Blue Mesa Review: Issue 28

Posted on 12.07.2013

For the past 6 months, I’ve been working alongside other UNM creative writing graduate students to produce the latest issue of Blue Mesa Review. Aside from reading and talking about hundreds of submissions of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, we also held the very first Annual Summer Contest in 2013, judged by Sherman Alexie (fiction) and Michael Dickman (poetry). Working as the Associate Editor for BMR is one of the best things that I get to do in the MFA program. And here’s why.

The year before I came to UNM, the funding for Blue Mesa was cut by the English Department. This meant, among other things, no more print issues unless we could find some way to find funding ourselves. Well, that’s tough. There aren’t a lot of independent people or organizations out there willing to fund a literary journal. BMR was founded 25 years ago by Rudolfo Anaya (I know), Gene Frumkin, David Johnson, Patricia Clark Smith and Lee Bartlette. We, the graduate students in the MFA program in Creative Writing, were left with the somewhat daunting task of not letting that legacy die.

Luckily enough, my husband happens to be a genius web developer. He generously offered to make us a website (for free). Even with this incredible offer, it wasn’t an easy sell. A lot of people, including many faculty members that had been deeply involved with the magazine in the past, were wary of going online only. And we get it. Online publishing gets a bad rap. But what other choice did we have? And so, we dove in and the results are, I think, incredible.

Now, instead of asking – why online? We wonder – why print? Okay, I know, holding a book in your hand, seeing your name in print, still holds a lot of clout. But also, we have hundreds (literally) of books sitting in a storage closet off the women’s restroom in UNM’s English Department. That makes me sad. All of that great content, all of those incredible interviews, all of the lovely artwork, hidden away in boxes. But, when I got up this morning to check out analytics (something you can’t do in print, obviously) what I saw was amazing. Over 1,000 pageviews of our new issue in one day! It seems to me that for all lit journals moving forward, the question shouldn’t be – should we go online? But rather – how can we make our online presence incredible? I think we’ve made big leaps toward that aim in our latest issue.

Issue 28 has been completely revamped. We are SO PROUD of the newest issue of Blue Mesa Review. We received incredible content for this issue, and have a great responsibility to give that content an equally incredible home. All that we can hope for is that BMR continues to improve for years to come.

P.S.: Check out this awesome interview I did with Nina McConigley for the issue!