I find this issue to be bittersweet as we make the decision to move River City Poetry into a sabbatical for the remainder of 2021. The decision does not come lightly but after much consultation and consideration, I feel this is the correct action as we consider how best we could serve our poetry community.
First, a little history.
River City Poetry was started by me in the Spring of 2016. I started small with a small team (Thank you Roy and Raylyn), and we showcased 10 poets in the fall and spring each year. More importantly, we networked, grew, and sponsored events and projects in our community. The digital front, the online journal itself, was always just one aspect of a bigger picture.
I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished:
- 10 issues showcasing over 90 talented local and regional poets
- June 2020 special issue
- 2 Epistrophy events (co-sponsors): performances combining poetry & instrumental musicians in a synergistic exchange + several smaller versions of similar style
- Community Poetry Workshop programming with the Wichita Public Library (monthly from 2018-Feb 2020)
- Wichita Broadside Project (2 incarnations), partnered with Harvester Arts and the Wichita Arts Council, resulting in over 40 unique collaborative projects between poets and artists
- 20 Chapbook Reviews: which has now grown into the largest requested service–one we can’t currently meet the demand for, but which brings up interesting and unique possibilities for our future
Many of you know that I’m also a mom (2 darling and growing girls), a public high school teacher, and an adjunct instructor. When the country shut down and schools closed in March of 2020, I felt it extremely important to maintain the online platform of River City Poetry, to keep things as normal as possible. As the world catapulted into the tumult of June 2020, we just kept moving forward.
I’ve tried to support my students through a Pandemic. I’ve tried to insure my own children had what they needed [through two full quarantines, our own familial COVID outbreak, about 50 cloth masks sanitized on a weekly basis so that every person had what was needed, and now finally adult vaccinations]. I know this is no more than millions of others have coped with, and we were very lucky to be able to cope as we did. But now, as I finally face what may be my first real break in over a year, my own work, my own poems… they are calling. In all this time, I have felt stalled, halted, envious of those other creators just… creating through this past year.
It’s time. While both the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 issues saw solid submissions, neither reading period was quite as robust as previous submission periods, and nothing compared to our Special Edition in June 2020. I’m going to take a break and rethink how best we can serve our community. Requests for both chapbook reviews AND for a new installment of the Broadside project are clamoring. We have plans to return in 2022 as a new incarnation of our former self, focused on creating a team of critics for our growing chapbook review requests–and of course it’s been a dream to be able to start publishing a limited run of chapbooks! So we’ll take time, breathe, do some consulting, and return stronger than ever in January.
In the meantime, our website will still be maintained, with both archived issues and our current installment. This spring’s issue brings fresh voices to RCP.
I had to laugh at the final selections for this issue because apparently the Bs have it–or at least quite a few of our poets have Bs in their names somewhere. We’re also shy of some female voices but since we’ve seen issues swing female-centric in the past, I decided to just let this excellent issue stand on its own.
Thank you for going on this journey with us. Thank you for submitting, reading, sharing, clicking. All the things that support small independent presses.
RCP Spring 2021 PDF