Our cover art for Spring 2020 is Watercolor of Wisteria by Roy Beckemeyer
I began River City Poetry during the Spring of 2017 by asking a few of my wonderful friends to submit to a new online journal. And so began a season of Yes—where I learned the power of just asking. I wanted to give back to a community of creative and generous people that had supported my own work as a poet. I also felt strongly that there weren’t enough venues in the midwest that shared poetry and weren’t affiliated directly with a university.
Since then, we’ve sponsored public readings, The Wichita Broadside Project, Epistrophy, Rhythm-a-ning, and other collaborative-style projects that encouraged creativity and conversation. I’ve met the most wonderful people and connected to artists in my community in ways that have permanently impacted my own work.
The onset of the pandemic created a situation I never could’ve anticipated. We have a small team of reviewers (Thank you, Roy and Raylyn) and partners (Thank you, Bob), but the submissions and journal itself are put together by me (Yes, all the mistakes and typos are mine and are NOT the poets who so graciously submit their work).
In an April Vanity Fair article, Keziah Weir reported this from US Poet Laureate Joy Harjo:
Poetry tends to hang out at points of transformation. People may have not much interest in poetry at all or even read it much, but when a death happens in the family, or some other grief event, or marriage, or falling in love, or falling out of love, birth—people always turn to poetry.*
As a public educator in Kansas, I had to learn (and quite quickly) to become a master of distance learning. I also began the education of my own children at home. It did not help that I had to completely replace my tech set-up. So I found myself turning and taking great comfort in poetry, and especially in this spring’s submissions. I can’t predict what’s in store for the future of the journal, but I know we will continue to try and provide unique opportunities for poets.
Thank you to the wonderful poets and readers that continue to support our efforts.