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Sanity not Guaranteed is Live.

4 Oct

It’s been a wild couple of months.  Our editorial efforts have been set back because of life outside of poetry, but Issue 1 is finally up.  Issue 2 is tentatively scheduled for January 1, 2014.

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Sanity not Guaranteed: Progress Report

27 Jun

Work on the new magazine is coming along nicely, and it even looks like we’ll be able to publish our  first issue ahead of our original schedule.  Submissions for the first issue are closed, but submissions for the second issue are already open.  So head on over to http://sanitynotguaranteed.com/submissions to submit for the second issue (tentatively scheduled for October 15 now).

Rule One

16 Apr

Now that I’m editing a journal I’m beginning to notice commonalities in the poems we reject.  The simplest mistake I see is the presence of the unutterable phrase.  The phrase that no one in the history of the English language ever has or ever would have said.  The phrase that is not merely semantically questionable, but that if you said it out loud you’d immediately be hauled off to the mad house.  Phrases like:

  • chair is loud
  • wise hair
  • Ambidextrous hunger

Poetry should be composed of organic language.  For this to be the case, phrases like the above must be banished from our compositional repertoires.  While “colorless green ideas sleep furiously” makes for a useful object lesson in syntax vs semantics, it has no place in poetry.  In response to this blight of meaningless phrases, I suggest the one rule of poetic grammar:

  1. All phrases in a poem must be utterable.

All phrases in a poem must be something that could actually be said, out loud, by a person speaking naturally.  They need not necessarily be used that way, but if the phrase is unnatural gibberish, it has no role in poetry.

 

Flash Me Please

4 Apr

I just ran across this over at Bartleby Snopes.  This is one of the more interesting ideas I’ve seen for new directions in publishing literature.

We all know that literary publishing is running into a problem.  There are too many publications, and not enough readers or time for those readers.  The result is inevitable fragmentation.  I am not bemoaning the commercial consequences of this–I’m concerned about the artistic ones.  Literature, as an art form, has a unique impact on readers’ views of the world in a way that the (static) visual arts do not.  Fragmentation threatens to damage literature’s ability to have that impact.

The flash novel is interesting to me because it is an effort to solve the problem.  People have been saying the novel is dead for a century.  It may not be dead, but it is sick.  To the extent that the flash novel can be distinguished from the novella, it may be an interesting adaptation to the conditions of the literary markets of the 21st century.

I am very intrigued by this.