Tuesday, December 28, 2004

T and I, and the cephalopod

As Matt just mentioned in my comments, and Tony a few times in his unusually loud grave, this current issue of Octopus is the last T and I will edit together, though a majority of the poets already chosen for issue #5 have been picked by the both of us. The split is more like a Destiny's Child thing than Fleetwood Mac. The foundation is already there and it will not crumble. We were English major buds in school together outside Branson, MO, before either of us were reading anything great and long before either of us began publishing anything. I remember his first was the Black Bear Review, which I think is now defunct--I think his acceptance was via email. We hit the roof. We started self-publishing little chapbooks with borrowed materials from our campus computer lab/writing center job, reading from our latest collection at the campus Symposium. Oh man. Anyway, I guess I'm trying to say we'll be weaving throughout each other's lives, professional and socially, for the duration.

I'm smart enough to know that his presence on the marquee, and his talent on the stage, is a huge reason why all eight tentacles are now, I think, healthy and strong and the ink is fresh. It will now be able to move further from its current den, and it will evolve. The last thing we want is for you to come over to the site knowing exactly what to expect. The split will work out for Octopus, and T wanted to do it I think mainly with that in mind. Our tastes were beginning to take very different shapes. As an editor, I've really learned what I value in a poem, what moves me, what inspires me, and ultimately, what I want in my magazine. After these first four issues, T and I began to realize we had developed different tastes and we feared that if we'd continue we'd create this boring general overview of contemporary poetry where each of us get turd in the pants excited about our own half of the issue instead of indulging in one driven editorial focus. Plus he has other things that need attending: weddings and PhDs being among them. And look for him to pop up in another editorial role soon. I'm sure of it.

As for the moving and the evolving, issue 5 will be of a similar killer vein. For each issue after that I'm planning on inviting a contributing editor to help out with the selection. Another thing I think that could destroy the Octopus is if I had no outside input and it gets its identity from only my own tastes. This could alienate quite a few readers. By signing on a different contributing editor for each issue, the aesthetics will change and be fresh each time. Each issue will be different from its predecessor. One of the issues might contain only 8 poets, each of them with a small small chapbook of poems. One of the issues might be heavy on the critical squid side. One of the issues will never be a theme issue--this I promise you. There'll be the inevitable TT reunion issue. And if all goes well, I'm thinking of putting together a print issue for #8. Would you buy it? It'd be bitchin'.


didi said...

Yes I would buy the print issue of #8 and what you are doing with guest editors for future issues is marvy. Now please go to my blog and nominate a poem for sexiest of the year.


Zachary Schomburg said...

Didi, they wouldn't be guest editors necessarily, they'd be contributing editors. They'd make suggestions and some solicitations, and have say along side me in all the acceptances.

And I'm not feeling especially sexy right now. I'll vote later tonight perhaps, after a glass of wine.

didi said...

Yes that is a good idea whether guest or co- editors, etc. It will give the magazine an extra dimension...

Brennen Wysong said...


You have my dollar for a print issue. I wish you luck as you continue to grapple against the eight tentacles.

Anonymous said...

I was looking for College of the Ozarks contacts and found your blog. Great stuff. Did you work with Phil Carman while you were there?

Dan Altman.

Zachary Schomburg said...


Thanks for the props. And yes, I did work with Phil Carman, pretty closely. I worked under him at the CWT and he was my advisor. I'm still in contact with him via email every so often--great man. When were you there? I'm trying to place you. You should send me an email.