Dispatches | December 20, 2010

What about poetry?

Less than six weeks left until textBOX goes live! I’m not panicking yet; for that I’ll wait until at least January 20th when little more than a weekend looms between me and The Day My Project Must Be Ready. Besides, organization is one of my specialties. I make lists and timetables like nobody’s business, see:

[not pictured: approx. three-hundred post-it notes]

And then I remake them when it turns out they were completely unrealistic.

Actually though, things are going remarkably well, and I’m getting pretty excited about the January launch. But there’s one thing I haven’t told you yet: a full third of the site is not even close to ready. For all our talk about selecting the best material from the archive, when the site launches on the 24th, it will not feature even one teeny tiny poem.

The reason for this is simple: most of the time I don’t really know what to do with poetry. I’m just not a poetry kind of gal. There are a few poems that I really love, that I will remember forever and read to my children and return to over and over again, but when it comes to carefully reading a collection of poems and come up with interpretive or craft questions that make sense, let alone attempt to write an introduction that does them justice, I am not even remotely qualified.

Lucky for me, I get to work with some incredible poets here at The Missouri Review. This spring, as we continue to build and expand the fiction and non-fiction sections of the site, we will also be developing the poetry section with the help of poet and graduate student Austin Segrest.

So while there won’t actually be any poetry on textBOX on January 24th, know that we are working on it, that Austin is working on it and that it is in very good hands.

In the meantime, I invite you to hop on over to Tumblr and read an excerpt from “The First Week of After” by Margaret Malone. It’s an exquisitely crafted essay about her experiences in the week following her husband’s cancer diagnosis.