Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Death of a Corpse

Exquisite Corpse, one of the first journals I ever submitted writing to, is dead. A friend had just given me one of Andrei Codrescu books and I was eager to see more things he was associated with (though I kept messing up his name, and still do). Plus, I had just completed a course on experimental poetry. When I searched for "exquisite corpse," it was the first site to come up. It was hip. Far hipper than me, and I instantly sent them something. I never received a response: I wasn't even put in the "body bag," a section of the journal for pieces that for whatever hazy reason did not make it into the main pages.

In 2008 the submission page was changed and this announcement added:

We will not accept submissions until May 2009. We have not lost our optimism! We just ran out of time! And we are drowning in text! From now on we'll only read checks!

I checked back in periodically, but it never changed. Now the submission page is the same, with the addition of "dead dead dead" scrawled across the whole page in digital blood.

To be fair, EQ died years ago, maybe as soon as they closed submissions in 2009. But I wonder why. Earlier today I was looking at Double Room, the journal of prose poetry and flash fiction. Like Exquisite Corpse I submitted to it a few years ago, and like Exquisite Corpse, this journal has been languishing since 2009.

It seems a real shame to me, especially for an e-journal, for whom the cost of printing and posting isn't an issue, that journals should go gently or totally silently into the digital night. Could Andrei Codrescu or Mark Tursi not have found some young and eager writer/editor to take over editorially responsibilities for their site if they no longer have the time/inclination/money?

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