Albuquerque duo hopes to bring poetry to everyone with new literary journal - Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque duo hopes to bring poetry to everyone with new literary journal

In poetry, each word matters, carrying its own weight.

For Jasen Christensen and Robert Grant, poetry is a way to escape, expand one’s mind and simply, enjoy.

This is the reason the Albuquerque residents have started the poetry journal Abandoned Mine.

“… Most people’s lives would be tremendously enriched by reading more poetry. Poetry can challenge us to more fully live out our ideals and inspire us to passionately pursue our dreams,” the pair says. “Poetry can invite us into greater empathy for others. Poetry can help us laugh and help us cry. Poetry can make us feel not alone.”

Albuquerque residents Jasen Christensen and Robert Grant have come together to create the poetry journal, Abandoned Mine. (Courtesy of Abandoned Mine)

Currently, Christensen and Grant are taking submissions for the inaugural issue of Abandoned Mine, which is set to be published in February 2022. Information can be found at abandonedmine.org. The deadline for the first quarter is Jan. 15.

Christensen says he wanted to start the poetry journal because he felt that many of the journals he read feel out of reach and hard to engage with.

“For years Rob and I have enjoyed sharing poems with each other that more easily reflect or inspire our own lives – poems we found ironic, funny, beautiful or comforting,” Christensen says. “We want Abandoned Mine to be a platform for poets who want to share that kind of work with people who may not have much experience with poetry.”

Grant wants the journal “to be a part of helping more people experience this richness.”

He was drawn back to poetry after almost two decades by the work of William Stafford.

“My familiarity with Stafford was limited to the handful of his poems that were included in my college poetry anthologies – poems that somehow manage to be immediately accessible and at the same time of such depth and possessing so much understanding of the human condition that they warrant and reward repeat reading,” Grant writes. “At the Friends of William Stafford booth (in Oct. 2013), I was introduced to several more such poems of his. And a week later, ostensibly from my daughter, I was given a book chock-full of them: ‘The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems.’

I had trouble putting it down.”

Submissions have been rolling in – enough of them to keep both Christensen and Grant busy.

Grant says the process is going smoothly.

“Probably the biggest challenge is making the time to read all the submissions we’re receiving – and responding in a timely manner, which we’re committed to doing,” Grant says. “Poems are pouring into our P.O. box from all over the country – including many from here in New Mexico.”

Christensen echoes the sentiment by saying “Finding the time to focus on the project.”

The co-founders hope to have an annual print anthology become a staple to poetry readers.

“(We hope) to enrich the lives of our readers through sharing accessible poetry,” Christensen says.


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