Just got this email from Liz Bradfield from Broadsided Press. Recently Liz wrote an article for the AQR about Nicelle Davis and I. As many of you are aware Liz is responsible for my teaming up with Nicelle. We are just about to publish our 3rd book, In The Circus Of You. Aside from books we have gone on to create motion poetry, Circe, Becoming Judas and In The Circus Of You. Becoming Judas and In The Circus Of you have both been selected for the Zebra Poetry Film Festival, 2012 and 2014. Not to mention the countless other poetry film festivals we were chosen for. Also a special thanks to Swoon, Erica Goss, El Alph, Alastair Cook along with all the others who included our work in their books, interviews and festivals.
Now I’ll get to the point: AQR is in trouble.
It is one if not the most important literary magazines. Now The University Of Alaska has slated AQR to become that part of history no one wants to face…EXTINCTION!!!!!!!! I work for a university and why decisions are made concerning the demise of important venues, boggles my mind. Sometimes it’s political. A new person comes in and wants to shake things up. They fail to see the importance of periodicals and programs so they do away with them. We are always battling someone or something in the name of change. What the decision makers fail to realize is that when you remove such venues as the AQR, you contribute to the dumbing down process. Just because we “teach to the test” doesn’t mean you should remove the information that is available in order to pass the “test”.
My conclusion to why this sort of thing is happening (and it is not only Alaska, it’s across the board), aside from short-sidedness, is because the university wants to compete with ivy-league. May I remind them that if this is indeed their intention, they are going in the wrong direction. If I were a student and wanted to go to an ivy-league, I would apply to an ivy-league. If I could not get in, my second choice would be to look towards a school that carried some prestige. One that publishes a quarterly that is world renown.
Here’s an article about this in the Alaska Dispatch News (the main Anchorage paper): http://www.adn.com/article/20140811/uaa-prioritization-conclusions-more-money-arts-languages-humanities
Dare I compare this to shutting down the New York Times because there are those out there who don’t read it? BTW, their stocks are still doing well on the market.
Again, I think academia is going through another trend of cutting the arts. But when you cut the arts, you cut culture and this is how we measure history. Art is the benchmark and always has been. When students study they read classics to get a hold of why certain things happen and what life was like before, during and after they were born. They can apply this knowledge to their chosen fields.
All I can say is shame on all those decision makers for being so short sided. Perhaps if more money and attention was given to the arts, the US would rank higher in education.