William James here…if you’re paying attention to what we’re doing with this brand-new journal, I consider you a friend, so let’s dispense with the formalities. Call me BillJim – most everyone does.
So, we’ve had the masthead page live since the whole site went up, but I wanted to officially welcome aboard the two wonderful humans who will be joining me on this adventure. You can read their official bios HERE, so I won’t copy & paste them. Instead, I want to take a little time to talk more personally about my co-editors.
Angelique Palmer, since I first met her, has been one of the hardest working poets I know. Years back, we were both 30/30 buddies, trying to conquer that seemingly impossible mountain – write a whole poem, every day? For 30 straight days?!?!? Turns out it’s a lot easier to do so when you have someone keeping you accountable; for me, that was Angelique. If I felt like slacking for a day & skipping a poem, she’d hound me mercilessly on Facebook, telling me that I could do it. We traded prompts. We traded feedback. We traded chapbooks made out of the poems that resulted. And all the way, Angelique approached the work not like someone who was casually flirting with a ‘fun hobby’ but in a way that made no mistake about the fact that this poetry thing was something she took deadly seriously. With her work ethic, Angelique was someone I just knew I wanted to reach out to and ask if she’d be down to be a part of Beech St. Review…lucky for me, she agreed.
Mckendy Fils-Aime is someone I’ve known for many years. Before I had a writing community to call my own, when I still lived in a small town of less than 500 people (none of whom were writers, or at least were willing to admit to being one) Mckendy was someone I could reach out to and ask for advice, for help with a poem I was trying to tame, or just someone that I could talk craft with. Now we live in the same city, we co-facilitate a twice-monthly writing workshop together, and I can’t recall a single conversation we’ve had in the past three years that didn’t involve poetry. It wasn’t hard at all to make the call to ask him to join the staff…if anyone was going to be willing to volunteer their time helping run a poetry journal, it would be the guy who regularly dedicates 6+ hours of his Saturday with me to talk about craft.
The irony of an art like poetry is that you work fiendishly hard, in order to make what you do appear as though it just…came to you, out of thin air, without effort. Those of us who do it know that this isn’t the case. There’s a lot of hard work, a lot of sweat & tears & yes, sometimes actual blood that comes with the poem. It’s my sincere belief that the editors who will be reading your submissions are the right people to respect the labor you’ve put into the work you send us. Hopefully, what we select for our future issues will be proof that I’m right.