Today we have to make the difficult announcement that our beloved teammates Matthew Bookin and RE Katz are retiring from their positions at Peach Mag. While this is a loss for the Peach team, we're happy to know that Matthew and RE will always be a part of the broader Peach community, and we're taking this time to look back, hearts brimming with gratitude, at all they accomplished and contributed in their time as editors and colleagues.
Matthew, one of Peach Mag’s three founding editors, has served as our fiction and essays editor since our launch in 2016. He brought invaluable knowledge of indie publishing to the magazine at its outset, and has invested the time, labor, and resources crucial to sustaining Peach Mag throughout the three years since. A steadfast and keen-eyed supporter of talented emerging writers, Matthew has published dozens of their short stories and essays both at our website and in our in-print Yearbook series, and has reviewed dozens of their books, chapbooks, and journal publications for “Peach Picks,” our column of reading recommendations in Buffalo’s The Public. And, most epicly, when the magazine was nearing its first birthday in 2017, Matthew embarked on a poetry tour throughout the Northeast with fellow cofounder Rachelle Toarmino and Shabby Doll House heroes Lucy K Shaw and Oscar d’Artois for their legendary Peach Goth Tour, where he met and read with many of Peach Mag’s original supporters and contributors.
In his own words: “I've decided the time has come for me to retire from Peach Mag. I'm going to put all of my creative energy into some personal projects, get another book off the ground, and focus on family for a good long while. I am truly grateful that I was able to be a part of this with all of you and it's no empty sentiment when I say I wouldn't trade it for the world. Peach is in very good hands and I can't wait to see what's next.”
RE has been involved in Peach Mag since our infant first season. Originally a Season 1 contributor, we published two poems co-written by RE and Robin Lee Jordan at our website as well as in our Season 1 Yearbook, and featured them as a local opener at s01e04: Sarah Jean Grimm and Eric Amling. After the news hit that they would be moving from Buffalo to Chicago (exciting though a major loss for Buffalo’s poetry and arts community), we asked them to come on as a poetry editor, becoming the first editor to join our team in addition to the original three founders. In the two years since, RE has helped to select hundreds of poetry features for our website and anthologies, and has written dozens of reviews of work from emerging poets for “Peach Picks.” They’ve also served as a trusted advisor in launching projects like the Peach Gold in Poetry Award, and has helped us further our mission of building an inclusive and supportive space for writers and the communities in which they exist.
“Our Peach has blossomed so much this past year in defining our cultural identity as one invested not only in experimental writing and curatorial practice, but also in the literary magazine’s place as a support network and tool for building community,” RE said. “Couldn’t be prouder of how Peach finds new ways to be inclusive and generative for emerging voices.”
Though sad to see Matthew and RE go, we’re thrilled about whatever’s next on their horizons. RE was recently selected as a semifinalist for the YesYes Books Pamet River Prize for their manuscript, On Weather, and Matthew has been teasing a new writing project at open mics in Buffalo for the last few months. In the time since Peach’s founding, he has published two books — his debut novella, Honest Days (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018), and a microchapbook of prose poems, Palace (Ghost City Press, 2018) — and the promise of new Bookin books has all of us back at Peach excited.
What a wild ride these last few years have been, Matthew and RE! Thank you for everything. Your energies and insights will be greatly missed.