blackmail press 29
Editorial - 10 years in an open necked shirt *
*John Cooper Clarke

In Your Enigma - Ilinca Höpfner
In Your Enigma - Ilinca Höpfner
10 years seems like a long time, blackmail press commenced June 2001 and has been hanging around ever since, sort of like a bad relative to mainstream literary journals. As far as being an editor, I have never proclaimed to be one, rather I have always felt I am a promoter or a really bad band manager.

In the last 10 years we have maintained an average of at least 3 issues a year and maintained our commitment to poets new and contemporary. Mixing it up, keeping every issue as ecclectic as possible. To steady this I introduced guest editors. 

Guest editors have played a vital role in making blackmail press a great read and I thank, Christina Conrad, Mark Pirie, Tania Brady, Portionte Floes & Jayne Fenton Keane, Renee Liang, Miriam Barr, Sarah Barnett & Bill Nelson and David Eggleton, for getting on board and producing, in my opinion the finer issues in our catalogue.

Themed issues "36 inch Bust", "Crossed Cultures""Secrets" and "Rebel" are some of my favorite issues of blackmail press, I look forward to issue  30 "Bipolarisation" guest edited by Liz Breslin and Laura Williamson.
For me personally it is difficult to work to a theme that sits well with me, If I have done a themed issue, most likely it is "Spoken Word"  issue 19 the issue collaboratively edited with Miz Portiontes Floes and Jayne Fenton Keane. 

The highlight of blackmail press has been working with all poets featured,  it has been a pleasure and wonderfully fulfilling to work with them to get their pages  corrected, formatted and put online. I sincerely thank all poets for their grace and patience with me.  I would especially like to thank the following poets who have shaped and helped blackmail press: Michele Leggot, Christina Conrad, Mark Pirie, Graham Nunn, Jayne Fenton Keane, David Barnes, Larry Jaffe, Renee Liang, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Karlo Mila, Portionte Floes, Ben Kemp, Richard Zola, Bernard Gadd, David Eggleton, and again all our guest editors. Fa'afeti, thank you for your generousity and support of blackmail press over the years.

In my editorial from issue 22 "welcome home" i wrote... blackmail press, is starting to feel more like home to me. It is becoming a better representation of the multi-cultural voices writing poetry both in New Zealand and abroad. I like to think I am a reconciliator for the past. So, welcome home. The diverse representation of cultures is hugely satisfying, it is why blackmail press publishes international poets, increasing our diversity to our readers. As an "editor" blackmail press has allowed me to work with people from all around the world; Australia, England, Ireland, Wales, Sotland, U.S.A, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Japan... blackmail press has traveled far further than I ever shall.

Producing "Polynation" in 2008 was the reward for sticking to the mahi at hand; a spin off of  "Spoken Word"  issue. "Polynation" produced something truely diverse and  unique, consquently "Polynation" was a hit at Queensland Poetry Festival and Going West! Over the next few months we are releasing "Polynation" on You Tube and will be linking directly to blackmail press.

Issue 30 is a little gem, we feature cover artist Ilinca Höpfner, who has just finished producing artwork and animated music video's for Nick Cave's Grinderman. Ilinca works from Albert Wendt's beautiful poem to Reina Whaitiri " In Your Enigma". We feature for the first time two featured musicians - the latest House of Taonga (Tracey Tawhiao) produced music video of Dam Native's - "Only You". American indie songstress Angie Mattson's latest Music Video "Make This Real".

I am very excited to be featuring two poets who make a real difference with their work, Luis J Rodriguez. Luis's humanity illuminates his local community, I highly recommend you read about Luis and his poetry at  Luis is an inspiration to all poets. Albert Wendt graces the issue with "Mountains of Ta'u" from his award winning novel "The Adventures of Vela" and the beautiful "In Your Enigma. Albert Wendt is a novelist and poet who is an inspiration to many. Albert is one of my literary heroes.

Issue 30 sign posts a decade of poets before poetry. What do I mean by that, well blackmail press features poets, e-publishes a selection of work so the reader "gets to know" the poet, it's that simple.


Doug Poole