Eduardo C. Corral asked me, a little while ago, for more info on "Latino Poetry Review." He recently mentioned (Thank you, Eduardo) "Latino Poetry Review" as the blog of Letras Latinas, the unit I direct at the ILS at ND. But I haven't really addressed what LPR will be, exactly. When I started this weblog, I made reference to an online journal with a projected launch date of January 2008. Calling Letras Latinas' weblog "Latino Poetry Review", then, is my attempt at advance publicity. When Latino Poetry Review (LPR) is officially launched early next year, the name of this weblog may very well change, but its function will remain: to act as the weblog of Letras Latinas, which, if one glances over at the menu on the right, is made up of a number of initiatives. At some point, I'll post Letras Latinas' mission statement here.
Latino Poetry Review is a response:
Imagine, if you will, that you suscribed, four years ago, to a certain journal--a monthly journal that publishes both poetry and prose. The journal in question reviews, on average, ten volumes of poetry per month. At ten volumes a month, over twelve months: that's 120 books a year. 120 books a year over a four-year period equals, roughly: 480 books of poetry reviewed. Imagine that the editor of this journal, in a piece of prose that discussed the journal's book reviewing policy, stated that the journal aims to review "a range of books." Imagine this journal touts itself as among the most important and most visible publishers of poetry in the United States.
What does it mean that said journal has not published a single review of a book by a Latino or Latina poet? Think, for a moment, which Latino and Latina poets have published books since the Fall of 2003. Try: poets who have been winners of the Guggenheim Fellowship, the NEA Fellowship, the Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Fellowshop; finalist for the National Book Award, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, finalist for the Griffin International Poetry Prize; poets who have published in the most mainstream journals (except this one).
What does it mean that none of these poets have garnered a single line of criticism in four years?
I am no longer interested in fathoming an answer to this question.
Latino Poetry Review will commission writers, Latino and non-Latino alike, to write thoughtful engaging prose, whether in the form of the book review, or the essay, on Latino poetry--books and works whose authors happen to be Latino or Latina. And Latino Poetry Review will commission and publish interviews. I have been thinking about this project for well over a year, but could not move forward until THE WIND SHIFTS was completed. I began laying the groundwork months ago. LPR will have an advisory board. So far, two people have agreed to be on it and I hope to enlist two or three more. A handful of reviewers have signed on. I hope to sign on more.
I will be editing Latino Poetry Review (LPR) from Washington, D.C.