get the extraordinary writing we come across to as many readers we can.  Offering Vinyl Poetry in eBook form is one more avenue, one more possible set of readers.  And the proceeds that come from the purchase of Vinyl Poetry eBook volumes will go directly to supporting the production of Vinyl 45’s, our new chapbook series.

The last new member of the Vinyl crew is Mark Derks, our fiction editor. Yep. We are in the process of pushing out into fiction. It’s a new slope. A new set of chances to slide down the hill with our faces scraping ice. And that will be the topic of the next installment of The First Year: Vinyl Poetry. Until then, keep your car payments up. Otherwise Thomas will show up with a toolbox and a big ass truck and you will have to kiss your car good bye.

K.M.A Sullivan‘s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in  PANK, Potomac Review, Cream City Review, Gertrude, Pearl, and Gargoyle. She has been awarded residencies at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in creative non-fiction and from Vermont Studio Center in poetry. She is the editor of Vinyl Poetry and the owner/publisher of YesYes Books.

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