Writer and publisher, Jamie Brown on poet Linda Blaskey
About the second or third year of the John Milton Memorial Celebration of Poets and Poetry, which I began in the cramped confines of my little used book shop, John Milton and Company in the town of Milton, Delaware (named for the poet and political philosopher, John Milton), Linda Blaskey attended the event. Almost immediately afterward she asked if there was anything she could do to help, and when the event moved from the tiny bookshop to the newly reopened Milton Theater, she helped organize and staff the fourth annual event. She became a key player for the next seven or eight years until the Theater closed and was sold, and the event moved to the Milton Memorial Library. In the ninth year of that event, I was laid up with hip surgery and replacement, so during my enforced confinement, I began The Broadkill Review as a pdf lit-mag distributed six times a year to my personal e-mail list of friends. by the third or fourth month, if I remember correctly, by year's end the Review had gone from 24 pages to 70 pages and was sent to nearly 10,000 e-mail addresses. I began to sense that I had a much larger task on my hands than I had originally anticipated. By Volume 5, Number 5, Linda was listed as Interview Editor. In this capacity, she interviewed such literati as poets Robert Pinsky, Maxine Kumin, and Linda Pastan, editor Emily Takoudes, and author and MFA Program Director Joshua D. Isard.
I had not wanted to ask too much of her when I began the Review, because she and a couple of other folks had essentially taken over the organization of the annual poetry festival. When it was decided that there was not enough volunteer interest in helping staff that event, the committee decided to forgo another; the silver lining was that I was able to persuade Linda to take on the additional role of Poetry Editor for The Broadkill Review. You know the saying, "If you want something done, ask a busy person." I knew she would do what had become an essential job and do it extraordinarily well. Along the way, she also built our circulation. I am especially glad (and grateful) she stayed in her role as Poetry Editor beyond my tenure as Editor in Chief for as long as she did, and with such dedication.
I am proud, also, to call her my friend.
Jamie Brown is a writer, and critic. He is CEO of Broadkill Publishing Associates, LLC, which publishes chapbooks under the Broadkill Press imprint, and full-length collections of fiction and poetry under the Broadkill River Press imprint. He was formerly Fiction Editor of The Washington Review of the Arts, and an Associate Editor with both the Sulphur River Literary Review and Wordwrights! Magazine He has served as a member of the Poetry Committee of the Folger Shakespeare Library. He also served as Poetry Critic for The Washington Times from 2005 to 2006, and the first creative writing instructor at The Smithsonian.