An acquaintance of Lawrence poet Gary Lechliter once told him that poetry was a dying art. That couldn't be further from the truth, Lechliter says.
"It has blossomed beyond anyone's wildest imagination," he says. "It is becoming a much more accessible literary art."
Lechliter, a therapist at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Topeka, has created a venue for getting works of new and veteran writers alike to the public. It's called the I-70 Review, and the first edition hit bookstore shelves in February.
Though most of the work in the first installation is by local poets, the idea is to publish art, fiction and poetry by people who live in the I-70 states. The highway runs between Utah and Virginia and links 12 states.
The editors, Lechliter and Kansas University English professor Brian Daldorph, also solicit work from other parts of the country.
The first issue, available for $5 at The Raven Bookstore, 8 E. Seventh St., features Debra Bokur, poetry editor of the Colorado literary journal Many Mountains Moving; Lyn Lifshin, a nationally known writer who has published more than 100 books of poetry and been called "a modern Emily Dickinson;" and Thomas Zvi Wilson, a painter and sculptor whose poems appear in numerous journals and anthologies.
Other poets in the book are Daldorph, Jennie James, Robert Jones, Kiesa Kay, Philip Kimball, Silvia Kofler, Stacy Kroos, Jana Kuchtova, Denise Low, Philip Miller, John Musgrave, Shannon Musgrave, Sarah Ruhlen and Eva M. Wojcik-Obert. Linda Wisely is the featured artist.
The work is "wide-ranging," Lechliter says.
"Just whatever moves me, I take. We take work from very much beginners through very advanced poets," he says.
I-70 is accepting submissions through the end of March for its 2004 edition. Send submissions with a cover letter and self-addressed, stamped envelope to: I-70 Review, 913 Joseph Drive, Lawrence 66049.