With our tenth publication, the Make Believe issue, we reached our fifth year. Before the launch of the eleventh, the landmark Social Justice issue, we’re pausing to look at what we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going. One of our founders, Brendan Donegan, has written an essay on the origin of our name. Here, we consider the people behind that name…
When I needed a few words on who we are these days, I naturally turned to Michael J. Clark, former Baltimore Sun reporter, one of the LPR founders and one of our current publishers. Mike, naturally, responded by basically writing about everyone but himself.
In the interest of honest reporting, I must mention that without Mike’s steady hand guiding us, we could never have arrived where we are today. And thoroughly enjoyed the trip as well. Mike is one of those rare individuals who remembers those two important words: thank you.
Now, here’s what Mike has to say about the publication and about us:
LPR has been motivated from the beginning by a love for what we do. I often hear LPR compared to a family or a collective. We constantly strive to step beyond the edge of our ignorance and open the door to talented folks interested in extending the value of good poetry, prose and visual art to our community, the Baltimore-Washington area, the mid-Atlantic region and–ultimately–who knows where.
For the past year, our editor has been Laura Shovan. An award-winning poet, Laura strengthens the fabric of LPR with her common sense, gift for the right word and thoughtful leadership. The issue now in production, Social Justice, is guest-edited by poet Truth Thomas. Through occasional guest editors, we open up LPR to new readers, writers and artists. Despite the collective wisdom that goes into our publication, the editor remains the captain of this ship, responsible for getting the crew and publication safely to shore, when all is said and done.
Laura has lots of help from Fiction Editor Jen Grow and Design Editors Stephanie Lemghari, who alas will be leaving us, and Deb Dulin, who fortunately will take her place. The design editors are expanding the size of the print publication and will introduce innovations in upcoming issues. Laura has encouraged Michael Salcman, Baltimore neurosurgeon, poet and past President of the Contemporary Museum, to advise on art. His selection of modern pieces for inclusion in the journal, combined with his commentary, gives LPR a new vision of what art can be.
Tim Singleton, haiku poet and all-around good guy whose sensibility is uncanny, is co-publisher. He has ties to the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society (HoCoPoLitso), as does Contributing Editor Susan Thornton Hobby. Susan’s interviews give our readers first-hand access to the thoughts of some of the nation’s best poets and writers.
The website LPR presents to the world is spawned in the lively brain of Ilse Munro, who pushes us to move ahead on many fronts while overseeing a thoughtful series of blog posts about literature and art. She brings a powerful presence to our work.
All told, over a score of us bring our gifts to the journal. That includes Nancy Berla, who coordinates our grant proposal writing, Kathy Larson, who oversees financial matters, Dan Pendick, who offers us his expertise in multimedia, and Patricia Jakovich VanAmburg, who will take the lead in our educational outreach efforts this coming summer.
At the first planning retreat we held this past summer, it was good to see that we had grown. Not only had we added the aforementioned Deb Dulin but also Lynn Weber, who is helping with the production of the print journal, and Eva Quintos Tennant, who has taken on the demanding role of communications coordinator. More recently, Valerie Saint-Amand has brought a youthful perspective to our seasoned crew.
As co-publisher, Mike Clark–no relation to the first LPR editor–is a former crusty news reporter who has age on his side.
In the end, it gets back to sharing the love of what we do. When folks get upset with each other, we remind ourselves that we all share the same abiding desire to turn out a damn good literary and arts journal. That committed collective feeling is reflected in how open we are as we sit around a room and talk about putting together a publication that spreads the love of literature and art to an ever-expanding audience.
Our thanks to the organizations that have awarded us the grants we need to publish LPR. These include The Horizon Foundation, the Columbia Foundation, the Howard County Arts Council, the Howard County government, the Rouse Company Foundation, the Maryland State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The first nine LPR issues were generated under the skillful editorship of Michael R. Clark. Many of those were produced online with Michael located in Singapore, where he serves as Chair of the High School English Department at the Singapore American School. In the next installment of “LPR at Five,” this Michael Clark will share his experiences from the early days of our journal.