We But We But And: The Future of ChainLinks
We came up with the idea for Chain magazine in 1994.
We were dedicated to publishing as wide a variety of work as possible around particular questions of form.
We were convinced that the relations between forms and contents were essentially political.
We were always delighted by the cross-conversations that occurred between disciplines in Chain's pages (usually 300 pages per issue!).
We dedicated ourselves to the Chain project for twelve years (editing, fundraising, grantwriting, typesetting, distributing) until it became logistically impossible for us to continue.
We realized we couldn't publish an annual issue of Chain and still have jobs and families and meet friends for drinks.
But we still had a little money.
But we still wanted to work together.
But we were still committed to the ideas that started Chain in the first place.
But we were interested in what would happen if we pushed the project a bit further: if we pushed the demands of interdisciplinarity, if we pushed the questions of the political, if we gave more space for in-depth explorations, for deeper conversations, for work that didn't fit comfortably in genre categories.
We wanted to create a space for projects that might not otherwise be published because of how they didn't fit or because of how they wouldn't make money.
We wanted to see what would happen if we moved further away from poetry, but with the convictions of poetry.
We knew that we had a lot to learn from those moments when poetry hits up against other media.
We asked other people to edit small books, so we could shamelessly suck up their knowledges with hope that these other ways of knowing would reveal to us where poetry needed to go.
We have published 5 books so far, with 3 more in the pipeline. Their topics move from public sidewalks to refugee camps to protest movements.
We think the project is just beginning to build momentum, just beginning to find its audience.
But we are running out of money.
But we are giving too many of these books away in order to build readership.
But we are not pricing the books to break even.
But for every four books we publish, we earn enough money to publish one more.
And this is the part where we confess that we love the books.
And we'd love to keep going with them.
And we've gotten some great proposals for new ones in the last few weeks.
And we'd like to justify using both the environmental and the emotional resources needed to make them.
And we'd like you to consider buying them through Small Press Distribution (www.spdbooks.org).
And we'd like you to read them and let us know what you think of them.
And we'd like the teachers reading this to assign them to their classes (they could easily fit into composition or creative writing classes).
When you tend to sell about 100 copies of a book, an order of 25 can make a huge difference!
And we'd like to offer a new patronage opportunity: If you are willing to be a friend of ChainLinks, for a $300 donation to the 501(c)3 'A 'A Arts (possible tax deduction!), we will send you all the books we've published so far and all the books we are going to publish under this imprint.
Until the end of time.