What is Verse Kraken?
In a nutshell: an online poetry/art magazine for weird, experimental and surprising work across multiple media. We believe that wonderful art springs up in the gaps and intersections between forms and genres, that such hard-to-classify work deserves a platform, and that its creators deserve to be paid for their work.
Why are we making it?
We are Claire Trévien and Tori Truslow: writers, editors and wearers of many other hats. Our collective passions span the written word, performance, visual art, translation and criticism, to name a few – and we get especially excited when art forms collude or collide.
But we don’t see as much of it as we’d like, either on the web or in print. It’s not surprising – art that doesn’t fit easily into boxes has a tough time finding publication, and a lot of experimental work is simply harder to format and reproduce than its more traditional relatives.
We feel there should be more opportunities for artists who want to mix and match forms and genres. So we decided to create a dedicated space for it.
What exactly will Verse Kraken contain?
Think prose poetry and concrete poetry, multimedia and multilingual work, hypertext fiction and interactive art, collages and remixes. Think of things that might not even have occurred to us – the whole point is to make space for the unexpected.
Verse Kraken will be a multi-disciplinary project to the core. Each call for submissions will be accompanied by three ‘spurs’ – pieces of art/writing/photography/film/whatever taken from the public domain – to fire up contributors’ imaginations. Like its mythic namesake, we hope this beast will inspire weird and wonderful verses and images.
We have a concept that we’re passionate about, a boatload of ideas, and the editing chops to deliver something fabulous. But to make it work, we need it to be accessible to both readers and contributors. And that’s where you come in.
To create our first issue, we need a flexible space on the web, and we need content. Being able to pay a bare minimum of £5 – more if we go over our target – lets contributors know that their work is valued. We are committed to making this a platform for under-represented voices as well as under-represented forms, so it is especially important that we make it worth artists’ whiles.
Of the money we’re hoping to raise, about 30% will go towards setting up and commissioning the design for an awesome website, 20% towards paying contributors for the first issue, and 15% towards throwing a fabulous launch party to which you'll be invited. The rest will help us to produce a limited edition print run of the first issue, create rewards for our backers, and pay Kickstarter's fees.
Kickstarter lets you pledge as much or as little as you like, and we're offering some awesome rewards at various backer levels. We'll only get funded if we hit our target of £600, otherwise you keep your money. So we appreciate every pound!
We've also got some ideas up our sleeves for what to do with any extra money pledged:
If we reach £800, we'll increase payment for contributors to £10. While £5 is more than many magazines pay for poems, we'd love to offer more. We'll also be able to put some cash aside for a second issue.
If we reach £1000, we'll make our launch party into a tentacular extravaganza. Currently it will have to be done on a shoestring, but with some extra funding we'll be able to hire a bigger and better venue, lay on some awesome entertainment, and just generally make it spectacularly tentacular!
What happens next?
If this Kickstarter is successful, the first thing we'll do is get hard to work on building our website. A preliminary version will go live in the new year, when we'll present our spurs for the first issue. We'll open to submissions from February to May, and launch in June.
None of this will be able happen without our backers, so however much you pledge, you will be credited on our website for posterity. Any backer at the £5 level or above will get free entry to our launch party, and beyond that we've got a whole load of cool things to offer in thanks for your support - check out the sidebar on the right!
Our goodie bags will contain a special print edition of the magazine, as well as an assortment of words and art made by us. At the £25 level this will include a Verse Kraken badge, an art postcard, poetry poster, and one of Tori's handmade mini-chapbooks, containing a weird and whimsical poem or story (for examples see below).
At the £50 level, the deluxe party bags will also contain copies of Mapping Poetry, a map-themed poetry poster edited by Claire and featuring a poem by Tori; Low-Tide Lottery, Claire's poetry pamphlet published by Salt; and Penning Perfumes, an anthology from the widely-acclaimed creative collaboration between perfumers and poets, created by Claire and Odette Toilette. You can read a review of Penning Perfumes in the Guardian here.
We're trying something exciting for the £70 reward level, and offering backers the chance to choose one of our 'spurs'. This means you'll be helping to provide the sparks of inspiration for the magazine's content, so if there's a piece of (public domain) art - in any medium - that you would love to see reinterpreted and riffed on, here's your chance.
Finally, at the £100 level, there's a place on a three-day writing retreat, to take place in 2013 at a time that's convenient for you. The retreat will include time set aside for individual projects, as well as collaborative, multi-media workshops, led by Claire and Tori.
Tori has four years' worth of experience running successful creative writing workshops for poetry festivals, academic conferences, theatre companies and schools around the world; Claire has also run workshops in France and England, including a notorious all-nighter challenge in Paris, her experience as a French lecturer, dance teacher and poetry editor will all collide to make this a unique experience. There are only two places up for grabs, and usually this would be valued at £150, so don't miss out!
As you can see, our rewards are all in the spirit of genre-crossing and collaboration, because that's what this is all about.
In that same spirit, we'll share our progress and ideas with our backers as we go forward - so pack your harpoon guns, get on board, and come along on a strange new voyage with us!
Risks and challenges
Our main challenge in creating Verse Kraken is finding and delivering awesome content. This is a challenge that every new magazine faces, but our pooled creative networks are full of brilliantly talented people, and we will put heart and soul into promoting the initial call for submissions in order to find new voices and talent. Pulling off a successful literary event is also a challenge, but between us we have bundles of experience, having organised book launches, poetry nights, plays, workshops, and more - we love doing it and will work around the clock to make it great. All in all, with our history in creating, editing, and promoting, we're confident that we can make this worthy of our vision and your support.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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