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By Todd Swift , Poetry Editor

Nthposition www.nthposition.com is based in London (UK) and was founded by its publisher/editor Val Stevenson in April 2002. The other two editors on its “flannel panel” are Ian Simmons (weird music editor) and myself (poetry). We don't pay ourselves, or anyone, and we don't accept advertising. We're truly independent (or “impoverished” as Val likes to say). We feature a broad range of cultural and political content: articles, essays, reviews, fiction, and of course poetry.

The name Nthposition stems from a Google search, which revealed that: “all elements that follow are greater than or equal to it” so it's no better or worse than any other site, and has no particular editorial policy apart from a desire to showcase interesting writing of the moment. We have a core readership of several thousand a month, and are read by between 400 to several thousand daily.

In terms of poetry, Nthposition has recently featured, among others, the following poets, from Australia, Canada, France, India, Ireland, the U.K. and the United States: Adeena Karasick; Andrei Codrescu; Catherine Daly; Charles Bernstein; Eileen Tabios; Fred Johnston; Harriet Zinnes; Jayne Fenton Keane; Jennifer K. Dick; Jill Jones; Kevin Higgins; Louis Armand; Max Winter; Paul Hoover; Peter Middleton; Peter Robinson; Ranjit Hoskote; Stephanie Bolster; Todd Colby and W.B. Keckler. Each month we present the work of between seven and twelve poets, in selections from one to six poems.

In mid-January, 2003, Nthposition was the first to call for, and disseminate, anti-war poetry, on a truly global scale, with its series of free e-books (100 Poets Against The War). These were eventually downloaded over 150,000 times, and led to readings in Washington, DC, Halifax, Austin, Paris, London, and elsewhere. On March 5, 2003, Salt Publishing in Cambridge agreed to quickly publish a “real book” version of 100 Poets , and this was launched across the world. We worked closely with Andrew Himes at www.poetsagainstthewar.org as well, as the campaign for peace poetry activism grew.

Nthposition, in a very short time, has received a remarkable degree of support from fellow sites, reviewers, bloggers, activists, readers, and some inspiring media attention. The site was short-listed for the 2002 European Online Journalism Awards (among the giants Dow Jones, Time Europe, BBC, El Mundo, The Guardian and New Scientist). In 2003 we were nominated for a People's Voice Award in the Webbys; in November 2003 for the Online Cultural Coverage Award in the Utne Independent Press Awards (we took the Reader's Choice award in our category, which is an honour thank you!).

Nthposition has been reviewed or mentioned in/on (among many others): Reuters; L'Orient Le Jour (Lebanon); The Globe and Mail (Canada); CBC; LA Times ; Village Voice ; CNN; ABC News; Victoria Sun (Australia); The Guardian (UK); BBC; Irish Times and Le Monde (France). The London Times has said of our peace work that Nthposition is “one of the best examples of how the Internet has been used to champion a cause” and Private Eye called us “genuinely innovative”.

Peter Finch, in The Writer's Handbook 2004 (UK) selected us as one of only a handful of poetry sites to send work to, which made us very happy indeed. His chapter also argues, convincingly, that publishing poetry on the Internet is becoming a more mainstream and respectable (goodness!) act, and no longer the last resort of a desperately ignored author in a garret. From what I've been reading, the quality is often higher online (at the better sites, such as The Drunken Boat) than in print. As the larger publishers, and book sellers, continue to marginalize poetry books, Nthposition believes that making poetry instantly available world-wide via the Internet (and for free) will become an evermore attractive option (and may help to positively redefine the power structures that continue to dominate the high literary world).

Nthposition's initial goal was to be a modest site for work that writers might not want to place elsewhere: extreme experiment, high weirdness, hyper-new-political, the edgy, or that veered eccentrically from what they might normally send out. As we have become better known, and receive more submissions, we remain committed to an eclectic, inclusive approach, welcoming poetic styles and schools, from performance to linguistically innovative work, by way of more accessible writing. Quality remains the main criteria (I hope). I've been a poetry editor, poetry activist, and anthologist since 1988 ( Map-Maker's Colours: New Poets of Northern Ireland was my first attempt) and have since sought to build international communities, introduce new talent, and support a fusion of strategies and views. Nthposition (poetry) is meant to be the logical extension of this previous work.

I confess to festishizing shorter poems, and those which are not utterly complex in terms of their constructed format, as we don't believe these read quite as well onscreen as on the page, but that still leaves room for even highly “post-modern” poetry, which we enjoy. It should be emphasized that we are not only or primarily interested in “political” poetry, but, unlike many sites and journals are not opposed to it either. We like to strike a balance in each month's “issue” between a variety of themes and voices.

Nthposition wishes to encourage writers, but prefers submissions from those previously published. About half the work we feature has been solicited. Poetry submissions (a sample 1-4 poems and a brief biographical note) should be sent to the poetry editor c/o todd@toddswift.com ; if accepted, there will be a reply within 2-4 weeks. Work is usually online 1-7 weeks from time of acceptance.

Nthposition has begun to publish print-on-demand books, and an “anthology” of the best of its first two years of its fiction and poetry will be available to mark the second anniversary, this spring.

I look forward to reading your submissions in 2004.


Todd Swift, London

Todd Swift was born in Montreal in 1966. Since 1997 he has lived in Europe, first Budapest, then Paris, now London. He is the author or editor of seven books, including Poetry Nation , Budavox, 100 Poets Against The War, and his recent collection, Cafe Alibi. His poems have been translated into many languages, such as Arabic, French, German, Hungarian, and Korean. In 2002 he also released an avant-garde text/musique CD (Swifty Lazarus: The Envelope, Please) with composer Tom Walsh on the Wired on Words label. Todd is poetry editor of www.nthposition.com and contributing editor of Rattapallax and Matrix magazines, in New York and Montreal, respectively. He is also a screenwriter (HBO, Paramount, Fox) and essayist (The National Post, The Dubliner, Vallum). He has several books forthcoming in 2004/2005, including his new collection of poems, Rue du Regard. He was one of nine world poets invited to read at the Frankfurt Book Fair's International Centre in October, 2003. He is recently married to Sara Egan.