The Future of the Pittsburgh Poetry Review

Three years ago, four friends got together and laid the groundwork for a new print journal to be called the Pittsburgh Poetry Review. We’re extremely proud of the six issues we have produced. We’ve been able to showcase work from Pittsburgh area writers, as well as from across the country, and the world, publishing a very diverse group of artists.

We went into this with no publishing experience, but with the counsel of some good friends who did, and decided to push ahead, learning the business as we went along. We decided early on that our only financial goal was to break even. What we learned is that the print marketplace is extremely crowded with many, many great journals, a large percentage of which rely on grants and institutional support to survive. We believed we could build a subscriber base sufficient to meet those goals, but we were wrong. Between the vast number of print choices, and free content available through many fine online journals, it has become clear that we are not going to get there.

So, it is with a heavy heart, but optimism for the future, that we are announcing that the Fall 2017 issue, PPR #6, will be our last print edition. The good news is, we’re not going away! Starting with PPR #7, scheduled for publication in the spring, we will transition to an online format. Our intent is to publish quarterly, with about 20 or so poems per issue. And, with the elimination of printing and mailing costs, we will be able to use the revenue we do generate through tip jars, donations, and other sources to do something we have wanted to do from the start; pay our contributors.

Let’s face it, none of us got into the “po biz” because that’s where the big money is. We did (and still do) for the love of the art. That being said, it seems like Poetry is the only field where the artists are routinely expected to give their work away for free, or for a contributor’s copy. We know we’re far from the first journal to offer payment, but we are looking forward to becoming among the ones that do.

Beginning with PPR #7, we will be paying our contributors $25 per poem. Frankly, we think this should be more, and if our revenue stream from donations, etc. increases, we will. But this is an amount we think we can sustain, and seems like a good place to start.

So, we’re thinking of this not as an ending, but a new beginning, and we hope you will, too. Thanks to all of you for your past support for PPR, and we hope you’ll stay with is for what we hope will be many, many online issues to come!

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