softcover, 428 pages
Cover Art: C. Mehrl Bennett
For six years, Wendy Vardaman and Sarah Busse co-edited the hybrid poetry magazine Verse Wisconsin working on laptops out of local coffee shops and libraries. Over 13 print and 15 online issues, they published the work and words of writers from around the corner and around the globe. Including poetry, essays, book reviews, interviews, verse drama, spoken word, visual poetry, and other poetic forms in print, image, audio, and video, they sought to build the audience for poetry and the community of poets, while working to define and re-define what community might mean.
Over the years, the mission of Verse Wisconsin underwent significant shifts, as editorial emphasis moved from a simple publication model toward creating conversations, activisms, and transformational circles, seeking to invite diverse voices into these conversations, to define and to redefine what a poetics of the Midwest might be, and to point the way towards what such a Midwest poetics might become. This volume represents another iteration of an ongoing conversation, as the voices of Verse Wisconsin’s editors weave in and out with those of other poets, once again reframing the questions by selecting work from over the years and placing pieces in new context.
“We hope that the significance of Verse Wisconsin and this collection of essays will be clear, not just with respect to a Wisconsin-based audience, but to everyone engaged with locally- or regionally-driven arts. There is always something worthwhile to document nearby. Writers and artists are always doing just that. The sum total of what a group of writers/ artists do in a region defines the poetics/ aesthetics of that region. There are diverse writing/ arts in every location. Getting to know the totality of that production is a matter of research and is vital to a larger understanding of those poetic/ aesthetic principles.” —from “Forewords & Backwards: Notes from the Cupcake Circus”
Sarah Busse and Wendy Vardaman are Poets Laureate of Madison, Wisconsin (2012–2015), editors of three anthologies, including Echolocations, Poets Map Madison, editors of Verse Wisconsin (2009–2014) and founders of Cowfeather Press. They teach workshops and organize readings and conversations about poetry.
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C. Mehrl Bennett
Sifundo aka Be Manzini
Thomas R. Smith
Angela Trudell Vasquez
Moisés Villaviencio Barras
Frank X Walker
Laura C. Wendorff