V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




Ten years ago, in October of 1999, the initial issue of Valparaiso Poetry Review premiered as an online journal designed to introduce new, emerging, and established poets to the larger audience available on the Internet. Much has changed since that publication of Valparaiso Poetry Review’s first issue. At the time, the concept of an online literary journal was still a fairly novel idea and relatively untested. Reputations of existing electronic literary magazines, among authors and readers, were spotty at best. As Sandra Beasley stated in a recent article for Poets & Writers: “Online journals were a pale imitation of print, marred by amateurish fonts, garish backgrounds, and the lack of editorial accountability.” Consequently, one could not blame any writers who wondered about the wisdom of publishing material in such venues, where even the environment might diminish readers’ responses to the work.
    Indeed, in the early issues of Valparaiso Poetry Review I was particularly grateful to those poets and critics who contributed to the journal based solely upon a confidence that their good works would appear among other fine pieces and be placed in an atmosphere reflecting literary integrity. I appreciated their faith that I would exercise editorial judgment in a manner that would benefit all the contributions included in every volume of VPR. Over the opening decade of the journal’s existence, I have always attempted to honor the privilege bestowed upon me by those writers who entrusted Valparaiso Poetry Review with their poetry, reviews, and essays.
    Additionally, I felt a responsibility to produce an online literary journal that would attain a certain amount of respect and would contribute to the overall stature of electronic magazines, whose standing was already beginning to become more elevated due largely to the exemplary efforts by a number of other editors at similar sites. These individuals also were working toward building a community of Internet publications that would complement the numerous excellent titles in the world of print journals. I believe most readers of contemporary literature have been amazed in the past decade by the growth in popularity and the increased sophistication level of various online literary journals. I know I admire the wonderful work witnessed in many electronic publications nowadays, and I regularly applaud the activities of their editors. Moreover, as I have suggested in my writing elsewhere, I believe we have finally reached a point where readers may safely say they are observing a coming of age for the online literary journal.
    I have been pleased to notice, as further evidence of an increased respect for online magazines, the “table of contents” pages of some electronic literary journals now display a wide range of well-known poets and fiction writers whose presence was limited to print journals not too long ago, and whose contributions bring greater attention to those emerging authors publishing exciting work alongside them. Moreover, when I glance at the “acknowledgments” pages of new books of poetry or volumes of literary commentary, I find myself noting how many titles of online journals, including Valparaiso Poetry Review, are represented side by side with those titles of traditional print periodicals, all of which seem to have adopted at least some degree of online presence as well in recent years. In fact, various print journals have evolved into “hybrids,” also offering their content online, and during the past few years, readers have seen esteemed literary magazines start to migrate fully from a print format to an online-only status.
    I value all the poems and depend on each author in Valparaiso Poetry Review; therefore, I wish to take this special opportunity to express again my appreciation to everyone whose splendid work has appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review during the past ten years of the journal’s publication. The number of people to whom I am grateful for contributing their writing rises every year, as VPR currently includes about 500 poems and more than 100 works of prose commentary in its twenty-one issues.
    Likewise, the readership for Valparaiso Poetry Review has soared far beyond my expectations over the years, and I am pleased to report I am confident VPR’s readers can look forward to more exceptional work in the future with poems, essays, interviews, reviews, and commentary that visitors to Valparaiso Poetry Review will find equally as entertaining, engaging, and enlightening.
    Additionally, I appreciate very much all the ongoing support and positive feedback Valparaiso Poetry Review has received in e-mails or through readers’ comments at “One Poet’s Notes,” the VPR editor’s blog, as well as in messages sent by means of the VPR Facebook page. I also look forward to any responses readers might have to this special tenth anniversary issue of Valparaiso Poetry Review, which celebrates the occasion by presenting significantly more poems than previous issues of VPR.
    Once again, thank you to all, writers and readers, for the numerous outstanding contributions and many kind words of encouragement concerning Valparaiso Poetry Review during the past decade.

With gratitude,
Edward Byrne
Editor, Valparaiso Poetry Review



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