Some facts about Chain

Craig Dworkin, "Fact" from Chain 12, 2005 [rendered from JPG to PDF to JPG]
Craig Dworkin, "Fact" from Chain 12, 2005 [rendered from JPG to PDF to JPG]

In the final issue of Chain — which I am thrilled to launch on the newly redesigned Reissues platform — editors Juliana Spahr and Jena Osman begin by sharing some facts about the magazine. Perhaps the best summary of the journal's output, I'd like to reproduce “Some Facts About Chain” in its entirety here. You can find the full issue — placing this segment in conversation with the contents of the “facts” issues of the magazine — here.

Some Facts About Chain . . .

Year founded: 1994.

Total number of pages printed: 3,712.

Topics . . .
1. Gender and Editing
2. Documentary
3. Hybrid Genres (double issue)
4. Procedures
5. Different Languages
6. Letters
7. Memoir / Anti-Memoir
8. Comics
9. Dialogue
10. Translation
11. Public Forms
12. Facts

Total number of people published: 898.
Number of women: 539.
Number of men: 359.

Average printing cost per issue, $4100.
Number of copies of each issue printed: 1000.
Average number of direct mail subscribers: 300 (although this number varies widely depending on how good we are at sending out those annoying subscription solicitations).

Average amount of money raised by subscription per issue: about $4000.
Average amount of private donations per year: about $3000.

Average number of emails received about Chain per year: 1804.
Average number of emails exchanged between Jena Osman and Juliana Spahr per year: 1309
Number of major editorial arguments: at least three.
Number of issues edited while Juliana and Jena lived in the same city: 3.
Number of issues edited while Juliana and Jena lived in the same time zone: 4.

Number of corporate jets and catered sushi lunches: zero. (Although we did hold our 2005 meeting in Desert Hot Springs but we paid for it out of pocket.)
Amount Jena and Juliana have been paid to do Chain: zero.

Original funders: Professors Robert Creeley, Charles Bernstein, and Dennis Tedlock; the SUNY-Buffalo graduate student association; the Council for Literary Magazines and Presses; the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the University of Hawai'i at Manoa SEED grant; various generous individuals who donated funds.

Institutions somewhat associated with Chain: SUNY at Buffalo, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Ursinus College, Temple University, Mills College. (Although none have provided direct funding or administrative support.)

People who have worked with us on typesetting or editing over the years: Adam Aitken, Kingsley Amis, Charles Bernstein, Javant Biarujia, Manuel Brito, Nicole Brossard, Norma Cole, Maria Damon, Dubravka Djuric, Bob Doto, Thalia Field, Miriam Gianni, C. S. Giscombe, Ray Gonzalez, Georgi Gospodinov, Arielle Greenberg, Ernesto Livon Grosman, Karen Hannah, Lyn Hejinian, Emelihter Kihleng, Myung Mi Kim, Deirdre Kovacs, Joel Kuszai, Walter K. Lew, James Meetze, Nick Moudry, Traviz Ortis, Marjorie Perloff, M. Nourbese Philip, Kristin Prevallet, Joan Retallack, Catherine Schieve, Kerry Sherin, Ken Sherwood, Gary Sullivan, Jeffrey Twitchell-Waas, Edwin Torres, Cecilia Vicuna, Roberto Tejada, Marina Budhos, Nzadi Keita, Kerry Sherin, Dorothy Wang, Robyn Wilcox, Sara Wintz, Janet Zweig.

Languages included: Alibata, Arabic, Aztec, Cacan, Cherokee, Chinese, Creole, Cyrillic, Czech, Danish, English, Esperanto, Estonian, French, German, Greek, Guarani, Haitian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Igikuria, Ilocano, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Kiswahili, Klingon, Korean, Kunza, Latin, Maori, Mohawk, Ojibwe, Old Norse, Persian, Phoenician, Pidgin (Hawai'i Creole English), Pohnpeian, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Sanskrit, Serbian, Serbo-Croatian, Sign Language, Solomon Islands Pidgin, Spanish, Swahili, Tagalog, Tamil, Tarifiyt Teeline, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, Vorlin.

Some other magazines with the word “chain” in the title that you should not confuse Chain with: Chain Leader Magazine, Chain Whipped Magazine, Electronics Design Chain Magazine, Food Chain Magazine, Chain Reaction Magazine, Supply Chain Systems Magazine.

First sentence of each issue . . .
Relation: Perhaps a good starting point would be to discuss my apprehension about editing. This issue of Chain continues an investigation into forms that are traditionally perceived as neutral or “objective.” Past issues of Chain have focused on the topics of gender and editing and documentary. We are tired of cyborgs. We are suspicious of mules (seeing them as sterile or as drug dealers). We worry about the over-hybridization of plants. This issue explores how things get made. This issue is about conversation. Dear Editors, I SEE words on my forehead IN THE AIR on other people on the typewriter on the page. This issue of Chain grew out of a conversation I had with Jena Osman last year at the Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia. In late 1995 I gave up smoking, which put an immediate, temporary end to my writing. I’ve been thinking about your note re: Chain and I came up with something, one or two things really: NON-CONSUMER FICTIONS as a sort of play on “consumer fictions” and also as a commentary on the state of the art which is all geared toward consumer categories of genre . . . The topic for this issue was Cecilia Vicuña's idea originally. For the eleventh issue of Chain (we still can't quite believe we forgot to celebrate our 10th anniversary issue), we put out a call for work that addresses "public forms." While not the death knell for Chain, this is the last annual issue of Chain for some time.

— Juliana Spahr and Jena Osman, “Editor's Notes” Chain 12: Facts