blackmail press 40
Looking Back
Doug Poole - editor
The fecund people - Andy Leleisi'uao 2014
Eclecticism: a conceptual approach that does not hold rigidly to a single paradigm or set of assumptions, but instead draws upon multiple theories, styles, or ideas to gain complementary insights into a subject, or applies different theories in particular cases.
- wikipedia

blackmailpress issue 1 was released june 2001, I was 30, my children were very young, I was living in Te Atatu North. The publishing computer was running windows 98 with a dial up connection. It is July 2015, my children are young adults, I am living in Te Atatu South. I am sitting at my laptop running windows 7 professional on a wireless broadband connection. I am 44 years old. 

Looking back there have been a lot of changes in my life over the last 14 years, yet blackmail press has stayed with me. This wonderful gathering of poets, loosely labelled a journal; at worst  a website (indignant grrrrr).  

When I think about blackmail press, one word in particular sums it up: Eclecticism. An approach I learnt from my father; just one of the qualities I love about him. Therefore it is natural that my approach to presenting poets does not hold fast to a rigid idea of what a poetry journal should "be". 

I feel I should explain myself, why celebrate 40 issues by looking back instead of forward? It is as simple as saying it feels good to stop, sit down and enjoy the last 39 issues. This issue is a selection of poets whose work really excites me. They are poems that affect my sensibilities to poetry. Secondly it is a perilously personal selection and one I hope does not offend all of the other wonderful voices who have graced past issues, but understand producing blackmail press has become a very personal thing.

During the last 14 years I have focused the journal on promoting new and contemporary poets from New Zealand and abroad with a specific focus on presenting poets of Pakeha, Maori, Pacifika and Asian descent. blackmail press has sought to diversify the poetry available to readers  of poetry online in New Zealand. 

Guest Editors of blackmail press include Tania Brady, David Eggleton, Mark Pirie, Vaughan Rapatahana, Renee Liang, Liz Breslin and Laura Wiliamson, Sarah Barnett and Bill Nelson, Miriam Barr and currently collaborating with Michalia Arathimos on a guest editor issue themed "Piercing the White Space", due to be released October 2015. 

blackmail press has produced several themed issues of poetry to encourage and promote diverse voices writing poetry in Aotearoa today. "36 Inch Bust" was a women’s poetry issue guest edited by Tania Brady. 

"Spoken Word" was guest edited by American performance poet Portionte Floes and Jayne Fenton Keane an Australian performance poet, the issue brought together Pasifika, American and Australian spoken word poets recorded live.

"Crossed Cultures" was guest edited by Renee Liang and brought together a truly diverse range of poets from many different cultures living and writing poetry in Aotearoa. 

Contemporary poets who have kindly shared works published in blackmail press include, Michele Leggot, Riemke Ensing, Albert Wendt, Selina Tusitala Marsh, Karlo Mila, David Eggleton, Raewyn Alexander, Serie Barford, Courtney Meredith and many more.

blackmail press has been especially privileged to promote Maori and Pasifika visual artists such as, Penny Howard, Andy Leleisiauo, Vanya Taule'alo, Amanda Kemp, Shane Tonu Eggleton and Christina Conrad as cover artists for issues of blackmail press. It was a very special privilege to work with German artist Ilinca Höpfner for blackmail press’ 10 year issue.

Highly regarded international poets that have been featured in issues of blackmail press include American Chicano poet Luis J Rodriguez, Australian poet of aboriginal descent Ali Cobby Eckerman, Japanese avant-garde poet Kenji Satori and many more.  

Lastly Fa'afeti Lava to every poet who has taken the time to send work and to share it. To every guest editor for working with me; enriching the experience of blackmail press. To every cover artist. To our readers and supporters. 

Please, enjoy.

Doug Poole
16th July 2015