Two Things PRISM

My term as poetry editor at PRISM international ended back in May, but two major projects I was involved in getting started only came to fruition in the last few months.

Project #1: Back Issue Digitization

PRISM: July 1984
Starting last Spring, PRISM digitized all of its back issues (since 1959!). This was done in collaboration with UBC's Digitization Centre, and with a grant from the BC Arts Council. The site the Digitization Centre put together to display the back issues is really impressive and can be viewed here.

In it you can find all sorts of goodies, including Robyn Sarah's first ever published poems and PRISM's nifty African-themed issue from 1984, which features writing from Kofi Awoonor, George Elliott Clarke, Dionne Brand and - somewhat inexplicably - Wisława Szymborska.

Those "discoveries" of mine barely even scratch the surface, of course - give it a go testing out search words and see what you come up with. I know they're first one you'll try, so I'll just let you know now: "fuck" has been written in 127 issues of PRISM, "poop" in only five (and twice each in 2001 and 2004, which makes me wonder about those editors).

Project #2: Reviews Editor

Anita Bedell, PRISM Reviews Editor
When I started my term at PRISM, one of my main goals was to enhance PRISM's online reviews and interviews. In partnership with Prose Editor Nicole Boyce, Promotions/Web Editor Clara Kumagai and an incredible team of Editorial Board members, in 2014-15 we managed to more than double the number of reviews and interviews on the site compared to the previous year. Editing and posting all that content, however, nearly permanently dried out Clara's strained eyes, so we built a plan for a Reviews Editor into PRISM's grant proposals for the Canada Council and the BC Arts Council.

In October, PRISM announced the hiring of its first Reviews Editor, Anita Bedell. You can read an interview with Anita here. Anita has been doing great work thus far, and more reviews and interviews keep appearing every week.

If you have a book coming out soon, be sure to send a copy PRISM's way. Chances are still slim that you'll get coverage (fun fact: Canadian publishers produce an absurd number of books every year), but how many other magazines can say they have a *paid* reviews editor on the receiving end trying to make something happen for your book?

In conclusion: good things are happening at PRISM these days. If you haven't taken a look in a while, check it out!

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