Thursday, December 22, 2011

Branching Out—And Into—A New Year

Where (oh where?) did 2011 go? While it's not officially time to take down the 2011 calendars and replace them with 2012, the time is indeed close at hand. As the years go by, those monthly pages on the calendar seem to need turning ever-more furiously. And sometimes it's mid-month before the pages do get turned. While the passing of time seems to speed up exponentially as we get older (and I know there's some mathematical reason why it seems that way), most of the time it's from sheer busy-ness that I can't quite keep up with time's passing.

In the last few months, I've not kept up with my blogging as I should. I am not one to make New Year's resolutions (for we all know how those go), but instead, I like to try to implement permanent behavior changes. Goodness knows there are many things I'd like to work on and change permanently, but I am going to focus on the regularity of blog posting as a top priority. Blogging is writing—and as writers, we know that the only way to accomplish writing is to do it. Waiting until the time is right or until the spirit moves us does not get it done. I'm likely to have more success with this blogging-more change in behavior than with trying to eat less ice cream. I know how that goes.

Here at the Aurorean, much of the passage of 2011 has been spent not only with our biannual Aurorean publication and all that entails, but in carefully planning and launching our expedition into the world of chapbook publishing. Yes, we have published chapbooks and full-length books of poetry in the distant past (before the widespread usage of the World-Wide Web and its promotional advantages for authors and publishers), and more recently, full-length collections—in 2007, one by small-press great B.Z. Niditch; in 2010, an anthology of poems by Maine Poets Society members; and earlier this year, a collection each by Margaret Rockwell Finch and Marta Rijn Finch, co-presidents of Maine Poets Society.

But beginning this year, we branched out to offer a yearly chapbook competition through Encircle Publications. The above image is of the end result. As with the Aurorean, we wanted the end result to be a work of art—not just the art of the poetry inside, but the art of the presentation. We wanted to offer a reasonable entry fee and ease of submission process. We wanted to become a chapbook publisher that does everything we can to help our authors succeed. We wanted to find the best manuscript from those submitted. We determined to judge the manuscripts blindly—removing identifying information and any list of submitters' publication credentials from the manuscripts themselves. The editors also approached each reading without potentially-biasing comments from the other editor. Comments were shared and discussions held only after both editors read each manuscript personally with fresh eyes. The field was narrowed as we proceeded, and on we went to first, second and final rounds. A winner was declared with anticipation, excitement and a sense of accomplishment. Regarding the winning manuscript, both editors were in absolute agreement.

This first time out, the winner has set the bar high for our future annual contests. That is a good thing. It will insure that as editors, we keep our poetry judging and all-around quality-control thinking caps on at all times. Eleanor Lerman, author of The Sensual World Re-Emerges (Sarabande Books) had this to say: The question that begins Lisa Bellamy's elegant and eloquent collection of poems is a poignant one: are we all "just wind and gristle"? In the pages that follow, this skilled poet goes on to assure us that we are not. In fact, the healing light of our humanity suffuses all our days, as do our memories of our mothers, our home towns, our childhood prayers, and the sight of the stars overhead each night. Sadness is everywhere, Bellamy tells us—but like the bees "mixing nectar with tears" to produce honey—so is joy.

Our first press run arrived just today and we have been busy packing orders and copies requested by reviewers. We hope you will see what fuels our enthusiasm. Copies of Nectar can be ordered (shipping always included) here: Let Bellamy's amazing poetry serve as your companion as you put up that new 2012 calendar and journey into the new year. As well, join us in 2012—share your work with us by submitting to the Aurorean (Spring/Summer deadline: February 15th). See Or, submit to our 2012 chapbook competition (deadline to register for online entry: September 1st). See

I wish all of our Aurorean friends a warm holiday season and a poetry-filled 2012!


  1. Wow! Cynthia ,yes! Your chapbooks--as all of your publications--are indeed a gift,both in
    content and visual form.
    I am an long time fan of the Aurorean (and its alter ego!). It is very rare to find an editor ( and a publishing house) so dedicated to quality and beauty. You have done both of these,always with a helping hand to all poetry writers (and lovers).
    THANK YOU! Blessings in the New Year and more wonderful issues!

  2. That means a lot, Natalia—as one of our many supporters and friends, as editors, your opinion means the world to us. Blessings to you too, for 2012!