his is the tenth issue of Mezzo Cammin, and so much has happened since our first issue that it's hard to fathom. Work from the journal has appeared on Verse Daily, Poetry Daily, The Writer's Almanac, and The Best of the Net. I have given panels on the journal across the United States, and there is a fifth-anniversary celebratory panel at the West Chester University Poetry Conference this coming June. Our list of contributors is a who's who of women's formalist poetry, including Rhina P. Espaillat, Rachel Hadas, Allison Joseph, Julie Kane, Leslie Monsour, Marilyn Nelson, and Catherine Tufariello.

This past March at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, we launched The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, which will eventually be the largest database of women poets in the world. The project will travel all over the world, holding events and gathering essays on women poets while celebrating women's poetic history.

The Washington evening included a live musical performance by Somi, whose latest album debuted at #2 on the World Billboard Chart, a keynote address by Alicia Ostriker, a keynote poem by Annie Finch, a tribute to Lucille Clifton by Carleasa A. Coates, the women poets roll call conducted by Marilyn L. Taylor (each woman poet in the audience stood as her name was called, a signature element of our events), and readings by Rhina P. Espaillat, Molly Peacock, and Terri Witek. The featured visual artist was Alice Mizrachi. The event was covered in The Connecticut Post, on the website of The Poetry Foundation, on the website of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and in various headline news outlets.

Two things in particular have stood out since Mezzo Cammin's inception. The first is that there is still a pressing need for a magazine like Mezzo Cammin both to re-frame and reclaim portions of the poetic. When we decided we would begin to do features on women poets who had not gotten enough attention, like Julia Randall and Josephine Jacobsen, we realized, soon enough, that such features would include most women poets. In a field where roughly sixty percent of working writers are women and forty percent are men, and where literary journals, by and large, do not reflect those numbers, there is a responsibility to give voice to excellence by women. We see that as one of our missions, besides our emphasis on form.

The second is that Mezzo Cammin would not have been possible without a community of women who have been supportive both in terms of establishing the groundwork and in contributing to the journal itself. Mezzo Cammin came out of the West Chester University Poetry Conference, and out of early women's voices at the conference, such as Rhina P. Espaillat, Annie Finch, Rachel Hadas, Marilyn Nelson, Molly Peacock, and Kathrine Varnes. I am indebted to two seminars at West Chester, the first headed by Rachel Hadas and Marilyn L. Taylor, focusing on forgotten women poets: Mary Agner, Debra Bruce, Jenny Factor, Gardner McFall, Meg Schoerke, Ellen Smith, Rachel Wetzstoen, and Terri Witek. The second, on the same topic, headed by Marilyn L. Taylor, was the one out of which Mezzo Cammin was born: Kim Bridgford, Debra Bruce, Barbara Crooker, Moira Egan, Jenny Factor, Annie Finch, Diane Lockward, Margaret Rockwell, Meg Schoerke, Patricia Valdata, and Kathrine Varnes.

I am also gratified by the reception of the journal. It's a pleasure to know that its reviews have affected book sales, and that the community surrounding it has extended all over the world. Mezzo Cammin would not be possible without the willingness of women to send their best work to it, again and again. There has never been a time that I have not looked forward to seeing what has been submitted to the journal, and I have appreciated the willingness of women poets to revise, when often that is not the norm in this business.

I am grateful to the visual artists who have had their work in the journal, particularly to Jo Yarrington who has done some of the cover art and who has appeared twice as a featured artist. Meredith Bergmann also has appeared twice as a featured artist. We have featured the work of Marion Belanger, Gail Biederman, Thérèse Chabot, Lauren Clay, Jane Sutherland, and Judith Taylor as well.

Dana Gioia and Michael Peich have been supportive of both Mezzo Cammin itself and The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, inviting women scholars to run seminars that led to the journal and the timeline, and eventually including a home for those entities at the Poetry Center at West Chester.

I would like to give a special thank you to Meg Schoerke, who was the essays editor in the early years of the journal, and whose excellent judgment I could completely trust. She was especially helpful with the special features on Julia Randall and Josephine Jacobsen, and she is one of the best book reviewers I know.

I thank my son, Nick Duval, whose own film criticism career at The Flick Pick Monster has developed in a parallel manner with Mezzo Cammin. He understands the importance of establishing excellence and finding a voice.

And without Pete Duval, my husband and Mezzo Cammin's web designer, the journal literally would not exist. I appreciate his willingness to take the dream and make it flourish for so many women. The journal has changed the lives of our family and extended community in ways we could not have imagined.

Mezzo Cammin: from Dante, to Longfellow, to Judith Moffett. I am grateful to all those who have joined me on this path, and look forward to the continuation of the journey.

Kim Bridgford
January, 2011


Kim Bridgford is the director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester University Poetry Conference, the largest all-poetry writing conference in the United States. As editor of Mezzo Cammin, she was the founder of The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, which was launched at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington in March 2010, and will eventually be the largest database of women poets in the world. She is the author of four books of poetry: Undone (David Robert Books); Instead of Maps (David Robert Books); In the Extreme: Sonnets about World Records (Story Line Press), winner of the Donald Justice Prize; and Take-Out: Sonnets about Fortune Cookies (David Robert Books). Her forthcoming book is Hitchcock's Coffin: Sonnets about Classic Films (David Robert Books).

AWP, Washington, D.C.
The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project
(Anna Evans, Kim Bridgford, Erica Dawson, Jehanne Dubrow, Kathrine Varnes)
Room: Virginia A
Marriott Wardman Park
Lobby Level
Saturday, February 5
10:30-11:45 AM

Fifth-Anniversary MC Reading
West Chester University Poetry Conference
Friday, June 10
8:15 AM
Meredith Bergmann: An artist's statement is a formal thing--not written out in lines, but still constrained in length, and more particularly, tone. One should assert one's strategies, and boast about creative mischief. (Dithering is better done in verse.) But I'm restrained by wanting you to find out on your own what tickles me, and what moves me the most.

I sometimes doubt that humor really heals. Perhaps I want to wound instead, to wake; to wrong what may too easily be right. I love how sudden recognition feels, and play with that in everything I make--as in my second sonnet for this site.
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