The last word …
It’s time. With this 26th issue of The Smoking
Poet, founded in 2006, I am closing shop on this wonderful literary endeavor. Yes.
It is time. And I don’t doubt that is at least in part why it has taken me so
long to get this final issue ready for publication. The other part—that’s the
main reason why the doors are closing.
About two and a half years ago, I left “corporate
America,” that world of long commutes, endless meetings and office politics to
open my own business, Z Word, LLC, as a full-time writer and editor. I worked for some great institutions, true, but I longed to be on my own. At the
same time, I made the move to my dream home: a 10-acre farm in southwest
Michigan. It’s a life I’d been longing for since I was a girl, and at last, it’s
What I quickly learned (unsurprised) about this new life
is that the work never stops. Thankfully, I don’t want it to. The farm requires
attention on a daily basis, including the flock of chickens I raise that keeps
expanding. The writing and editing work occupies the full week, with the rare day
off, but since it’s work I adore, and never two days the same, I’m happy to say
that Friday brings no special bliss, while Monday morning is not without it.
The Smoking Poet was one part of this life that has
become increasingly difficult to keep up. Through some interactions with
writers and readers, I was surprised to learn that some out there think there’s
a board of people running this magazine, at very least a panel of editors.
There seemed to also be a perception that the magazine is funded by some, I don’t
know, magical funding, the backing of a university or other large institution. In truth, it is funded by my own wallet. It
been. And it’s not cheap.
TSP is just Joannie Stangeland, my poetry editor, bless
her poetic heart, and me. Occasionally, I had college interns helping in the
process, some truly wonderful young people with great ideas and work ethic. Tim
Bazzett came on recently with his colorful book reviews. All did the work on a
After struggling to find the time and allocate the funds
when paychecks were no longer predictable, I finally realized I could do this
no more. And there’s a third reason: after years of making time and financial
sacrifices to showcase other writers and artists, I want to take the time to
focus on my own writing and art. That, and this glorious farm.
And so, it’s time. Not an easy statement to make. I have
been dawdling and dragging my heels and rethinking and debating. Finally, I ran
out of arguments. Perhaps it’s someone else’s turn to take up the spotlight and
shine it on the worthy work of others.
Thank you, ever so much, to Joannie for your
years of hard and elegant work. Thank you, Tim. Thank you to all the many,
many, many writers and artists who have graced these pages through 26 issues.
you to those of you who have made this final issue so beautiful: feature artist
Linda Lee Rzoska, authors Bruce Mills and Kristi Petersen Schoonover, and a
line-up of spectacular writers and poets. Book reviews will be posted
throughout the coming weeks, so do keep visiting our last issue for news …
while it remains online.
Thank you to all you who read these good works. I will
With a good last word,
Founder and Editor-in-Chief