Some months back I submitted a long “poem” to a new publication called Uncanny Valley. (I quote-mark the word “poem” for reasons that are quickly evident to the reader. It’s part poem, but it’s also comprised of elements that are’t poetry at all – snips of drama script, blog entries, actual e-mail exchanges, photographs, newspaper clippings, playbills, and so on.) I was stunned when it was accepted – honestly, I never figured something that long and experimental had a chance anywhere.
But UV is different. Very different. They set themselves a mission to provide a forum for the unconventional. As the editors explain, “Other magazines make the words they publish fit their format. We make our format fit the words.”
Now, a few months later, Issue 0001 has dropped. My copy arrived in the mail today, and I can’t tell you how honored I am to be included in something this damned cool. Sure, I feel strongly about “Archipelago,” but I’d be saying nice things about this pub regardless. Those who know me have listened to my carping literally since the 1980s about how our literature establishment – and the poetry establishment in particular – has gotten so homogenized as to be unreadable. Everything is the same. It’s so bad that I walked away from any attempt to publish for extended periods because I just saw no point.
I think those of you who share my interest in publications that move literature forward are, at the very least, going to appreciate the spirit and verve of Uncanny Valley. Everything about it takes a chance and genres aren’t only bent, they’re twisted into shapes that aggressively defy categorization.
Editors Mike Meginnis and Tracy Bowling have kindly agreed to share the lead piece in this issue with S&R’s readers. You may love it, or you may not, but I think you’ll quickly grasp how seriously they take their assault on the conventions of genre. (If you make it as far as page 45, you’ll find my own contribution.)
You can order your copy at the UV Web site for $14, a small price to pay to support innovation in literature. And it really is a very nice production David Wells’ cover design, shown above, makes it a nice show piece for your coffee table or bookcase.
Did I mention that I think you should buy this?