Monday, August 23, 2004

Samizdat, R.I.P.

Hear ye, hear ye: Samizdat is dead! Samizdat is dead! Long live the Samizdat Blog!

Yes, its official: I've folded up Samizdat after ten issues of poetry, reviews, interviews, letters from odd corners of the poetry planet and editorial sniping at sacred cows from the dizzying height of my ivory tower.

When we started out, I wanted to set Michael Anania's words about literary publishing in stone and mount them above the door of my office: "the secret of literary publishing is that there are no sales" he'd said, after pointing out that most literary magazine editors blow all of their money on a first issue, all of their friends' money on a second issue, and then rely on sales for the funding of the third issue. Hence the tendency for literary magazines to fail at issue three. Taking a cue from Anania, I budgeted to lose the full cost of every issue and, with this business model, always came out ahead of expectations. But after ten issues, I've discovered that I love writing more than I love editing. And the host impulses that gave me pleasure as an editor are satisfied with less sweat and more immediate payoff by throwing parties (like the retro Fondue Soultrain party with which I kicked off this latest semester). So sayonara, Samizdat.

But wait. Giving up the writing of editorials is not easy. I mean, you get the illusion that there are people out there who actually read what you write, and the short format allows for causeries and spit-takes of quick disgust or amusement. How to keep this, while giving up the magazine? Ah. Easy: the Samizdat Blog. Long may it wave.