GOOD-BYE TO HUGO HOUSE
by Phoebe Bosche
“I love this horrible place. It reminds me of what
I wanted to become,” says the great English
Leslie Phillips, to fellow aging actor Peter O’Toole, in the film Venus.
Having worked on this here literary magazine for the past sixteen years,
this remark hits home. Thrills and chills, kids, thrills and chills.
If you care about each comma, period, space (justified and not so) in the
pages you publish, if proofreaders matter, if words matter, and typos make you cringe,
then putting out a literary magazine two or three times a year is a (largely unpaid) rewarding career.
This year, many paths merged into one, seeming to point in only one direction: time to say goodnight
and maybe put the print edition of Raven to bed. On May 14, 2007, the new U.S. postal rates went into effect,
meaning, for us, a 200+% raise in the cost of sending magazines bulk mail to subscribers and contributors.
Then the inevitable happened, vis a vis office space. We’ve been grateful to Hugo House for providing reasonably
priced office space to a few non-profit literary organizations (and in the beginning, community organizations),
like Raven. We’ve been at HH since the beginning, 1997: ten always-changing years. Now, HH wants to change direction
and offer office space to resident theater groups, so we have to vacate the premises by the end of 2007.
Thankfully, there are always motivated writers and lovers of language ready to take up where others left off,
and many new magazines (like Cranky) have sprouted in the Northwest in the past few years. So Raven’s possible passage
from the scene will be but bittersweet.
Since 1991, Raven has published a remarkable array and number (hundreds) of writers and artists. Keeping with our
original mandate of “promoting work which documents the profound contribution of art and literature created at the
community level,” that meant publishing many fine local writers, first-in-print as well as established authors
(and national ones as well), who were experimenting with linguistic forms, and at the same time, telling a good story.
Storytelling being to us the highest calling for a writer. For we are the ones who are passing down our contemporary
stories to future generations.
As for this issue, my greatest thanks to the folks who worked hard to make it come into being: Elizabeth Myhr,
Jeannine Hall Gailey, Athena Stevens, Sarah Broudy, and Catherine Spangler.
In these pages we’re happy to print a second excerpt from Polly Buckingham’s Northwest-flavored ms., “Long White Robe.”
She captures the parts of our grey and green territory that have not changed with the growth of condos and imported capital.
Ms. Gailey chose a flavorful menu of food-related poems and prose for your tasting; she is also responsible for all the
whimsical poems in this issue. If Jeff Crandall’s “Satan Escapes From Hell” doesn’t make you at least chuckle, ah,
I expect your whimsy-bone is atrophied. Probably too much FOX TV, or some such pain-killer.
Ms. Myhr has been quietly building a selection of poets and prose writers on Raven’s online Nature Writing
(“Shining Horns”) section, and herein she presents the work of writers Derek Sheffield, Bill Yake, and (one of our senior
and most-respected nature poets) John Haines.
Our next, and perhaps lastish issue, 13, No. 2, takes on the theme “Citizen, Subject and Slave.” In its many ramifications,
we liked what Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter had to say about citizenship:
“I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination,
as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all….”
In an unuttered prayer, with each issue, we tried, “in all our works, begun, continued, and ended,” to give pleasure
and comfort, to you, our readers.
Raven Editor, co-Publisher