Issue on digital poetry from Journal of Electronic Publishing

Aaron McCollough is guest-editing an issue of The Journal of Electronic Publishing on digital poetry. Below is the email he sent to the Poetics list requesting submissions for that issue.

From: Aaron McCollough
To: Poetics List
Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2010 7:56 AM
Subject: CFP: Journal of Electronic Publishing (Digital Poetics/Poetries)

I’m writing today in my capacity as guest editor for The Journal of Electronic Publishing, which has been a pioneer in responding critically to digital technologies’ impact on “publishing” as both a notion and a semiotic distribution system since 1995 (before there was even a google to google-sculpt with!).

JEP is published by the Scholarly Publishing Office (SPO), a unit of the University of Michigan Library, which is committed to designing affordable and sustainable publishing solutions in the “network era” (with a serious commitment to open-access publishing).

JEP’s long-time editor, Judith Axel Turner, is retiring, and I have been asked to curate one of several issues to be published in the interim before a new editor-in-chief is appointed.

Given my interests and background, I’ve chosen to put together an issue broadly dedicated to digital poetry publishing. I’m hoping you might be interested in contributing an article. This issue will bring together many distinct but related conversations concerning relationships between poetry and the wide array of digital prostheses that are shaping and have shaped 21st Century poetics. I’m also hoping this issue will bring the pertinent conversations to the attention of new audiences. Submission deadline is April 15, 2011.

A short (but not exhaustive) list of areas of focus for this issue includes:

  1. The status of the digital poetry “utopia.” With approximately ten years of broadband-living now behind us, are we in a position to reassess (perhaps reaffirm) the early promise of digital media for poetry and poetics? Or, from a more phenomenological angle… has reading without paper changed, and/or is it still changing, the experience of poetry? So what?
  2. How has digital poetry publishing impacted poetry pedagogy (in either creative writing or more traditional study)?
  3. How has digital publishing influenced or altered the notion of what a poetry “book” is or should be? How has is changed or not changed the economics of poetry book publication? How has is changed or not changed the “cultural capital” attached to such publication?
  4. Digital media and poetry community/communities. The social aspects (especially as market potential) of digital networking have been discussed ad nauseam for several years. Blogs. Facebook. Etc. Still, poetry’s coterieism has an ancient provenance. What unique problems or benefits have come—or are coming—for poetry with the on-going acceleration of electronic interconnection?
  5. Media/Form/Content. How is the stuff of digital media blending with the stuff of poetry? Immediately, I’m thinking of the way Flarf takes algorithmic formal modeling and raw textual content from various digital locations to make something new, to reflects on its own parts, and also reflect outward on the broader social, political, and economic circumstances that generate and shape the sources. But I’m using Flarf here as shorthand for many developments where the product and process of digital publishing blur in significant ways.

I’m expecting mainly to publish pieces that are critical or, at least, quasi-scholarly, but that doesn’t mean the issue has no room for creative or essayistic work. In some cases, a review of contexts will make sense, but ultimately I’m looking for work that builds from contexts to unique arguments and insights about a specific facet of the relationships between “digital publishing” and “poetry.” I’m happy to consider re-publishing a relevant piece as long as you own the rights or are able to get permission to reuse the material.

Please let me know if this prospect appeals to you, and I’d be happy to give you more information (including deadlines, etc.). I’m also happy to help you brainstorm if you are interested in contributing but also interested in bouncing some ideas around with me first.

More information about JEP and SPO (including links) are at the end of this letter.

Thanks for considering.


Aaron McCollough

The Journal of Electronic Publishing (JEP),, is a forum for research and discussion about contemporary publishing practices, and the impact of those practices upon users. Our contributors and readers are publishers, scholars, librarians, journalists, students, technologists, attorneys, retailers, and others with an interest in the methods and means of contemporary publishing. At its inception in January 1995, JEP carved out an important niche by recognizing that print communication was in the throes of significant change, and that digital communication would become an important–and in some cases predominant–means for transmitting published information.

JEP aspires to document the changes in publishing, and in some cases to stimulate and shape the direction of those changes. The articles present innovative ideas, best practices, and leading-edge thinking about all aspects of publishing, authorship, and readership. The editor and publisher are committed to presenting wide-ranging and diverse viewpoints on contemporary publishing practices, and to encouraging dialogue and understanding between key decision-makers in publishing and those who are affected by the decisions being made.

The content of each issue, and the overall tone of the Journal is the responsibility of the editor, Judith Axler Turner. Ms. Turner has worked as a reporter for the New York Times, Washington Post, and the National Journal. She pioneered the many electronic publishing innovations made by the Chronicle of Higher Education in the late twentieth century as their Director of Electronic Publishing. She is now an information technology management consultant at Turner Consulting Group, which principally serves the federal government.

JEP is published by the Scholarly Publishing Office (SPO),, a unit of the University of Michigan University Library. SPO is committed to the concept of library-based scholarly publishing. Indeed, the SPO believes that this is a necessary next step for academic libraries, as the university takes control not only of the creation of information, but its dissemination. To do that, the SPO has been unstinting in its effort to provide low-cost, scalable mechanisms for electronic publication and distribution of journals and scholarly databases.

SPO’s publishing efforts for JEP are supported in part by the University of Michigan University Library, and in part by sponsorship of industry leaders in scholarly communication and electronic publishing whose names are at the bottom of each JEP page. SPO recognizes and respects the strengths of traditional publishing firms, and encourages an open and ongoing exchange of information and ideas such that we fulfill our common vision of advancing knowledge and scholarship. We appreciate the spirit of partnership represented by publisher commitments to sponsor JEP.

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