Last November, just about six months ago, we premiered a new LitKicks format designed for a tight focus on literary discussion. We wanted to strip the site down to a minimal foundation — three discussions a week, one poetry board, and nothing more.
We knew this was an unusually rigid format for a website, but it made a statement we liked at the time. We wanted every word to count, and we wanted to set an example of careful and serious writing that would inspire our contributors to write as well as they could in their responses. For myself as one of the site’s three main writers, the interactivity amounted to a challenge that stretched my skills and frequently forced me out of my literary comfort zone, as I tried to keep up with the varied sensibilities represented by all our contributors, and produce pieces worthy of their time.
Over the months I wrote some stuff I am proud of and some stuff I’d be happy to never see again. My personal favorite moment was probably the two-week best poem in the world discussion. I asked a simple question, and I was really surprised by the passion and conviction of the numerous responses, which also made me realize I would have to write a hell of a follow-up response myself. I only hope I lived up to the expectations.
Caryn and Jamelah and I have worked with this format for six months now, living through a presidential election, a tsunami and a few sad deaths. Today, the LitKicks staff is happy to announce that we’ve now decided to begin loosening up the flow a bit. Instead of a strict three pieces a week, we are tossing the schedule out the window, and we’re each just going to write when we feel like it. This will probably lead to more, shorter postings, along with occasional longer pieces. We hope this new approach will also help us include more of the interesting contributions we’ve been getting.
We think you’ll like some of the other changes we’re about to roll out, including an increased focus on the news/contemporary-lit front (based on Caryn’s excellent Seen and Heard columns) and a new improved design with better navigation and Firefox compatibility, which we’re going to premiere any day now (Jamelah’s been working very hard on the CSS, and to be honest we’re a bit worried about her).
We’re also very close to bringing back the long-awaited LitKicks advertising program with an all-new interface that will make it easier to buy space to promote your small press publications, chapbooks, artworks, music, crafts or websites. Finally, we’re improving the indexing and retrievability of the archived content, because there’s a lot of good stuff buried in these files. This is one of the changes to the site we are most excited about.
The only thing we’re not changing is the action poetry board because we like the way that’s going.
We’d love to show you all of these changes today, but we’re still cooking it all up out back. Stay tuned!