Friday, July 12, 2013

P&PC at Five Years Old

There are streamers hanging from the walls, and silver helium balloons are floating around the P&PC Office today. The interns have their glittery, pointy birthday hats on, the entire P&PC Board of Directors is on hand strutting around with their hands in their vests like they've been the ones to make it all happen, and folks whose jobs have been outsourced or who have otherwise moved on to bigger and better things have come back to town. There's Polly the Paper Shredder. And there's Carl the Copy Guy. And is that really Sally the Stenographer? We love the new look. 

Today, P&PC turns five years old.

Who would've thought, back in 2008 when P&PC started up in Iowa City, that—more than 300 postings later—we'd still be around in 2013? That we'd bring on interns and a bunch of puffed-up suits to serve as our Board of Directors? That we'd move home offices from Iowa to Oregon? That more than 142,000 unique visitors would have found us on the inter-webs? That our most popular postings would be about zombie haiku and the poetry of G.I. Jane, The Expendables, The Grey, geocaching, and Craigslist. Back then, we were "just a blog"; today, doing pretty much the same thing we were doing five years ago, we are sometimes cited as an example of "digital humanities" in action. We've gotten shout outs in dissertations and the London Review of Books. We've been approached by fans at conferences. And we've reminded people that Everyday Reading: Poetry and Popular Culture in Modern America is available for 30% off the cover price if you use the coupon code EVECHA when ordering straight from Columbia University Press.

And when we say "we," we so mean it. Over the past half decade, twenty-two people—twenty-two!—interested in the intersection of poetry and popular culture have contributed guest postings, oftentimes more than once. (Shout outs to Melissa Girard, Catherine Keyser, Jeff Charis-Carlson, Jeff Swenson, Angela Sorby, Erin Kappeler, Jim Sullivan, Eric Conrad, Colleen Coyne, Ce Rosenow, Phil Metres, Liz Jones-Dilworth, Adam Bradford, Brian Greggs, Sarah Ehlers, Loren Glass, Drew Duncan, Nadia Nurhussein, Kirsten Bartholomew Ortega, Rachel Dacus, Steve Healey, and Mike Butterworth.) And we've done interviews with another fourteen people working deliberately or maybe not so deliberately in the realm of popular poultry: Stephanie Renfrow of NASA's MAVEN mission, Jim Buckmaster the CEO of Craigslist, Emily Benson of Star-Mark Pet Products, scholar Angela Sorby, John Broderick of the Fisher Poets Gathering, writer Till Gwinn, writer Lewis Turco, Charlie Seemann of the National Cowboy Gathering, writer Ryan Mecum, Tessa Kale of the Columbia-Granger's Index to Poetry, Irving Toast the Poetry Ghost, Mark Davis (son of poet Frank Marshall Davis), and Lucas Bernhart, the one-time poet laureate of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Needless to say, we no longer feel so alone.

It's hard to predict what the next five years of P&PC will bring, but we're not worrying our heads about that just now. Today is about celebrating five years of fun and sending out huge thank-yous to everyone who's helped to make those years possible. Now it's time to go catch up with Carl the Copy Guy, and, of course, go light the candles on our Edgar Guest birthday cake using—what else?—the vintage book of matches (issued by Hallmark) shown in the first three pictures above.