Saturday, July 25, 2009

Feature: Stephan Anstey Day 6

Stephan, thanks so much for being our feature this past week! You are truly an inspiration. Your imagination, passion for poetry and your desire to bring poetry into the mainstream is admirable and amazing! It is very clear how much you care about the writer behind the words as well. I am honored to know you and to be able to support you and your site here at *Mnemosyne*.

I have long admired the poets at Shakespeare's Monkeys and know that anyone who appreciates excellent poetry will especially want to buy your magazines and your chapbook.

Poet’s everywhere will want to submit to Shakespeare’s Monkey Revue and participate in the Shakespeare's Monkeys Website after reading about it below.

**** **** **** **** ****

How did it get started?

I have spent years writing, and wanting to give back. I always wanted to be part of the path back to prominence for great poetry. I don't know if that's a realistic goal, but I do know that unless people have venues to share their work, people who are willing to promote the works of others beyond themselves, and people who demand higher quality - then poetry is fated to always be the bastard step-child in the literary world.

So, rather than whine about that, I had run a poetry community called Poetry DMV for a while, and while it was fun, it wasn't really what I wanted to do. I love the tactile nature of a print magazine. So, when I shut down DMV in November 2006, I took it as an opportunity to make my dream come true. I woke up one morning in January 2007 and said to my wife, "I'm starting a magazine."

It was that simple. The first issue came out in June.

What was your inspiration?

My inspiration for the title was the old adage, "If you have infinite monkeys at infinite typewriters and infinite time, eventually the works of Shakespeare will ensue." I loved that image. The more I thought about it, the more I realized - we have infinite monkeys, and these keyboards are infinite, and there is no limit to our time. But that isn't the epiphany, the real moment for me was when I realized, the proof of this theorem is that we are the monkeys.. and Shakespeare DID ensue.

Now, this matters. Greatness will happen, because it has already happened. It is in us, and that idea of greatness, of something sublime, timeless, inspiring and human - the quest for that is what the magazine is all about.

Who was involved in helping you make Shakespeare's Monkeys great and what makes the magazine great in your opinion?

To start, Tracey Paradiso, Julie Cook, Leanne Hanson and Jim Benz jumped in and helped me create the first issue. Very quickly after Fred Meldon joined on. We immediately realized we were lacking, and the most important moment for the magazine happened at issue #2 when we brought Laurie Blum into the fold. Laurie started organizing all the processes and submissions and really pushing us all to get things done. She is the motivating factor that makes everything work. As we continue to grow we realized we need more help, and so recently Ruth Eliot, Laura Doom, Joe Reppucci & Brent Fisk have joined on. The thing that helps make things great are the great people.

What value do you think it gives to poets looking for a creative outlet?

The magazine gives quality writers, at any point in their writing journey, a place to get work published that might not otherwise have a home. As we've grown, we've made a commitment to pay the writers, for their work. This is nominal, but it is our recognition that poetry has value. That the work of writers deserves to be paid for.

What about the site?

Well, right now the site is a bit clunky and difficult, but it does have a lot of great people. I've been playing with redesigns and such, but the key is this, the site is loaded with wonderful writers. The advice found there is invaluable, and it offers a place where all the editors can really chat with folks trying to get published. That interaction really is great for both the editors and the community. Additionally, the friendships that get made on the site are real, deep and meaningful - all things necessary for a writer to better understand and express the human condition in their writing.

Everything can be found here (including my chapbook!)


  1. i did the 100 monkeys in a room poem let me find it i want to send it to you LATER what a great idea for Shakespeare

  2. its a wonderful site and a wonderful magazine with really great people that are helping to make it possible. Thank you Stephan and his staff. I have enjoyed the past issues and look forward to the next one!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I completely agree Colleen! Thanks for stopping in to comment!