TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE EDITOR’S NOTE
I am pleased to note this Spring/Summer 2019 (Vol. XX, No. 2) issue marks the completion of twenty years in publication for Valparaiso Poetry Review. To celebrate the occasion, the new issue presents a pair of feature poets, representing two decades of the journal’s existence, and a total of forty poems are included among the pages, one for each of the issues published. Visitors might notice another change: the addition of Gregg Hertzlieb and Mark Wagenaar as Contributing Editors for VPR. This designation recognizes their ongoing value to the magazine and expresses my appreciation for their dedicated efforts.
In addition, I take this opportunity to acknowledge the support for Valparaiso Poetry Review by Valparaiso University and its Department of English. This project began as an ambiguous experiment in 1998, soon after the university expanded its Internet connection to permit access to the newly public availability of a free web browser. At that time, I approached my department chair with a proposal to start an online university-based literary magazine. Following approval to link a poetry journal to the department’s web page, the premiere issue appeared online in late 1999. Consequently, VPR continues today as one of the longest-running online poetry publications, especially among the specific category of university electronic literary journals.
Throughout the history of VPR’s presence, nearly 1,500 works by more than 650 authors have been published. Among these authors are a number of Pulitzer Prize winners, recipients of the National Book Award or National Book Critics Circle Award, and three Poets Laureate of the United States. However, the journal has also consistently welcomed work by new and emerging poets. As the submission guidelines have always stated, the intention has been “for more readers to discover young or established poets whose writings deserve an even larger audience.” Additionally, during the past two decades, a growing number of books, now approaching 200, released by respected publishers of poetry have included Valparaiso Poetry Review among the list of journals on their “Acknowledgments” pages.
Because thousands of pages of the contents in all issues remain available in the archives, which can be searched anywhere at any time, the cumulative number of visits to Valparaiso Poetry Review by readers over the years has surpassed one million. Every issue also spotlights an ongoing Recent and Recommended Books list derived from review copies offered by publishers. Furthermore, as the journal’s exposure and readership increased significantly, so has the enthusiastic response by writers who submit their work. VPR receives approximately 10,000 submissions each year—about 5,000 works to be considered for each issue.
Therefore, I am delighted to offer my gratitude to all authors and readers who have helped enhance the stature of Valparaiso Poetry Review, and I thank everyone who has ever extended encouragement for this endeavor. I hope the evident longevity and success Valparaiso Poetry Review has enjoyed thus far will persuade even more writers to submit poetry or prose and invite more visitors to find the fine work of the poets who continue to share their words within the journal’s pages.
Edward Byrne, author of eight collections of poetry and editor of two anthologies, has had his poetry, prose, or photography appear widely in literary journals and magazines. He is a professor in the Department of English at Valparaiso University, where he edits Valparaiso Poetry Review and co-edits Valparaiso Fiction Review.