Pemmican Press Is on Hiatus since 2012

Pemmican Press was considered a left leaning journal from the Pacific Northwest. Although submissions of political poetry was deeply encouraged, poetry of the imagination was also sought, including prose poems, short poems, and poetry that might be thought of as experimental in nature.

Pemmican Press was initially print-only from 1992 to 1999. Several years later Pemmican went online-only offering poetry and then later prose. became its website for a good number of years until 2012 when a noticed appeared stating that "Pemmican Press is going on hiatus and will not be accepting new work except on an invitational basis. We've had a 20 year run and it's time for a break".
When the site's domain registration was not renewed the online version of disappeared from the web. The new owners of the site have created a highly edited version of the site as it changed visually, but not philosophically over the years.

Let's take a nostalgic look back.


Pemmican is going on hiatus and will not be accepting new work except on an invitational basis. We've had a 20 year run and it's time for a break. We would like to say Thank You! to all of you who have read, supported and encouraged Pemmican over the years. Perhaps sometime in the future Pemmican will open its doors again.
—The Editors 2012


Reader comment by Paul Smith: I stumbled onto this periodical via a recommendation from my poetry professor. It was a radical rag back then and a lot of its charm was related to its provocative nature. As an Australian, I was impressed with the international flavor of the writing and the world views, especially the activist messaging, but it wasn't until the post on pokies that I actually identified with the sentiment. I love pokies, which is the equivalent of online slots for most readers. The author, Reginald Tallman, mentioned the fact that pokies were not very well represented online and gave a number of websites that corrected that dearth. I checked out every one of the recommended sites and my fav is not only a great resource, but is also updated frequently, which is important if you're a pokies fan. They have two pages with weekly posting of games that offer free spins, match bonuses, new introductions, and tournaments. One page is aimed towards US players and the casinos that accept them and the other promos page is aimed towards Aussie punters and featured casinos that are Aussie friendly. BTW there is some overlap with the featured casinos. I tend to visit the page for Aussie punters, but my brother who lives in the US obviously favors the promo page for US players. However if you live in a different country some of these online casinos also are available to you. I would suggest you just check their individual casino reviews where they list their restricted countries.

In another vein, I should also mention that Eric Lehman's poem Letter from a Patriot about the flaws of America is also germane to my country as well - Australia has a lot of uncomfortable truths in our past that need to be reckoned with.



2001 - 2002

All is not well?
All is not well.
All's well then,
Says the world.

--Thomas McGrath

Christopher Butters

For Phil Bonosky

When I listen to Coltrane
the brilliant riffs and changes,
the squawking of that sax,
the backbeat of the drums,
that back and forth between them
like a conversation
with all of us
in the darkness,
I don't just rejoice as I dance,
I think as I rejoice
this is it,
this is the heart and the grit,
this is surely the American
classical music,
the song of Naima
the breakthrough of Love Supreme,
though I don't know why
I think that,
whose fingers sailed
the scales of pianos
those Saturday mornings,
since I never did like
classical music.

When I see the workers march
across the bridge,
one foot in front of the other,
their banners against the rich,
after years of being exploited,
by the bosses
in factories and offices,
Black, white, Latino, Asian,
we're fired up
and won't take no more,
the energy of their fists
the rhythm of their drums,
I don't just chant
as I walk alongside them,
the song of truth
the song of justice,
I think as we walk
this is it,
this is the face of God,
the light, the spirit,
the rainbow as we march,
the one for all,
the all for one,
although I don't believe
in God.




Richard Kostelanetz

Being a good man, he has character enough to make enemies. So has Frank Harris. So have I.
-- George Bernard Shaw, advice to a Young Critic: Letters 1894-1928

First of all, my dear young person, you must take an MFA degree in poetry writing. Know that a BA won't be enough in poetry's increasingly competitive world; you must have "professional credentials" as well, just as lawyers must, especially if you want to get a job teaching poetry, even to prepubescent children.

Try to get into the Iowa Writing Program, because it is the oldest and still among the largest, with enough alumni respecting their "old school tie" to give you the practical equivalence of a Harvard MBA for working in international finance. Given roughly equal applicants for any writing job, most former Iowa MFAs involved in making a hiring decision in, say, academia or publishing will nearly always favor a supplicant advertising an Iowa degree. Should you be less fortunate and matriculate into another, less powerful MFA writing program, be sure to take classes with the most prominent poet on the staff. If this star be "on leave" for a year, as such stars are wont to be, wait for his or her return; be warned in advance that the name of any unknown instructor on your resumé simply won't be noticed. Once you receive your degree, you can answer "poet" whenever asked what it is you do in life.

Don't forget that poetry is far more competitive than business or law, superficial platitudes about the "community of poets" notwithstanding. Should you have a law degree, the odds that you might live off your receipts as a lawyer ten years from now are better than 50 per cent. Likewise if you have an MBA, even from a school less prominent than Harvard. Almost everyone with an M.D. will be employed forever in medicine. When you have an MFA in writing, the likelihood that you might in ten years earn your living from poetry or even the teaching of poetry is less than one per cent. The economic truth, obvious to everyone wise, is that any situation so competitive is necessarily more cutthroat. You must be no less ruthless than the most competitive turf warrior.

Dress like a poet. Advertise through your clothing and hair style, just as models (or streetwalkers) do, or else other poets will think you an apparatchik with pretensions. Have a veteran literary photographer take a picture of yourself looking earnest. No matter how much orthodontia you've had, don't smile at the camera. However, don't deceive yourself into thinking only these moves toward an appropriate appearance would be enough to establish your career.

Be sure to flatter famous poets whenever possible--send them appreciative letters, remind them that you've read not just their books but poems other than those titling their books (remembering that John F. Kennedy impressed Norman Mailer by citing not his most famous novel but Barbary Shore). Attend their poetry readings whenever possible, introduce yourself especially if you look sexually desirable, dedicate individual poems to them, and review favorably their latest books anywhere you can (because even the most prominent poets pay more attention to reviews than sales). You should learn to quickly and surely distinguish those prominent poets who are susceptible to copious butt-kissing from those who, alas, are not.

Attend a summertime "writers' conference," even after you've begun to publish, not only to meet aspiring colleagues whose friendship might later be useful but to impress the faculty. Isolated from their homes and families for a week or two, these senior poets become more personally accessible than they would normally be. To facilitate faculty-student contact, the conference organizers often sponsor social hours during which alcohol flows freely and everyone with a drink in his or her hand can be approached. Never forget that a poet drunk has fewer resistances than a poet sober.

Give as many public readings as possible of your own poetry; teach "poetry workshops." However, don't advance the careers of any of your students and particularly don't help them publish, because your superiors in the poetry biz will think less of you if you do. Never forget that poetry as an industry is not only highly competitive but very hierarchical--those positioned below you must be treated differently from those above. Your failure to observe this last rule can ruin your career.

Develop a professional tag based upon something exotic in your background as, say, a black Icelander, a one-sixteenth American Indian, a Sudanese lesbian, a veteran of Soviet jails, a deaf fashion model who was sexually abused. Write poems about your exotic experience, if not purportedly representative of other people like yourself. Portray the experience of your ancestors in familiar contemporary terms, regardless of whether they thought as you do. If you can get publishers and publicists to acknowledge your exotic tag, you'll be forever known as the umpty-ump poet, rather than a mere writer. The market value of such a tag, especially a currently fashionable tag, even if others have it, cannot be exaggerated, because it can be recalled where poems cannot.

Try to persuade the publisher of a literary magazine to let you select the poetry for its pages and, once you get such power, be sure to publish the work of other poets who double as poetry editors. They will then feel obliged to accept your own poems in return. Organize a series of poetry readings at your university or a nearby venue, such as a café or a literary bookstore that thinks it wants more customers than it would otherwise get. The poets invited to participate in your series will not only be impressed by your good taste, but they might later invite you to perform in their own reading series. Move to New York, San Francisco, or at worst Buffalo where you can make personal contact with "the main roosters and roostresses," as my colleague Bob Grumman calls them. Join poetry societies and clubs that bestow prestige, while avoiding those that don't--the easiest way to measure the former is the presence of people you feel are positioned above you. (Conversely, avoid those filled with people below you.) Make yourself conspicuous at poetry festivals and gatherings devoted to poetry; consider yourself successful when you're invited to work the other side of the dais.

In writing your own poetry, don't do anything too conspicuously alternative either in content or form, for your poetry will be judged "acceptable" only to the degree that it resembles what other people are doing. Don't express any sentiments that might be unacceptable to most poetry readers. Piously oppose war, rape, parental abuse, homelessness, AIDS neglect, etc.--be politically correct shamelessly, not only in your poems but whatever prose remarks you write to introduce your poems or yourself. Especially on the last count of political correctness, don't make Ezra Pound's mistake--your poems will disappear from public view unless they are great enough to overcome the obstacle you have needlessly placed in their path.

Avoid formal departures that would make anyone stop and wonder about what you might be doing technically. Poetry must look correct before it is read, especially by people in power, whose eyes instinctively turn away from anything that, as they say, "looks funny on the page." Do not confuse the values of poetry with visual art or even concert music, where ambitious aspirants know they won't get anyone's attention unless they do something uniquely different from their predecessors. Writing poetry with character or a stylistic signature, as the great early moderns did, is definitely old-fashioned; it's strictly for "wild men" nowadays.

Avoid activities that your colleagues might consider infra dig, such as working in advertising or finance, exhibiting your visual art, performing your music, or producing books about anything other than poetry. (Or should you need to do any of these ancillary things to make money, consider a pseudonym and don't let your poetry colleagues know.)

Even when you have enough good poems to make a book, do not self-publish. Sooner spend your money entering book contests, no matter if hundreds are applying for a single prize, for even if you don't succeed, older poets especially will think better of you for trying. Don't forget that the worse thing your superiors can say about you is that you're "no poet," which means not that you fail to publish poems but that you don't play your career by the standard rules.

Though measuring a poetic career is hard, consider yourself somewhat successful when you're asked to write blurbs for other poets' books (and expect favors in return), when you are asked by poetry editors to review new collections for their literary magazines, and when you are asked to judge contests to which entrants pay a fee (some of which money will be channeled to you). Consider yourself more successful when you receive a prize or grant for poetry writing.

The truth you can't forget is this: Because only small money, if any, can be made from publishing poetry per se, you must strive for power more than for the admiration of your colleagues or even a large readership. Only when you gain a position incorporating professional power will you ever earn a bourgeois salary as a "poet" and enough respect and leverage to get additional monetary rewards.

Do what I tell you, dear aspirant and you might even be rewarded with a university position in poetry, even though you've never published a poem that anyone especially likes or remembers.


A few of the THE POETS 2002

Mary Franke

Two days before Christmas
                    They throw a woman
                    with a newborn baby
                                                    on the street

                    It is freezing
                    the next week
                                        They throw out a drunk

                                    There on the curb
                                    He lies down on the couch
                                    and goes to sleep

                    Lafayette Shore
                                      BNB is
                    Building a
                                      on your bones


Diane Averill
From The News Hour

April is the month of apple blossoms and the resurrection of
human blindness. Wars bloom like there was no tomorrow.

A cult in Uganda discovered this
from unnamed sources.
A priest was found
with skeletons in his closet.
Children buried nearby are
not named Elian*, though they, too
were being taken care of by an old man,
were tucked under cover.
Gore did not take a stand
on this, and neither did Bush,
though each knows where Elian belongs.
They are in sympathy with
Florida's voters.

Ethnic hatreds in Bosnia changed course.
Now the river of blood flows the other way.
Our station will keep you current.
We'll be back after this message from
                                Death, now available in the new
                                childproof bottles.

Death, Inc. has been indited
for violating anti-trust laws,
but our interviewer said he
feels confident that these legal problems
will be resolved in his favor.
Hold on to that remote! We'll
be back soon.
                                The refugee look is in this season.
                                You can get yours at The Gap, or The Limited.

Now, back to Miami! The Cubans
there want to name the brand of water
frozen on the moon Elian.
Notice that boy! How his grief
props up his head with a closed fist.
See the Hummingbirds circle the boy's house,
seeking sweetness, staking out territory.
There have been many sightings.

Elian's father was an unopened letter
until the stellata tree erupted.
Then he arrived to claim
his part in the argument,
which is a tricky one.
It's like pushing through a wall of water.
The only way through is Death.
Back, after this short break--

We, here at the Mausoleum are happy!
Caring, well-trained personnel cater to our every need.
For only $2,000 a month you, the loving relatives, won't
need to worry. We have lots of company and a spectacular view
of Oaks Bottom Marsh. We watch the pairing of color and disguise;
those ducks. Why, the way green came on was so slow you probably
didn't see it, did you, honey?
But we did.

Elian is a stellata branch,
cut off at the root.
The vase seems funereal,
a prison full of tears.
Suspended there,
he's sure his mother will remember him.
No longer an innocent bud just beginning
to open, like lips seeking the breast,
he's been forced open to the world. He's way out,
so close to falling
a breath or two and he'll disappear.

And now a word from

                              Mausoleums are Magical!
                                Life's just an amusement park.
                                No, really, ashes can see better than most people.
                                Or haven't you noticed?

*Elian Gonzalez: a five year old Cuban boy who, after rescue from the sea, was made a political pawn.  



Winter, 2005

Three from H. L. Mencken...

(1) In all those parts of the Republic where Beelzebub is still real-for example, in the rural sections of the Middle West and everywhere in the South save a few walled towns-the evangelical sects plunge into an abyss of malignant imbecility, and declare a holy war upon every decency that civilized men cherish. They have thrown the New Testament overboard, and gone back to the Old, and particularly to the bloodiest parts of it.

(2) The most curious convention of the great age in which we live is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected. Its evil effects must be plain enough to everyone. All it accomplishes is (a) to throw a veil of sanctity about ideas that violate every intellectual decency, and (b) to make every theologian a sort of chartered libertine. No doubt it is mainly to blame for the appalling slowness with which really sound ideas make their way into the world. The minute a new one is launched, in whatever fields, some imbecile of a theologian is certain to fall upon it, seeking to put it down. The most effective way to defend it, of course, would be to fall upon the theologian, for the only really workable defense, in polemics as in war, is a vigorous offensive. But convention frowns upon that device as indecent, and so theologians continue their assault upon sense without much resistance, and the enlightenment is unpleasantly delayed.

(3) The iconoclast proves enough when he proves by his blasphemy that this or that idol is defectively convincing-that at least one visitor to the shrine is left full of doubts. The liberation of the human mind has been best furthered by gay fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe--that the god in the sanctuary was a fraud.

One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms.


2006 - 2007

New poems and prose from: Faris Badawi, Maggie Jaffe, Philip Dacey,  George Kalamaras, Arlene Ang, Tom Holmes, Marilyn Zuckerman, Iftekhar Sayeed, Robert Bohm, Anthony Seidman, David Pointer, Papa Osmubal, Patrick Stanhope, Joel Solonche, John Hunt, Foster Dickson, Hank Kalet, Eric Lehman, Jocko Benoit, Katie Antony, Kendall Dunkelberg, Kenneth Pobo, Jennifer VanBuren, John Bradley, Lynn Strongin, John Ronan, Patricia Smith Ranzoni, Tim Bellows, Sava Radakovich, Tony Zurlo, Robert Cooperman, Harris Gardner, Christopher Butters, Laura LeHew, Michael Henson, Rochelle Ratner, Amelia Raymond, Jill Garroway, Leonard Cirino, Beth Block, Gary Wilkens, Rosemarie Crisafi, Gary Lark, Jilly Dybka, James Grabill, Corey Habbas, Heather Van Doren, Joshua Pastor, Francis McConnel, Page Dougherty Delano, Jim Daniels, Gary Lehmann, Margaret Robinson, Jeff Jensen, and Donald Lev.

I dreamed

I dreamed of a light that kills:
there wasn't a sound from man.
A clinic of clouds appeared
and the moon dressed as a nurse.

Then, khaki colored leaves
fell from the public trees.
I saw that we'd all come
to the corner to say: Peace.

At last the generals
were beaten with ploughshares
and you and I became
two hammers with one blow that builds.

       —Bert Meyers

Eric Lehman   
Letter from a Patriot

Forget the third world miseries
the death our bombs bring daily
to babies, mothers, and shopkeepers
forget that America is word for hate
in ninety-seven separate languages
let's just look at our dark corners
the reservations dead with drunkards
the neighborhoods run by gangsters
the children of poverty missing
the politicians pissing
on our freedoms and our hopes
These are facts everyone could know
if only our schools taught us to read

This is a landscape filled with prisons
this is a system juiced with fear
this is a history built on exploitation
stamped with the seal of our indifference
bless its empty heart

So I'm telling you now
the corporations will own our children
our grandchildren will be fanatics
our great-grandchildren will wonder if America
wasn't just some made-up country
wasn't that collection of lies and wars
of racial genocides and injustices
our great-grandchildren will live somewhere else
on this same soiled scenery
and wonder if we thought ahead
wonder how we could stand idly by
the way we wonder about slavery and witch-burnings
our great-grandchildren will despise us
and rightly so


Bring Us Forth

O land of mother and father
                           Bring us forth!
Out of the seed sling
                                     cradle green
                                                             Bring us forth!
Turbulent prairie flower opened
                                  and we spring to light.
Space struck us out
                              broke us into speech.
Bell swung belled
                              flower out of stone,
Water from the rod
                              buds on the iron bough!

       —Meridel LeSueur
(from Rites of Ancient Ripening)


Robert Bohm 
Hymn to Beauty

The steelmills, closed.
The high school fullback plunges off tackle
across the goal line
into dogpiss-stained snow.

"A hysterectomy is no act of God, I can tell you that,"
Aunt Frieda informs her friend, Ethel Buchwald, in the bleachers.
Ethel doesn't care.
"Lookit that," she says, pointing at flecks
of dried cake mix under her fingernails.

A half hour later, score tied 7-7, a minute left to play.
Gray sky. A mush of snow and dirt. The home team, using
its last timeout, huddles.
The wind blows through the bleachers.
People stare at the field stoically.

"When Lennie was born I thought . . ."

On the other side of town, west of where the river
winds past the axle works, a trail leads
to Sakowski's back meadow
and the roofless farmhouse.

Birds chatter in snowy trees.

The bleachers, empty now.   



Fank Krasnowsky

Milkhomeh! Milkhomeh!

mil-khaw'-meh, Yid/Heb: War

Every morning he was there
the newsboy—
an aged man in his thirties,
born with the century—
pacing back and forth
as in a trench,
a rolled-up Examiner—
a carbine in his hand—
repeating and repeating,
over and over again,
"Hey! It won't be long now!"
"Hey! It won't be long now!"

It was his corner, Brooklyn and Soto.
They gave it to him
in exchange for a mind
left behind
in the War to End Wars.
Tailors, milliners, seamstresses, pressers,
catching the streetcar out of the ghetto
to workshops in town,
took a paper, paid a nickel,
looked down, or quickly looked away—
avoiding the sad, accusing eyes
that lived alone on an expressionless face.

"Hey! It won't be long now!"
had everything to do and little to do
with the news of the day.
But tailors, milliners, seamstresses, pressers
who donated husbands, fathers, children and lovers
to that Great War
remembered how they believed,
remembered how they sang
It'll soon be over when we're over, over there
bought a paper—and looked away.

they sought to waken the mind
of the unknown Jewish soldier.
Greeted him with a smile,
a hopeful "Sholem Aleichem"
"Where are you from?"
"How's your family?"
"What do they call you? —Yosl?"
mentioned a place, a person he might know,
an event, a yontev.
Desperately, even angrily,
as if by accident,
they pushed him or poked him.
Nothing helped.

One morning
a presser, a survivor,
whispered words he understood,
"Mil-kho-meh! Mil-kho-meh!"
A sad half smile broke the placid face.
And the old young man answered:
"It's a bluff!"

when he called out
"Hey! It won't be long now!"
people going to town from the ghetto
would buy a paper, and say
"Mil-kho-meh! Mil-kho-meh!"
The old young man would respond
"It's a bluff!"
And as they boarded the street car
the tailors, milliners, seamstresses and pressers
laughed .
mockingly, sadly, pensively, they laughed,
to remove the pain

Passing Brooklyn and Soto
on the way to school.
the new generation
watched the play,
joined the game,
taunted the newsboy.
Called as they walked by
"Mil-kho-meh! Mil kho-meh!"
And the old young man dutifully responded
"It's a bluff!"
The kids laughed.
Went off to school.
And the next war.



I can't tell you what art does and how it does it, but I know that art has often judged the judges, pleaded revenge to the innocent and shown to the future what the past has suffered, so that it has never been forgotten. I know too that the powerful fear art, whatever its form, when it does this, and that amongst the people such art sometimes runs like a rumour and a legend because it makes sense of what life's brutalities cannot, a sense that unites us, for it is inseparable from a justice at last. Art, when it functions like this, becomes a meeting-place of the invisible, the irreducible, the enduring, guts and honour.

      —John Berger from: Ways of Seeing



The Bloodletting, fiction by Cleo Fellers Kocol
Six Rounds on Midnight Shift, fiction by Tobin Terry
Three Short Works of Fiction, by Miguel Gardel                               
Ahmerica: An Interrogation in Two Acts and an Interlude by John Bradley                       
12 Dead, fiction by William Clunie
Trying Too Hard, fiction by Loretta Marie Long
The Lamb of Acuente fiction by William Clunie
A Conversation With Oregon Poet, Rob Whitbeck
Indian Givers, fiction by Jonathan Garfield
Charley Cord, fiction by Cleo Fellers Kocol
The Maintenance Man's Lament, fiction by Randy Lowens
Holding the Stakes, a prose sketch by Jared Carter
Dream Appalachia, fiction by Justin Taylor
Three Examples of Revolutionary Prose, by Tony Christini
From The Slightest Wings, fiction by Jeff Vande Zande
Headway, memoir by Bill Mohr
Class Acts, memoir by Mark Pawlak


Fresco: Departure For An Imperialist War

They stand there weeping in the stained daylight.
Nothing can stop them now from reaching the end of their     youth.

Somewhere the Mayor salutes a winning team.
Somewhere the diplomats kiss in the long corridors of     history.

Somewhere a politician is grafting a speech
On the green tree of American money.

Somewhere prayer; somewhere orders and paper.
Somewhere the poor are gathering illegal arms.

Meanwhile they are there on that very platform.
The train sails silently toward them out of American sleep,

And at last the two are arrived at the very point of     departure.
He goes toward death and she toward loneliness.

Weeping, their arms embrace the only country they love.

    —Thomas McGrath



Doren Robbins

Thomas McGrath as Contemporary Poet's Consciousness, Political Consciousness: Unwanted: Open All Night

Thinking of a tribute to Thomas McGrath, partly I started to consider what he was up against as a leftist radical and as an open form poet—"open form" in the sense that Whitman meant it when he spoke of his remarkable long poem, "Song of my Myself," as a "language experiment." And then what was Whitman up against that led him from his own radical irritability to make the condemnatory statement that the United States was "a nation of lunatics"? Whitman's nineteenth century society of African-American slaves, slave labor, unequal rights of women, decimated Indian populations, sexual intolerance for homosexuals and lesbians, Lincoln's assassination, the civil war with over one million casualties and over 600,000 dead, Southern plantation owners and big business food producers starving out the working people of the southern states right through the civil war, the majority of the soldiers coerced into fighting to protect entrenched plantation and business wealth (1). The robber barons that preceded the bailout barons. By McGrath's time, the "lunacy" translates into WWI (estimated 16 million dead, 21 million wounded); imprisonment under the Espionage Act of war resisters including WWI protester-socialist leader Eugene V. Debs and U.S. poet e.e. cummings; the murder, imprisonment, or exile of members of the most radical and socially conscious union in U.S. labor history—the Industrial Workers of the World, the Wobblies; WWII (estimated 72 million dead), the creation of the CIA, the Korean War, McCarthyism, Vietnam, the smaller undeclared global secret wars primarily in east Asia and Latin America.

Lunatics International, Inc.

What Whitman and McGrath were up against was historical circumstance and how to respond ethically, as poets; that is, not to deny these circumstances as inappropriate subject matter for poetry. McGrath had the capacious sensibility to make contemporary history inclusive in his poetry in a way that shames Ezra Pound's glib and at times libelous statement about his own long poem The Cantos as "a poem that includes history"—though McGrath, and I'm guessing many people in this audience, and probably the entire neighborhood I grew up in, would agree with Pound when he stated, "The real trouble with war (modern war) is that it gives no one a chance to kill the right people."

With the exception of "the hell Cantos," in most ways contrary to Pound, McGrath's poetry personally and crucially encompasses the historical realities of the period. His writing about the crude, the back-breaking, the exploitative in the alienating forms of labor—and the mystically initiating and communally enlivening experience of labor are written about from direct experience. He didn't write from a distance about his experience—he was frontal and plunging. In his essential message and lyrical outcry he is too proletarian for the comfortably genteel or any other genre of the genteel—yet the writing, with qualities of sound, diction, multiplicity of themes, and poetic design comparable to Whitman and Joyce—he could be thought of as too sophisticated for "the proletarian." The only irony I find in such a conclusion is not that a poet with a critical and compassionate grasp of the human condition is too demanding for certain readers, but the fact that it is the willful and outright failure of our education system, and the manipulative designers behind it, that prevent working-people/people in general from having the learning necessary, the vocabulary full enough, the curiosity about unknown words urgent enough, the mind free and critically absorbent enough not to find such poetry or any other worthy work of literature "too sophisticated," especially when it might inform readers about their false understanding of the educational and economic rut they find themselves in.

"The revolving graves and the grass pastures of the fined-down diamond- cutting sea" (LIF 9).
"Where a man chants like a bird in the brilliant boney/ Lightening of his tree" (42).
"From the Pentecostal cloud chambers of the sex-charged sea" (121).

Right off, there's an experience of distinct elegance in McGrath's language. He also had a remarkable ear for the American vernacular of his particular time, and his poems bristle and flow with obscenities; his vulgarities are not marginally acceptable "fleeting expletives," they are part of his precise uncensored directness, and like other masters of what we call "the whole lexicon"—Chaucer, Rabelais, Villon, Henry Miller, he had a knowing way of how to characterize through the use of obscenity; for example, in the following passage when, attempting as a young man to go to college, he meets with "some kind of dean," a man he refers to as a "chilly Lutheran Buddha," and, after realizing he won't be able to afford going to the school, he concludes that

                    Well, that's how that goes.
                                                              The bastard sat there
Like a man with a paper asshole, like a man
With his head under water, talking talking.
                                                                        At last his words
Said nothing but money money. A conversation
We could not enter.
"Somebody should set fire to the son of a bitch."
I hear Mac saying.
                                                                Seventeenth Street is jammed
With flags and seamen. May Day, '46.
"Somebody should tamp up on the hyperborean bugger!"
And my father says "The dirty muzzler!"
                                                      And the flags toss
As we go out in a storm that's ten years strong,
Where the freight cars rattle and the vigorous dead of the future
Ride reefers, preserved in invisible ice.
Dakota, Montana
                                                                         Blowing along the wind
Those dirty slogans
                                                                                             Alive. (LTF 33-34)

The confidence of those lines, when the language tools, the man, and the materials sing with bitter or gleeful accusation—fulfill the complete function of his speech, the whole lexicon, which for the hypocritical, that is, the mainstream, or not the mainstream but simply readers retardedly bored or worn-out too easily by the discipline it takes to understand the links a writer of McGrath's quality has made with Chaucer, Shakespeare, the Biblical Prophets, Marx, Whitman, Joyce, Miller, Traven—to come away free with a voice of his own. But he had the nerve to write this way, and his conviction to the way he expressed himself was natural and exuberant.

McGarth is known or, in some cases, branded hotly as a political poet. That's a true enough truism about his work, and I've touched on that subject here briefly. But there are, as we say, political poets and there are political poets. The playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht proclaimed that "complex seeing must be practiced" (99). In McGrath's complex vision there's an inter-related botanical, fraternal, domestic, communal complexity that is part of his lyrical fantasy and reality of a world relieved of the violent realism it occupies and destroys itself within. That is, there are rituals of vitality, marital and familial, and those also are contained in labor producing meaningful works. And there is of course, pleasure, not only artistic, not only erotic, not only through the joy of raising a child. During an informal interview at the end of Mike Hazard's and Paul Burtness's documentary, The Movie at the End of the World: Thomas McGrath—McGrath talks about the anger and invective he used throughout his poetry, that there was a satisfaction to expressing his rage against a violently alienating and corrupt system…but he would liked to have written more poems of praise, he said; he wasn't sentimental about it, there wasn't really a trace of self-pity about not having praised more often in his writing, he knew what he was about, he knew his temperament—and in his language of lucid anger, in a time diseased with radical timidity and suppression of civil liberties—he raised his voice.

It was a time, after all, when the source of praise was denied by the economic and military catastrophes of the twentieth century. But, whatever the ineluctable ruins awaiting McGrath's dynamic fantasy of a communal society, the regret McGrath expresses as the documentary ends is not only the regret that the world, the variety of corrupt states, religious institutions, corporations, and the military institutions and secret military institutions that protect them will not relent in our lifetimes—the regret reflected, in part, is how much it takes over a lifetime to actively respond to this malicious violence and willful injustice. And he speaks his response of regret with a tone of impacted understanding, a facial expression of severe tenderness, his face expresses a kind of bewilderment, because he knows he could've gone down in WWII, he wrote about Korea and Vietnam, he wrote about Auschwitz, he wrote about Chile and El Salvador, he wrote about U.S. workers killed in the labor wars, he knew the "otherwise" of others' lives. The regret is over the failure of civilized society—what the wars, the racism, the concentration camps, and World exploitation symbolize. That this reality and its symbolism, the source of his invective and his compassion, is the dominant theme of our time is what the regret is about.

The documentary, however, ends with a reading of the poem "Praises," which is a celebration of life and fertility, it is a poem in the company of Whitman's celebrations, particularly his poem "Infinite Buds," and Pablo Neruda' s celebrations in Odas Elementales (particularly several of them). In spite of the testifying social consciousness that substantiates the accountability of poets like Whitman, Neruda, and McGrath, they were also praisers of what actually and symbolically exists in the dynamic of botanical abundance (which reflects our emotional abundance), and the pleasure of observing the cycles of its sustenant creation (which correlates with our own varying interior cycles), and the pleasure of its lasting and complete sensory stimulation (which is the sanity of our gratitude):


The vegetables please us with their modes and virtues.
                                                                        The demure heart
Of lettuce inside its circular court, baroque ear
Of quiet under its rustling house of lace, pleases
           And behold the strength of the celery, its green Hispanic
¡Shout! Its explanatory confetti.
                                           And the analogue that is Onion:
Ptolemaic astronomy and tearful allegory, the Platonic circles
Of his inexhaustible soul!
                               O and the straightforwardness
In the labyrinth of Cabbage, the infallible rectitude of Homegrown     Mushroom
Under its cone of silence like a papal hat-
                                                    All these
Please us.
                 And the syllabus of corn,
                                                      that wampum,
                                                                         its golden
Roads leading out of the wigwams of its silky and youthful smoke;
The nobility of the dill, cool in its silence and cathedrals;
Tomatoes five-alarm fires in their musky barrios, peas
Asleep in their cartridge clips,
                                                            colonies of the imperial
Cauliflower, and Buddha-like seeds of the pepper
Turning their prayerwheels in the green gloom of their caves.
All these we praise: they please us all ways: these smallest virtues.
All these earth-given:
                               and the heaven-hung fruit also…
                                                                             As instance
Banana which continually makes angelic ears out of sour
Purses, or the winy abacus of the holy grape on its cross
Of alcohol, or the peach with its fur like a young girl's—
All these we praise: the winter in the flesh of the apple, and the sun
Domesticated under the orange's rind.
                                                              We praise
By the skin of our teeth, Persimmon, and Pawpaw's constant
Affair with gravity, and the proletariat of the pomegranate
Inside its leathery city.
                                 And let us praise all these
As they please us: skin, flesh, flower, and the flowering
Bones of their seeds: from which come orchards: bees: honey:
Flowers, love's language, love, heart's ease, poems, praise.

(1) See David Williams' Peoples' History of the Civil War with its documentation of elections fixed for secession not only to protect labor and sex slavery, but to maximize its exploitation of working-class and poor Southern whites.

                                                   Works Cited:

Brecht, Bertolt. The Threepenny Opera . In "Notes to The Threepenny      Opera." New York: Grove, 1964.
McGrath, Thomas. Letter to an Imaginary Friend, Part I and II. Chicago;      Swallow, 1970.
     —. The Movie at the End of the World. Swallow, 1972. "Praises"
The Movie at the End of the World. Dir. Mike Hazard and Paul Burtness.       The Center for International Education. 1990.


Pemmican FAQ

Why do an online magazine?
It's much cheaper.   At the beginning of the 1990's, when Pemmican began, the desktop publishing "revolution" drove printing costs down. It didn't take print shops long to recover, however, and prices have been steadily rising since the mid-90's.   Print shops, of course, feel that they have to raise prices because the price of paper, ink, labor, everything, has also gone up, and if they are to keep the same profit margins they have to pass these costs on. As an independent poetry magazine, Pemmican wanted to keep publishing the good work that was being largely ignored by the mainstream presses.   But, because of limited means, there came a point when the skyrocketing costs of print production could no longer be justified.   By bringing Pemmican to the Internet, costs are reduced to a more manageable level.   Going online is one way the independents will be able to continue to follow their visions. 

Is copyright the same for an online magazine as for a print magazine?
Copyright works the same in the cyber world as the print world. The problems and concerns of writers are addressed in the same manner. Questions of ownership, reprint rights, and so on, function in the same way. For more information, take a look at The Copyright Website .

Why did you edit my biographical note on the Contributor's Page?
When bios enter multi-paragraph status they usually get a trim. Touting one's literary accomplishments and tooting one's one horn is fine but sending one's Curriculum Vitae is a bit of overkill. We encourage poets to be tasteful and succinct in regards to their degrees, publication credits and awards. Also, poets should be prudent when it comes to including links. We suggest poets pick the most relevant link and leave any others for one's personal website or blog.

What does it mean that Pemmican has the copyright and I also have it? Does it mean that I need your permission to reprint something?
Pemmican does not retain the artist's copyright. Pemmican only asks for First North American Serial Rights. You do not need Pemmican's permission to reprint. (However, Pemmican does ask that poets who have work in Pemmican refrain from republishing that work for the first six months it is online.) Like many online magazines, a copyright statement is made on every page in order to establish two things: (1) a stated copyright for the artist or artists represented and (2) a stated copyright for the page itself, as in: the graphic content, programming, meta-tag content, domain name, etc., which is the intellectual property of Pemmican. If you don't make a statement on every page concerning your rights and the rights of the artists, you can be looked at as fair game by thieves who will lift your work right off the page. They might anyway but this gives you a legal precedent to take into court, should it come to that.

Pemmican says it requires accepted work to be in MS Word or Word Perfect format. But when I send an attachment, you say you are unable to open it. Can't I just send you the poem and have you type it in?
Sorry, but no. Because of the size of the magazine, volume of daily submissions, and level of correspondence, it is simply not possible for the editorial staff of Pemmican to transcribe accepted submissions. If we did that with every single thing accepted we would be here 28 hours a day. Pemmican is an online magazine, the primary contact point of which is email. Most print magazines require that poems be submitted typed or printed on 8 1/2 x 11 paper and sent in a standard envelope. Sending in origami folded poems hand written on ruled legal paper in tiny envelopes and expecting special treatment is not something most poets experienced in small press publication would consider acceptable--or sensible--practice. Online magazines have their formats as well. Pemmican requires that accepted work be in MS Word and that it be sent by attachment. Attachments are not hard. For those poets unfamiliar with how to do attachments, a modest amount of research via any search engine will tell you everything you need to know. Pemmican will be glad to be of help but poets are responsible for following the required format.

I sent an attachment but you say you are unable to open it. Why?
The most common reason is that, rather than the attachment being in MS Word (or some other familiar word processing software), the file type of the attachment is actually something else. For an attachment to be in MS Word, for example, the file must be saved in MS Word format. That is, the file extension must be .doc. Also, sometimes people turn off their file extensions--never a good idea. The upshot is that people think they are saving their poem as a Word document but it's possible they may not be. They'll never know unless they can see the file extension. If the file that your poem is in ends with .doc (as in: myPoem.doc), it is an MS Word document. However, just to reinterate, sending Pemmican an attachment for a file that we can't open isn't helping anyone. Insisting that we continue to try, or throwing your hands up helplessly and claiming the boon of being a cyber-klutz is likely to reduce your options of publishing online.

You accepted my poems--but I'm having a terrible time with attachments and just can't seem to get it. What can I do?
Having said all of the above, Pemmican recognizes that contributors to online magazines come from all skill levels. We will work with you and try to help. That requires patience and persistence. One of the more frustrating things is when we try to walk someone through a process and they simply will not listen or follow directions. Many poets these days teach in universities. People who are college professors often assign difficult and demanding research and analysis papers to their students. College professors ought to be able to figure out how to do attachments. Consider it a test.

Does Pemmican only publish political poetry?
No. Generally speaking, a good reading of any issue of Pemmican will yield a certain number of poems that would not be considered "political" in most senses of the term. Although submissions of political poetry is deeply encouraged, poetry of the imagination is also sought, including prose poems, short poems, erotic poems (but not pornographic poems), and poetry that might be thought of as experimental in nature. The proportions of political to non-political work in Pemmican will vary according to the kinds of poetry submitted during any selection period.

However, it should be pointed out that people who have not published work in Pemmican before should take the time to read the magazine, at least enough to get a sense of the kind of work Pemmican favors. Sadly, every year there are poets who are too busy with their poetic careers to bother with actually reading the magazines to which they submit work. Then, come publication time, they discover to their horror that--gasp!--they've fallen into a nest of commies, socialists, activists, discontents, malcontents and social protestors of all stripes. If you're not comfortable publishing in a magazine that leans heavily toward political poetry, then don't waste your time and ours.

How can I print a poem from this website?
Navigate to the poem you wish to print, select File, Print , and OK .

Does Pemmican publish books or chapbooks?
Pemmican is not publishing paper books or chapbooks at this time. Occasionally, by invitation, Pemmican will publish online chapbooks from poets who have a history of publishing in Pemmican.

Does Pemmican send out galley proofs?
Pemmican does not send out galley proofs.   Whether a poem is submitted via email or regular mail, poets are expected to send finished, proofread works and that it is the final version they want to see printed.

What happens when I discover a typo in my poem?
Typos can and do happen, regardless of everyone's best intentions. When people send email submissions, the poem is not keyed in but instead copied and pasted into an HTML page format. When poets discover typos in their work online, poets should contact Pemmican, politely make clear what needs to be changed, and the necessary corrections will be made. However, poets need to be sure that they have sent a clean, corrected and proofread copy, and that it is the final version they want to see printed. One poet accused the editorial staff of "errors" in his texts, of "putting things in" that weren't there, "taking things out" that were, and in general screwing his poems and bio up with clumsy abandon. When it was pointed out that the "errors" originated in his own texts, he further accused Pemmican of being "defensive". Egotistical and pugilistic poets unable to take responsibility for their own mistakes will be invited to try their social skills out on other magazines. It's best not to make every instance of a typo a High Noon issue where fingers of blame are drawn. It's in everyone's best interests to see a poem rendered as the artist intended it and by working together we can make sure that will happen.

I see that Pemmican doesn't maintain archives? Why not? Text code takes up very little room—virtually free on the web—and is very little trouble.
The person who asked this question was the web master for an online poetry website that had a total of two issues archived and they felt mighty proud of it. Pemmican's response? Wait until you've been around for 20 years. Then see how "very little trouble" it is.

Once upon a time, before Pemmican was hacked and so many files destroyed and lost, Pemmican did maintain archives. We had only been maintaining them for about three years but even at that point the archives had ballooned to immense proportions, far dwarfing any current issue. In ten years time any archive would be vast, to say the least. Yes, web space, especially for mostly unencumbered HTML files, is relatively low in cost--at least for now. But someone is going to have to maintain it and update it. Just imagine an archive consisting of hundreds of poets and thousands upon thousands of pages of poetry files. And relentlessly getting bigger all the time. It's just not a workable scenario for a political poetry magazine staffed mostly by one person and the occasional volunteer.

But if there are no archives then a work is gone forever once it has been removed from an active state. Most readers of online publications expect work to remain accessibly archived (unless the journal goes belly-up, which I trust will not happen here), and are certainly disappointed and confused if they bookmark a poem, or return to the site expecting to have the pleasure of re-reading it, only to find that it has disappeared. Purely from an author's point of view, there are times when publication credits, and the capability to validate them, become important. The publication of any works in your journal therefore becomes unverifiable. For other poets whose works are not archived, the temptation to present those works elsewhere as unpublished would be understandable.
Let's take this from the beginning. Pemmican's author agreement states that a work will be held online for a minimum of 6 months from the time of initial publication. At no point is the archiving of published work stated or implied.

All rights to any work published in Pemmican belong to the authors. Pemmican only asks that authors refrain from re-publishing the work in another magazine for the first 6 months it is contracted to be published as original work in Pemmican. After that time, authors are free (and encouraged) to pubish the work elsewhere—with the stipulation that Pemmican be credited as the source of original publication. All sorts of agreements exist out there but variations on this one are standard and common.

Pemmican can sympathize if authors are unable to secure further magazine or even book publication for their work after an initial publication with Pemmican. But once Pemmican has fulfiled the conditions of the contract we're not obligated to do anything further to assist the poet with keeping their work visible. Pemmican is not responsible for fulfilling expectations and assumptions based on promises we never made. Prior to the existence of the Internet, the "disappearance" of work was the fate of all small press literary magazine publication. Unless you had a collection of back issues, there were no "archives."

Now we come to the question of publication verification. Online magazines come and go without leaving so much as the ghost of an electron, let alone archives. How do you get verification under those circumstances? The same with paper magazines, hundreds of which every year pop up like mushrooms only to vanish without a trace—and some of them are very good. Under these conditions, obtaining ironclad publication verification will always be an elusive goal. Most of us are honest, though, and validation is, in my opinion, a non-problem in a world of poets and editors largely governed by trust. For instance, when it comes time to publish poems in a chapbook or book, if you say you published poem X in magazine Y, small press book publishers tend to take you at your word. Unless you're publishing with Harcourt or Random House, you're generally not expected to produce receipts. In my 30 years in small press poetry publications I've never, not once, seen this come up as an issue. I've never seen or heard of any small press poetry book publisher demand hard evidence of publication from a poet.

Lastly, authors who feel "the temptation to present those works elsewhere as unpublished" would be making an unfortunate decision. Doing so would be a violation of the publication agreement that the author accepted. Most editors don't care for that sort of thing for the simple reason that it shows a fundamental lack of respect for the magazines that go out of their way to keep poetry alive. These days the internet makes it relatively easy to find poetry which is passing itself off as previously unpublished. Dishonest practices have a way of catching up with reputations.

Who reads online magazines?
The same people who read print magazines (as long as they have PC's or Mac's).   In other words, the same people who always read and enjoy poetry. The average literary magazine in America is read by less than 500 people--with certain famous, though not necessarily exemplary, exceptions.   Online magazines could potentially boost a readership into the thousands worldwide.

How do you find online magazines?
One of the best ways to research a topic on the Internet is to use a search engine. is an example of a search engine commonly used.   Type in what you are looking for and it searches for everything in its range that may fit the description.   Try typing in "poetry" and you are likely to find hundreds of listings.

The Pemmican website looks odd in my browser window.
Although there might be any number of reasons why Pemmican might not look quite "right" in your browser window, there are three immediate candidates: the operating system (and the version) you are using; your monitor size (15", 17") and the setting of its screen resolution (800 x 600, for example); and the kind of browser you are using (Netscape, Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, etc.). Any or all of these can affect the way we "see" the Internet and its contents. Pemmican was designed using the Firefox and Google Chrome browsers.   Due to the number of browsers currently available, however, and the speed with which they are updated, it's simply not practical or possible on a limited budget to create a website that looks exactly the same in every browser window.  Advice; on operating systems is outside the scope of this reply, however it should be noted that Mac's and PC's have significant differences which can cause variations in how a website is perceived. Screen resolution, however, is something that can be adjusted for greater comfort and flexibility. For example, if you are using the Windows operating system, right-click on the desktop, go to Properties, and at the pop-up dialogue box labeled"Display Properties" select the Settings tab. Approximately halfway down, on the left side of the dialogue box, you will see an area marked Screen Resolution with a slider that allows you to adjust your screen resolution in increments. Try experimenting until you find a setting that's right for you.

Some magazines pay for poems. Why doesn't Pemmican?
The terms "poetry" and "money" rarely occur together in the same breath. Proportionately, very few literary magazines in the United States pay for poetry. For a magazine to pay a poet that magazine would have to have a budget which is generated either through being subsidized in some manner or making a profit. Nearly all poetry magazines in the U.S. do not make a profit. However, a significant fraction of them are subsidized by various universities and occasionally some of them will pay a poet a nominal fee for use of a poem. Needless to say, Pemmican isn't subsidized and doesn't make a profit. Most small press poetry magazines actually operate at a loss and such editorial staff as they have work as volunteers. If your goal is to make money from your writing, poetry ain't the way to go.

Can I submit a work-in-progress?
The answer to that depends. It depends on what kind of work it is and what the author means by in-progress.  Serializing a long poem-in-progress is more likely to be looked upon favorably--once again, depending on the nature of the poem and the degree to which the part being serialization is finished at the time of publication. When it comes to reviews, articles and shorter poems, however, Pemmican must reluctantly refuse.  If an author is in the process of writing a review, article or essay, or is contemplating the writing of one, an inquiry to Pemmican concerning interest would be the best approach and is strongly encouraged. Although Web-based magazines have the capacity to edit text and upload those edits to the Internet relatively rapidly, unfortunately it has had the end result of inviting authors to send one version after another of the work-in-progress. This is not good for two major reasons. First: revisions and updates increase the odds that a corrupted text will make it onto the Internet, which then causes anxious authors to send successive lists of corrections. Second: the editorial staff is forced to spend long and tedious hours combing the text, corrections in hand, becoming ever more cranky and resentful as our time is wasted. Therefore, authors are expected to send finished, proofread works and finished, proofread works only. It is not the job of Pemmican to endlessly chase spelling and grammatical errors caused by the author or burn the midnight oil in secretarial bondage patching in new and updated words, phrases and paragraphs here and there. Pemmican asks that writers be respectful of our time and energies. (Also, see the above questions on galley proofs and typos.)

Can I submit a poem that depends on unique formatting and fonts?
No. Each poem exists within Pemmican's page format. The fonts of that format are either Verdana or Times Roman. Verdana and Times Roman are perhaps not the most elegant of all fonts but they tend to be fonts that are found on the vast majority of home computers. One poet submitted a poem that mixed every conceivable font in the universe--and believed that gumbo of typography essential to the poem. Another poet insisted that his poem be published using some obscure font that evoked pirate writing of the 18th century. Not only that, he wanted a background image inserted that made the poem appear to be written on a scroll of parchment. These are extreme examples but they demonstrate that if every poem in the magazine were allowed to pursue its own unique formatting and font the result would soon be chaotic and the magazine would be unreadable. Good Web Design depends on consistency and readability. We are not saying that poems that use typographical effects are bad poems. Surrealism and Dadaism are two artistic movements of the 20th century that used layout, design, typography and fonts in marvelous and creative ways. Modern Graphic Design owes an enormous debt to the Bauhaus Group and Russian Constructivism. There are magazines that cater to typographical effects in poetry. But Pemmican isn't one of them. Work submitted to Pemmican is expected to fit into Pemmican's page format, not the other way around.

Some of my poems have long lines. Will that cause a problem within Pemmican's page format?
It's possible. We love poetry with long lines, beginning with Homer and ending with Thomas McGrath and Dan Raphael. But, within the context of Pemmican's page format, a very long line might get word-wrapped against the margin and the clippings sent to the next line as a stray word or phrase. We can, for instance, indent the stray word/s by 4 spaces. This is an old editorial trick that says, in effect, "these words actually belong to the line above." Lest potential contributors think this is some peculiarity of the Web, remember that print magazines have format limits, too. Each physical page is a kind of "container", of limited width and height. A great many print magazines have a difficult time accomodating long lined poems and often simply refuse to take them regardless of their merits. We ask the authors of long lined works to understand that any page, physical or virtual, has its limitations. Pemmican will work with poets to find a satisfactory solution to any problems of line length. But if a poet really cannot bear to see the length of any lines altered in any way, it probably wouldn't be a good idea to send that poem to Pemmican.

I sent you a political poem. I thought it was good. Why didn't you take it?
The question of why do editors take what they take can be one of the thorniest questions of all. Pemmican is indeed a website friendly to political poetry. Political as in: starting with left-of-center and working leftward. So it's possible that the poem was not of our political persuasion. Right wing "poetry" (an oxymoron if there ever was one), like most fascist art, consists mainly of flag-waving, boot-polishing and saluting, and will be kicked out the door or given a fast track to the shredder. More often, however, the answer is that, although the poem as a political statement works just fine, it needs more revision to be effective as a poem. We see a lot of work that is a paste-up collection of flat statements concerning topical affairs. If we are going to write political poetry, we need to offer readers something they can't get by reading an article or an essay or a blog. A good political poem must first succeed as a poem. But don't be discouraged. Some people send a lot of work here before clicking with something. If you think this is your kind of magazine and you belong in it, just keep knocking on our door with work. Also, get together a poetry group, take a poetry class, learn everything you can about the craft of poetry.

It was my understanding that Pemmican was going to publish my story/ poem/ essay/ review this Summer/ Spring/ Fall/ Winter. I can't find it at the website. Where is it? Did you decide not to use it?
If your work was accepted, Pemmican has every intention of publishing your work. It's true, there are magazines out there which drop people's work without telling them. Pemmican is not one of them. As sometimes publishing writers ourselves, the editors have far too much sympathy with and respect for writers to dump them or bump them without a word. But it's important for potential contributors to understand at least some of the differences between print magazines and online magazines. With a print magazine, if you were promised a Winter publication and the Winter issue appears and you're not in it—that's it. There's no going back to the printer with a do-over. The very nature of online magazines, however, allows Pemmican to be fluid in terms of how work is accepted and presented. That fluidity is exactly what characterizes the major difference between a print magazine and an online one. We feel that this fluidity, which allows us to phase work in over time, is the system that allows us to continue publishing Pemmican—and keep our day jobs.

Occasionally there are confusions or misunderstandings about when, exactly, a contributor's work is to appear. Polite inquiries concerning the appearance date of one's work are, of course, welcome. The editors of Pemmican will do our best to answer questions and clarify matters to every contributor's satisfaction.

Having said that, we also need to say this: at the beginning of every "issue", Pemmican receives a number of emails from contributors who went to the site and since they didn't find their work immediately want answers chop-chop. Aside from (or in addition to) the "phasing in" of work outlined above, we do our best to get things out in as timely a manner as possible. But this isn't Time or Newsweek, or even Poetry or American Poetry Review--in other words: magazines with budgets, paid staff positions and strict deadlines. This is not a business site, with strict contractual obligations and money changing hands. Pemmican is an online politically oriented literary magazine with a minuscule staff of volunteers and organized by mostly one person. Pemmican is our hobby, our passion, even our mission-but not our job. We ask contributors to exercise patience and perspective and not stand there tapping a stopwatch demanding to know where their work is the second the next issue goes online. Very little good will come of that. Again, if your work was accepted, it will be published. Give it time. However, for those writers who feel that Pemmican has failed to honor some ironbound deadline, real or imaginary, and is thus deserving of lectures and abuse, it is recommended that in the future those writers find themselves another magazine which will more fully satisfy their need for rigid deadlines.