Commentary, Current Issue, Features

Spring and All: New Issue, New Editors, New Books

Cover Image: "Scaffold" by David Hytone

Cover Image: “Scaffold” by David Hytone


Poetry Northwest
changes editors, and adds a publishing house

SEATTLE, WA – Poetry Northwest (the region’s oldest literary magazine, established in 1959) has just published volume 10.2 in its New Series, marking the completion of a vibrant decade of the magazine in its expanded format.

The Winter & Spring 2016 issue features new poems from Joan Swift, who first contributed to the magazine in 1959, and Tod Marshall, who was recently appointed the fourth Washington state Poet Laureate. It includes exceptional new work from a wide range of poets, such as Laura Da’, Rebecca Hoogs, Joan Naviyuk Kane, Keetje Kuipers, Richard Kenney, Claudia Castro Luna, J. W. Marshall, Katrina Roberts, Rich Smith, Nance van Winckel, and many more.

The magazine also continues a long tradition of exploring the interconnectedness of poetry and the visual arts. The current issue features three unique series of images from prominent Northwest artists, each series interwoven with the text: David Hytone supplied the gorgeous cover; Emily Gherard works shadowy wonders with graphite; and Kelly Froh, light-hearted comic genius, riffs off poems by Hoogs and Smith.

“We’ve taken great joy these past six years in exploring our roots as a Northwest trading post of sorts, all the while reinventing ourselves for the global digital age,” says editor Kevin Craft. “This issue concentrates our best efforts to ensure that Poetry Northwest remains a vital part of print culture in this region rich with readers, even as we expand our reach.”

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of Carolyn Kizer‘s departure from the masthead to take up her position as the first Director of Literature Programs at a brand-new NEA. It also signals the closing season for current editor Kevin Craft. The poems in this issue, along with those already selected for the next (Summer & Fall 2016), represent his final curatorial endeavor for the magazine.

In the new issue, Craft explains that when he took on the editorship, he also “set a term limit” for himself, believing that “a magazine should evolve, and revolve, to reflect its community.”  A new editorial team is in place, and will begin in earnest in June, led by co-Editors Aaron Barrell and Erin Malone and Managing Editor Rebecca Brinbury. Inspired by the original editorial cohort of Carolyn Kizer, Richard Hugo, and Nelson Bentley, this new team promises to showcase the diversity of Northwest letters for years to come.

“As readers, we are fortunate that Poetry Northwest has enjoyed such longevity,” says Brinbury, the former Development Director at Hugo House and Managing Director of Seattle City of Literature. “Erin, Aaron, and I are honored to be carrying on the work that has helped define and amplify our region’s literary heritage. I look forward to helping this organization kick off another successful six decades.”

Meanwhile, Craft moves into a new role as Executive Editor of Poetry NW Editions. In spring 2017, Poetry NW will begin publishing books in the Cascade Poetry Series, beginning with Sierra Nelson’s second full-length collection, The Lachrymose Report. Nelson won the magazine’s Kizer Prize for her poems in the Spring 2014 issue. “We’re excited about this evolution in our mission to support Northwest poets, and the work of our contributors, wherever they may live,” Craft affirms. “Poetry NW Editions will focus on publishing books by midcareer poets who have already published at least one full-length collection. We intend to fill a niche between the large number of first book outlets and the bigger houses, such as Wave Books or Copper Canyon Press, that support poets throughout their careers. We will also work in collaboration with other small presses to promote the vitality of poetry publishing in the region and beyond.”

Poetry Northwest is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The magazine has been published in the Written Arts Program of Everett Community College since 2010.