I’m wrapping up Foursquare, a project I started in 2006. As my obligations to other things expand and my desire to work on my own poetry grows, issues of 4SQ come out less frequently, such that the year of 2009 issues is now in its second year of production/distribution. In total, there have been three “years” of issues (36 issues, with 7 still to be released) as well as 9 Special Editions (there will be three more). The full list of contributors, poets and artists, can be found on the Foursquare blog.
The last few issues of Foursquare are still in development; I’m seeking work from women whose work has not previously been published in the magazine. Please familiarize yourself with the magazine before submitting work. I know every magazine says this, and it is indeed good practice (and simply polite), but with Foursquare it cannot be overstressed. The magazine does not look like other magazines. Although it is hard to find a physical copy of Foursquare unless you know someone who has been in it or have access to the SUNY Buffalo or U Wisc-Madison special collections, the first two volumes (24 issues) of Foursquare are online and you can look over them at the archive.
Once you know what you’re getting into, please send 3-4 poems in .doc, .jpg, .tiff, or .pdf format to me. Please do not include poems in the body of the email. Please accompany your submission with a brief bio.
Now, a little story about Foursquare:
When I started thinking about Foursquare in 2006, I sat down and brainstormed a list of all the female poets I could think of off the top of my head. Here is the list (I think some may be spelled wrong, but that’s what happens when you’re brainstorming):
Erica van Horn
Joyce Carol Oates
K. Lorraine Graham
Linda V. Russo
Monica de la Torre
Myung Mi Kim
Rachel Blau Du Plessis
Sheila E. Murphy
Note that only a few of these 114 women have been in Foursquare. Here is the list of 124 women who have been in (or accepted to) Foursquare so far:
Angela Veronica Wong
Erin M. Bertram
Jill Alexander Essbaum
Judith S. Askew
K. Lorraine Graham
kathryn l. pringle
Lee Ann Brown & Miranda Lee Torn
Michelle Naka Pierce
Natalie Zina Walschots
Sharon Harris et al.
Sue Hammond West
Tessa Joseph Nicholas
(At some point, I will merge these lists with a couple of other lists of female poets and they will be easily locatable all in one place so that no one but Lacan has to bemoan the “lack” of female poets.)
In contrast to the first list, many of the poets in the second list are not poets I’d ever met before working on Foursquare. Most are young and were, at the time of publication, “emerging” — many now have multiple chapbooks, books, and awards to their credit. Foursquare, like all periodicals, is a slice of time. And like most small periodicals, since calls for work are mostly viral, Foursquare shows who knew who and who was working with whom during this slice of time. There are poets I simply never knew about– who I still don’t know about, might never know about– because I don’t run in every poetry circle.
What Foursquare further demonstrates is how many female poets are working today. Foursquare mostly publishes poets of the “experimental” persuasion and tends to favor visual poetry over narrative poetry (if those two things can be– not “opposed” but “contrasted”). The list above is not a list of everyone who ever submitted work to Foursquare or all the poets who ever could. I’m retiring as the editor of Foursquare, but there is still a great need for magazines who are willing to go out of their way to publish women and there are still hundreds of women who were not published in Foursquare (who never submitted, never heard of it, didn’t fit with an issue) who should be published. I do not mean that all magazines should be women-only like Foursquare is, but with such a plethora of female writers (and with this list and this older list of female vispoets) before you, there is no excuse for magazines to only publish men because they can’t find any women, or even to have disparity between the sexes in a table of contents. There are so many female poets working today, and many of them are amazing writers– you just have to open your eyes and see what’s right in front of you.
Please use the comment box to tell me about female poets you love and/or link to other lists of female poets. I’d like to gather all the lists and merge them (here’s a start).