Saturday, October 17, 2009
The bane of the small regional literary magazine is that the audience is limited to the readership of a very short run. This not only denies the authors and artists who produced it access to their audience, but it also denies the audience a chance to participate in the cultural expression of their world, a world “rapidly paved over with asphalt and vested interests,” as the Dreamstreets editors put in on the front page of Dreamstreets 7 (Beltane, May 1989).
Thus, when Steven Leech and I were scanning the Dreamstreets archive to make it available in an electronic form, I became increasing excited and proud. This was thirty years of cultural artifacts, restored to the community from the middens of oblivion. Many of the artists and writers appearing in this archive are flourishing today, Dreamstreets having midwifed the birth of their artistic careers. And this is what I am proud of. Along with Steven Leech, Franetta McMillian, e. jean lanyon, Douglas Morea, Chris Oakley, and Dana Garrett in various terms, I served on the editorial board of Dreamstreets for many years until its final edition, #50, in 2006. Steven Leech had been the executive editor in every production since Betty Tew edited #2 after Dreamstreets was founded by John Hickey and a cohort of visionaries calling themselves the Eschaton Writers in 1977.
On that original staff were Peter Barrett, Lew Bennett. Julio Bezerra, Herb Connor, Candi Costis, Mark Delmerico, Bruce Frye, Terry Golstein, John Hickey, e. jean lanyon (who was often co-editor in earlier years), Betty McCaughey, David Moyer, David Robertson, Carl Schlatter, Susan Smith, Leslie Turner, Floyd van Riper, Ed Wesolowski, Tom Watkins, Jim Zingheim, and Carson Zollinger.
At last, we present the Dreamstreets Archive at www.dreamstreetsarchive.com, accessible in a link from Broken Turtle Blog. We will soon add a trove of audio and possibly video files to the archive, so it is a living instrument.
Among the numerous artists and writers who have graced Dreamstreets’ pages, many are Delaware Division of the Arts grant recipients, Poet Laureates, a few recently departed and immortalized in our pages, some immortals from our region’s past, and many brilliant flashes of poetic starlight that might have been missed by the residents of Delaware’s small—some would say impacted—universe.
These writers and artists are largely progressive in the broadest sense, giving voice to the voiceless and empowering the powerless, and that, of course, made the publishing of Dreamstreets “downwind from chateau country” all the more extraordinary. Dreamstreets is a source of justifiable pride for the brave little phalanx who with it took a stand.