Publisher as Sourdough

Let’s just say that I still remember Lotus.  I still remember Wordstar, for God’s sake.  So coming into the world of Publisher was both exciting and frightening beyond belief.

When we first started San Pedro River Review in 2009 we had one goal, to start a semi-annual journal of poetry and art that people would be proud to be part of, and proud to read.

When I say “we”, let me give all the credit to Jeffrey Alfier.  This had always been his dream, and what good is a dream if it’s only mediocre?  I want my dreams to be wild with color and sound, and that’s what we wanted for SPRR.  I was very blessed to be included but Jeffrey is definitely the founder.

We made the decision from the beginning not to publish ourselves.  We both are submission hogs and love acceptances (almost) more than bacon!  But we wanted wonderful work from other poets and artists.  We don’t think it’s wrong when editors are included in their own journals, it just wasn’t for us.

So back to the sourdough…we needed help with that first issue so we turned to relatives, who would help quickly and out of love, even though we’d hear about it for the next hundred years.  And that is how our Table of Contents, and our first issue was born (thank you Mom).

We are still using that Table of Contents and the scaffolding of that first issue.  Every issue we learn something new – how to cover up the numbers on the beginning pages, how to make the bio’s flow automatically from one page to the next, how to change the spacing between stanzas, (how expensive color on the inside is)…things that the average 12-year-old knows by heart but that are new for us.  We’ve learned how rejecting poets who’ve already withdrawn their work gets them really pissed-off and all kinds of things that make us good humans and better editors. Every issue, Jeffrey reminds me of Richard Hugo’s great line, “We are called human.”

As we build this 9th issue I am proud to see both national and international poets included, artists who are like old friends, and work that will be considered for Pushcart nominations along with the phenomenal work that was in our Spring issue.

If you are reading this blog, you are probably a writer.  Check out our guidelines at and see if your sensibilities fit ours.  The Spring, 2013 window will open January 1, 2013.  Our Spring issue is themed, and the theme for 2013 is “The City”.

The website will give you a list of some representative poets.  You can see all our contributors by clicking on page links.  Our guidelines are VERY clear about what we like.  See if we might be a good fit for you.

You don’t have to live in San Francisco to like sourdough!


Tobi Cogswell does bake but she’d rather write.  A two-time Pushcart nominee she has been nicely published, although more is always good.  Her latest chapbook is “Lit Up” from Kindred Spirit Press.  You already know about San Pedro River Review.