I found out yesterday that the San Antonio-based Brazos River Review is going on what they’re calling “an indefinite hiatus.” Many literary journals struggle in a precarious existence – funding is a perennial issue, and most live hand-to-mouth – so sadly it’s not entirely unexpected when one suspends publication, but BRR hits a little harder. It’s in my home state, and last year they accepted a poem of mine that unfortunately had just been accepted elsewhere. (Given average response times, most journals allow simultaneous submissions, so long as you tell them when work gets accepted.) It’s always disappointing to lose a sympathetic ear, not to mention an ear in general.
Literary journals don’t have it easy. There is always funding that needs to be nailed down, the search to find and somehow retain talented and dedicated staff members who often must be underpaid if they’re paid at all, and literally thousands of poems from people like me that have to be waded through every year in search of perhaps a hundred or so that are considered right for what they’re trying to do. I always try to remember all of that when I send work to be considered, and I’m really grateful for their time, consideration, and dedication.
Despite the odds, they make a wider audience for poetry possible. We need them. Pick one and support it, if you can.