Saturday, April 26, 2014


The approach to the Third CLOUDBURST COUNCIL is well underway. The Journey, Pilgrimage, Passage  has begun and the remaining questions about arrivals and wayward wanderings  are tales to be first experienced and then told. Each Pilgrim’s flag will make its way up the driveway hill and will be placed
in a gathering of colors and symbols, collective memory on a common breeze. 

Now, let me get this metaphor out of the way before I trip over it. I have been involved in small press publishing for many years and as part of that, what I am doing now with that experience is advising new people who want to start a print publication. One of the things I tell them is that most new publications die after the third issue.  The fourth issue is the most difficult one to produce. If you can get past that fourth time out, chances are you will be set-up for a nice long run (guess that means you’ll be hearing from this metaphor next year as well! I am already getting my back up thinking… “There will be a Fourth CLOUDBURST!”)

So my metaphor  for this year’s  CLOUDBURST COUNCIL is it is like the third issue of a small press magazine. The First Issue is a burst of pent up energy and ideas. Stuff that has been collecting for awhile and people who grasp the partly formulated vision pushing this urge to get the work out there.Any thoughts of the future are wildly optimistic and resources have been gathered for awhile so there is no thought of them running out. The Second Issue rides the energy of the First. Not everything saved up for it was used in the First Issue so that must be used in the Second and the beginning of recognition and feedback can start to be incorporated. Many of those in the First are also found in the Second and there are some new people. At this place probably the new people seen as fitting in with the original vision. Resources are still available and there are some cost improvements just because of knowing what is involved and how better to share the work.

The Third Issue is both a transition and a continuation. This was helpful to me for increasing my understanding of the process of organizing this year’s CLOUDBURST COUNCIL.  At the Third Issue
the original birth energy has been largely used up. What propels the work at this point is self-referential, the beginning of a life of its own. Not all the original people and pieces are still in place. Along with a sense of lost, there is interest and there must be growth (in the form of new people and people enthusiastic as participants). How strong the Third Issue is tells a lot of the future of the publication.

Coming back out of my metaphor, the upcoming Third CLOUDBURST COUNCIL is one that will bring together a grand collection of poets.  The opportunity of getting together for a third year is the chance to meet with friends, share our work and celebrate.  I look forward to discussing with poets the tides and times of the past year as well as having fun and learning a lot.

                                                             --Alan Casline

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