Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lilliput Review: the 20th Anniversary

Click on the cover to enlarge

Somehow, the day has arrived: it is the month of March and, incredulously, it is the 20th anniversary of Lilliput Review. I made (or perhaps that's dreamed) big plans for this moment. An anthology chapbook or, better still, a "best of" Lilliput, the first 20 years, a collection that another, adventurous press would be willing to take the risk and publish.

All of which I haven't taken step one toward.

Publishing the magazine and its imprint, Modest Proposal Chapbooks, got in the way. An impromptu haiku contest, prompted by an unexpected comment to a post about Bashô, resulted in the first annual Bashô Haiku Challenge, and a chapbook of the best work resulted (more about this below). I fell behind in getting the new issues out. There were piles of submissions to attend to. I got mixed up with Facebook and the wonderful deluge that's resulted.

To put it simply I was just too damn busy to do another thing. Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans, as the cliché goes.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So, for now, this post will serve as a celebration.

Lilliput started on the floor of a bungalow at the Jersey shore, amidst books and sand and ubiquitous crickets, me on my knees, cutting and pasting little bits of paper on to other little bits of paper. It was inspired by other small press publications that took that term very literally, such as Pig in a Pamphlet and This is Important. As a regularly published poet in the little magazines in the 80's, it seemed a good way to tap into the creative juices when my own poetry would hit a wall. I received the support of many other small mags, that helped to get the word out and the mag afloat. The camaraderie of the small press, which is a blessed thing and continues to this day, is something I cherish.

The first "issue," which I put together in March 1989, was essentially a test run to see if I could actually do it and what it might look like if I did. For the test run, I printed up 10 copies of 7 of my poems in a 4.25 x 5.5" format which was to be the size for the first 8 issues, before switching over to the current 3.5 x 4.25." The cover is pictured above. I won't burden you with any of the work, which was in a slightly surreal style I was sporting at the time and, though I remember it fondly and still fall back on some its stylistic anomalies, is frankly painful to read beyond the circle of two it was intended for. Succinctly put, this was a set of poems for the woman I was dating who, happily, I married. Since I seem to be bandying about clichés, I'll avoid the next one and just say she's been there with me since the beginning and her understanding, care and support have been as important as any other element to make this work. It also helps that she's spent time as a proofer and has a high tolerance for bs.

You'll notice that the original title was Lilliput Revue. The title change came with issue #2, not because I wanted to change it, but because the artist, Bobo, incorporated a "new spelling" into the artwork for the cover and I didn't have the heart to ask him for a redraw. There is much to be said for serendipity and going with the flow. Here's the cover:

Well, appropriately enough, that's the short version of the 1st 20 years. Let the party begin. I intend to celebrate all year. I'm happy to say that the entire run of 168 issues is still in print and still available. The standard rate of 15 issues for $10 is applicable; however, if anyone is interested in the entire run, query me for special pricing. The email address is at the bottom of the right hand column. If there is any publisher out there that thinks a 20th anniversary collection of the best of Lilliput makes a lot of sense, I'm listening. Meanwhile, it's time to keep on keeping on. There's lots more to do.

This past weekend, I'm happy to announce, the contributor copies of the Basho Haiku Challenge Anthology went out and should begin arriving in a mailbox near you. The chapbook, which contains 25 poems by 19 poets, is now available for $3.00, postage paid. It far surpassed my expectations and I believe any regular reader of Lillie will find much to ponder over and enjoy.

In addition, yesterday the contributor copies of issues #167 and 168 went out in the mail. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be getting out the full run of subscription copies. Individual copies of both are available for $1.00 a piece.

The same price as it was going for in 1989.

Finally, if it's Tuesday, it's back issue archive day. In the inexorable march back in time, this week we arrive at October 1993. This issue, #49, was the second of two All Women issues. Here's a sampling of what you'll find there. Enjoy.

Cover me
I'm going out
to write
a poem. Keep
over my head.
Karen Alkalay-Gut

Where once they lined up
according to size, your words come
muzzled, rushing straight out of
colonial history, Master

and slave.
Gayle Elen Harvey

is to be filled with a tank of yes

seeing behind the light of morning stars

a readiness in veins, singing through
--bone and sinew

it is all I ever wanted and didn't want
--rolled into a tight cigarette
--smoked at the end of the day

I'll keep writing
these poems
in the dark
pretending you're
near me rain falling
on my lips this flower
budding for no other
girl somewhere
inside me
a song you'll
never understand
Gina Bergamino

Because we are deaf and hear stone
we make the most unbearably beautiful music.
Lorene Moore

After Forgiveness
you only come
when trees lift their branches
to kiss my wounds

If there is to be a second
coming I wish it would
be Chagall
Suzanne Bowers

Fairy Tales
An ever-ever land
where happy endings
hurtle off the pages
into the emergency wards
our lives.
Janet Mason



Charles Gramlich said...

20 years? That's like eons in the small press world. Congrats.

John Grochalski said...

happy anniversary to a great little mag.

Ally Malinenko said...

20 years! Congrats Don. Lilliput is a wonderful book. Here's to 20 more years.

Anonymous said...

keep on truckin'


Greg Schwartz said...

congrats on 20 years! i'll be sending you a check this week for a copy of the contest anthology.

Leigh Anne said...

Everything you write makes me want to go home and draw, and draw, and paint, and collage, and paint again, and draw some more. Thank you.

Here's to many more years with Lillie!

Grant said...

Don, Congratulations on the Anniversary...it seems a Monstrous Achievement to me...wishing you Endurance....G

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks, all for the very kind words. It was a very good day, indeed, details of which I hope to share in a future post.

20 years from now, it'll probably be ashes in the river, garden, and ocean, on the outgoing tide (god, how I love to travel) but that doesn't mean the best years aren't just ahead.


Poet Hound said...

Happy 20th anniversary to you Don! Many poets and poetry readers would be lost without you. Keep on keeping on.

womanimal said...

Congratulations, Don! 20 years is most impressive. Keep it coming, thanks for the endless inspiration!

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

P: Many thanks for all your kind words and encouragement ...

né: Inspiration ... the taking in of the spirit, the breath ... is what we all share. It's the collective, the numinous, the path of transcendence ... it starts with the breath ...

Have some 20th anniversary news to share with you ...


PS Pissing in a River - thanks for the great way to start the day.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Congratulations. It is good.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks, Glenn, much appreciated ... Don