Call for Cover Art--Cannot Exist #4

Cannot Exist #4 will come out (I hope) sometime in December. We're seeking cover art in accordance with the following idea:


There will be 100 copies of the fourth issue of Cannot Exist. Each of at least 50 will feature a unique cover, an original work of art not to be found anywhere else. If you make drawings, paintings, photographs, collages, visual poems, etc., either habitually or only for the purposes of such proposals, and you're interested in contributing a single cover, we'd love to hear from you. This proposal isn't restricted to professionals. We're interested in everything from happy accidents to single marks to virtuosic productions.


Your work will most likely wrap around the cardstock cover of the magazine. That does mean that it will be folded in half, with three staples along the spine, and two additional folds on the ends for the wraparound (like the dust jacket of a hardcover book--plus staples, and sans spine).

It should be no more than 8 inches high by 18 inches wide. The piece of paper, canvas, etc. it's on should be at least 16 inches wide (18 is ideal), but there are no minimum height requirements, and the work itself need not take up the entire surface.

The front and back cover of the magazine (i.e., the parts that don't wrap around to the inside of the cover) together measure just over 11 inches across. A work, therefore, might be 11 inches wide with a fold down the middle, or might be two works, each around 5-and-one-half inches. It might also take up the entire 18 inches, including the folded-over sections (they aren't glued to the cardstock, so the reader will be able to lay the entire cover sheet out and view it all at once)... or any other permutation on this.

If the work is to be a wraparound outside cover, it should be on material that isn't too heavy. For comparative purposes: we usually use a 70 lb. text weight glossy paper for the wraparounds; a thin cardstock (70 lb. cardstock weight) also works, but if it gets much heavier than that, it won't fold well (it'll crack), and the staples won't want to go through it (so I'll have to tear them out multiple times, and risk damaging the cover).

You're also welcome to work directly on cardstock, or to decide to affix a work to a piece of cardstock of the correct size. If you do that, try to use a nice piece of stock that's close to the weight we usually use for the cover. If you have a copy of the magazine, you can look at the card cover to determine this. If not, it's about the same thickness as an average chapbook cover, just a bit thinner than a manila folder (and folds better). We like Mi-Teintes Acid Free Art stock, which is pretty cheap and nicely textured.

If you decide on this option, the piece of cardstock will need to ultimately be eight and three-quarters inches high by eleven and three-eighths inches wide. It can be an eighth of an inch or so wider in either dimension, but no smaller. I can cut whatever you send me, if that's necessary.

If the magazine's title can be present either literally or conceptually in the work, that would be ideal--but it's not required.

You can put your name somewhere on the work (or on the back of it), I can write it by hand in the copy whose contents it graces, or you can choose to remain anonymous.

An individual artist may choose to contribute more than one work; I have no problem printing five unique covers by the same artist.


to the idea of using a scanned image of a work for the cover. We will understand if you really don't want to send an original and have a staple driven through the middle. If the work is in a digital medium (either a scanned copy, a digital photograph or other work in a format intrinsically given to reproduction), we may decide to use it for three or four or five or six copies. It's all in the perverse kind of math in which we deal over here at the editorial office.


our admiration and gratitude, as well as a copy of the magazine (which may or may not have a one-time-only cover; again, it depends on the math).


The issue will (hopefully) be out in mid-December, so getting the covers to me by the end of November would be great.


write to Andy at If you've been specifically invited (e.g., we're acquainted), I probably already trust you, and you don't need to make a proposal.

Works can be sent by mail to:
Andy Gricevich
3417 Stevens St.
Madison, WI 53705

Issue 3 is here!

Hooray! Cannot Exist no.3 is available!

It's a stupendous issue, with 50 pages of poetry by

Alex Burford
Mark Cunningham
Carrie Etter
Lawrence Giffin
William Gillespie
Kevin Killian
Mark Lamoureux
Bonnie Jean Michalski
Sheila E. Murphy
Andy Nicholson
Dirk Stratton

Now that we've had the chance to read it as non-editors, it's blowing our mind with even greater oomph.

Like the first three issues, it features a glossy wraparound cover with odd art (in this case, by the editor), over a cardstock cover, saddle-stapled and assembled by hand in Madison, Wisconsin. As with previous issues, the materials are all acid-free and (except for the cardstock) partially recycled, and all the printing was done at Lakeside Press, our local IWW printing co-op, where even the neighbors are friendly enough to refrain from yelling at me when I block their driveway as I run inside to pick up the copies.

All this for a mere four bucks, plus shipping. Send a check to the address below, or buy it via PayPal.
Subscribe, and get the first four issues for a mere $15. Oh, such good poetry.

Submissions are open for issue 4 (to come out in December), and will remain so through October 31st. Click the link on the sidebar for guidelines.

All the best to you all!

Make checks out to Andy Gricevich, and send to:

Cannot Exist
c/o Andy Gricevich
3417 Stevens St.
Madison, WI 53705

Coming Next Week

CANNOT EXIST no. 3 is back from the printer, and will be out as soon as the editor returns from the RNC protests.

It's a great issue, featuring Alex Burford, Mark Cunningham, Carrie Etter, Lawrence Giffin, William Gillespie, Kevin Killian, Mark Lamoureux, Bonnie Jean Michalski, Sheila E. Murphy, Andy Nicholson and Dirk Stratton.

Submissions for issue 4 will open soon as well.

Cannot Exist no.2

The second issue is here, with 50 pages of varied and fascinating writing by:

Gregory Betts
Alan Davies
Kevin Ducey
Mark Enslin
Judith Goldman
Andy Gricevich
Ray Hsu
Cheyenne Nimes
Kristen Orser
Christina Strong
Andrew Zawacki

and a slick outside cover by Rick Burkhardt and Andy Gricevich.

Click here for contributors' notes.


Order it via PayPal, send a check for $5.50 (which covers shipping) to the address
below, or subscribe and get 2008's four issues for a mere $15.

make checks out to:

Andy Gricevich
3417 Stevens St.
Madison, WI 53705

Submissions are now open for issue 3.


Submissions are now closed for issue 6.


Volume! Volume!
Send me a bunch of stuff.
With exceptions, most contributors will get a fair amount of space (between 3 and 8 pages), so I'm happiest when I get a hefty batch of poems to read through.

Send your submission as a Word or OpenOffice document or Rich Text file (we prefer these to "in the body of the email" submissions) to, or send by snail mail, with your contact information, to:

c/o Andy Gricevich
4454-D Hillcrest Dr.
Madison, WI 53705

Include a SASE (if you'd like your submission returned, include one big enough to contain it).

It's likely that I'll take about 6 weeks to reply, which makes me feel bad about keeping people waiting, but gives me time to reread everything and try to put together the best possible issue.

Feel free to introduce yourself. I like that. You shouldn't feel obligated, though, to give me your credentials, publication history, etc. It won't affect whether I publish your work, and if I like it enough to pursue it I can probably figure out where to find it, or ask you.

What I Like:

This is a vague term, not much of a guideline.
I like writing in which it seems like something is at stake. I'm especially interested in poetry that engages with social and political issues, defined as broadly as possible--but "urgency" can also reside in the sonic texture of language, in disruptions of discourse, in the specificity of observation... and can characterize writing without aboutness and writing about nature, love, and so on. Antifascist writing is a particular interest, though.

We also welcome writing
...that makes strange, or ruptures the foundations of one's very existence
...that does philosophical work
...written by people I've never heard of
...that cracks me up (I really hunger for more good funny poetry) translation
...that is really a performance text, but could be snuck into a poetry magazine anyway

...but that list is merely informational. Whether your work can be described in any of those ways or not, it's likely that I'll be delighted to receive and read it.

Though our means are limited (we don't have software that can deal with really complicated formatting, and our page size is relatively small, making it hard for us to publish a lot of visual/concrete poetry), we are most sympathetic to variable margins, and will do our damndest to preserve formatting.

Simultaneous submissions are just fine--but let me know if somebody else is going to publish what you've sent.

CANNOT EXIST prefers not to print previously published work, but we might do so--especially if:
(a) we really like it
(b) its previous publication was on a private blog, or in a print or online magazine now unavailable, or with extremely limited circulation unlikely to overlap with that of this magazine.

In other words, we're not dogmatic about it. Go ahead and ask.

We personally hate writing bios when we submit our work, but you're welcome to send a bit of information about yourself; we are curious about persons. However, your publication history will have no bearing on whether we decide to print your work. Nor will the degree to which you're widely known in the poetry world. Nor will your status as editor of another publication. So don't feel any pressure in that regard. If you like, send work under a pseudonym!

Payment is one copy of the magazine.

All rights revert to the author upon publication.

NOTE: Statistically speaking, we're probably going to end up with significantly more writing from men than from women, or from people who don't identify as men or women. Only you can alter this imbalance!

Contributors' Notes for Issue 2

Gregory Betts is the author of If Language and Haikube. He lives in St. Catharines where he curates the Grey Borders Reading Series and edits PRECIPICe magazine. He teaches Canadian and Avant-Garde literature.

Alan Davies was born in Canada, has lived for over half his life in New York City. Alan is the author of RAVE (Roof), NAME (This), CANDOR (O Books), and SIGNAGE (Roof), an untitled collaboration with photographer M. M. Winterford (Zasterle Press), Sei Shonagon (hole books), among many other books. His BOOK 5, part of a long ongoing work, was recently published by Katalanch√©. He has books two new books – BOOK 6 (House Press), Odes (Faux Press), and two books forthcoming, BOOK 1 (Harry Tankoos Press), and a book from Sonaweb. More information is available at –
He can be contacted at

Mark Enslin:
"Read Dear," "Homelandless," and "Seam" were written in 2005; "Point and Shoot" in 2007. My involvement in this project says a lot about me and poetics.

Andy Gricevich lives in Madison, Wisconsin, from which he departs frequently to work with the Prince Myshkins and the Nonsense Company. Return Policy is a continuing chain of serial poems that may go on forever, or not at all. Recent online poems can be found in Moria, Pinstripe Fedora, and Dromedaries. On rare occasions does he ruminate at Otherwise.

Ray Hsu has published poems in Fence, New American Writing and The Walrus. His book, Anthropy, won the 2005 League of Canadian Poets' Gerald Lampert Award. He teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia.

Kristen Orser holds an MFA from Columbia College Chicago. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Indefinite Space, Ab Ovo, elimae, Caketrain, Foursquare, If Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She always wants to know when it's time to eat or if we are there yet. Read more tiny details at

Christina Strong is a poet and designer. Chapbooks and ebooks include Utopian Politics and Anti-Erato. She is the editor of Openmouth Press (recent title: Rebis, by Mitch Highfill).

Andrew Zawacki's latest poetry volume, Petals of Zero Petals of One, is due this fall from Talisman House. He also has a quartet of chapbooks forthcoming: Bartleby's Waste-book (Particle Series), Arrow's shadow (Equipage), Roche limit(Track & Field), and Georgia (Katalanche), co-winner of the 1913 Prize. He is coeditor of Verse magazine, a branch of which can be found at

Reading: Andy Gricevich and Rick Burkhardt in Madison

Andy Gricevich and Rick Burkhardt will read unusual,
often political, sometimes humorous poems this Sunday
at Avol's Bookstore in Madison, partly in celebration
of Cannot Exist magazine. Hope you can make it!

Sunday, April 6th, 2 p.m.
Avol's Bookstore
315 W. Gorham St. (@ State)

Andy Gricevich and Rick Burkhardt

Andy Gricevich edits CANNOT EXIST, a poetry magazine
and small press in Madison. His poems and essays have
been published in numerous print and online journals,
most recently in "Pinstripe Fedora," "Dromedaries" and
"EAOGH." He occasionally posts ruminations on his
blog, "Otherwise," performs regularly with the Prince
Myshkins and the Nonsense Company, and is
uncomfortably writing this in the third person.


Give up, my dear
this rack of heat
holding the bubble of your room.

No poet wants to know
what you kind of
feel embarrassed about.

Their concern
is with the bee
that pushed through

where the screen meets the window,
with sweet maple and cops
sweeping up for the holiday…

drowning the clatter of coins
shaken in a paper cup this
weighted season. Leave

the shrug of resignation
to the experts,

Operation Voltage
the lineup
and the gale

Rick Burkhardt is an award-winning composer, playwright, poet,
and songwriter whose music and text pieces have been
performed throughout the US and in Europe, Canada, Mexico,
Australia, and New Zealand by a wide variety of theater and music
ensembles. His poetry has been published in Mirage (A Periodical), admit2,
and Cannot Exist.

Once again the news told us
it had shocked the world. But it was

a new millenium: the paperboy shuffled
his briefcase to the office, squinting nervously away

from potential customers.

Keeping a promise.
"Making good on" it.

A photograph holding a photograph that says
"Have you seen me?"

close reading

The editorial entity has posted a close reading of one of Laura Sims' poems from the first issue of Cannot Exist over on his blog.

Cannot Exist no.1

Announcing the first issue of CANNOT EXIST
a quarterly magazine of poetry
edited by Andy Gricevich

Available now!

with 50 pages of staggeringly good writing by

Rick Burkhardt
Arielle Guy
Rob Halpern
Roberto Harrison
Lisa Jarnot
Kent Johnson
Laura Sims
Rodrigo Toscano


Saddle-stapled with hand-stamped card covers,
with outside cover featuring mind-bending artwork by Benjamin Grosser.

Notes, bios and such for issue 1 are here.

Submissions are open for the second issue; see the link on the right for guidelines.

CANNOT EXIST can be purchased by clicking on the button below, or (our preference), by sending a check, made out to Andy Gricevich, to:

c/o Andy Gricevich
3417 Stevens St.
Madison, WI 53705

Subscribe! 4 issues for $15.00! Click the "subscribe" link to do it.

rob mclennan has reviewed issue 1 here. Thanks, rob!

Contributors' Bios and Links for Issue 1

Rick Burkhardt's "Great Hymn of Thanksgiving" is frequently performed in its entirety by The Nonsense Company.

Ben Grosser has some photos of more paintings on his site.

Arielle Guy edits Turntable and Blue Light. Her chapbook, Gothenburg, can be purchased here.

Lisa Jarnot has a groovy website.

Laura Sims lives in Madison, Wisconsin. Her second book, Stranger, is forthcoming from Fence Books in 2008.

Rodrigo Toscano's latest book, Collapsible Poetics Theater, was a National Poetry Series 2007 winner. It will be published in 2008 by Fence Books. Toscano is the artistic director and writer for the Collapsible Poetics Theater (CPT). His polyvocalic pieces, poetics plays, and body-movement poems, have been performed at the Disney Redcat Theater in Los Angeles, Ontological-Hysteric Poet’s Theater Festival, Poet's Theater Jamboree 2007, and the Yockadot Poetics Theater Festival. Toscano is originally from the Borderlands of California. He works in Manhattan at the Labor Institute, and lives in the township of Brooklyn.

What a deal! The first four issues in one package!

You can get the first four issues of CANNOT EXIST for just $15.00, shipping included. Back issues are scant these days, so act now!

To do so, click the button, or (our preference) send a check to the address below.

Checks should be made out to "Andy Gricevich" and sent to:

c/o Andy Gricevich
4454-D Hillcrest Dr.
Madison, WI 53705

Please enclose your own address as well.