Canopic Jar 22

Canopic Jar is an online literary journal published on an ad hoc basis by Phil Rice and Rethabile Masilo. The name Canopic Jar was thought up on a night over a few beers by founders Phil” Merrill and Rice who explains the name as …..

A loose definition for a Canopic Jar is that it is “an urn used in ancient Egypt to preserve the vital organs of the mummified dead for use in the next life. Eternal Viscera.” I thought it was a great name. Using an electric typewriter and the official copy machine of the accounting office at the Nashville Marriot, an 8-page Canopic Jar was published in May 1986 and distributed to our friends and anyone else we could get to take one.

Publication stopped in 1989 and resumed again in 1995 with an issue co-edited by Rice, musician/editor Tom Tyner, and singer/songwriter/author Doug Hoekstra. A lively side tract to the issue was a Canopic Jar poetry and music night at the Nashville’s Pub of Love in the summer of ’95. A third reincarnation of the journal took place in 1999 this time online on a Geocities site designed by Rice who took on the design as well as production before eventually linking up with Rethabile Masilo.

The early designs were static and plain but functioned well-enough, and each issue always featured visual artwork by a contemporary artist to go along with the writing. Noted authors began to appear in the Jar, but first-timers were always given special attention, too. Rethabile Masilo and I reconnected via email, and soon he was a dominant presence in Canopic Jar again. As the e-zine incarnation picked up steam, I gained more experience in the field of book production and publishing, and when the day came that I wanted to become an independent publisher of books, calling it Canopic Publishing seemed the natural choice..

Canopic Jar 22 is now available online with contributions of poetry, prose and visual art. Rethabile who also edits the excellent poetry blog, Poéfrika has taken on the mantle of Canopic Jar and the latest issue is a reflection of his vision for the future of the journal.

Paintings by didiMenendez

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