|Friends of Newport Station/Wikimedia|
Inspired by an AWP panel where VIDA founders suggested that women should create more literary spaces for themselves, I started a little poetry journal called West Trestle Review. The idea is that it will be a bridge connecting women to each other, connecting poetry by women in California and Nevada to the rest of the world via this useful interweb thingy, and it will connect the digital to the letterpress.
WTR will feature one new poet on its website each week, and at the end of the year twelve best of the best poems will be published in one unique, hand bound, letterpress-printed chapbook, created with the help of Meridian Press. Once the chapbook hits the streets, we'll have some poetry readings up and down the two states.
Why West Trestle, you ask? I'm in California, as is two-thirds of my advisory board-- Annie Stenzel and Jennifer K. Sweeney-- while Katherine Case calls Nevada her home. I love the idea of building a literary bridges. I love the word "trestle" and the other words it conjures: bustle, truss, trust, tussle, and their various meanings and connotations. I also live near a train trestle that I think of as the gateway to my little town in the foothills of Northern California, so I carry the idea of trestle as gateway.
I grew up in this town but didn't really think of it as home until, while I was living in Massachusetts, my mom sent a photo she took of the train trestle as she was driving by, and the homesickness welled up. Now I'm home at last and able to settle in to doing something I've wanted to do for a long time: promote women's poetry.
Finally, in 2011 women made up just slightly more that 23 percent of the transportation labor force in the U.S., according to Progressive Railroading, a statistic that is reflective of so many industries in our fair country. In fact, 23 is almost exactly the percentage of women who graced McSweeney's pages in 2013, according to the VIDA count.
It's time for women to get out of the little red literary caboose. So, what are you waiting for? Submit your stuff already. First stop: West Trestle Review. Next Stop: The New Yorker!
(Also, find us @westtrestle if you tweet.)