From the publisher

CLIFFORD J. KURKOWSKI  (Writes under the pseudonym -- C. J. Kurkowski)

(personal note from 1996)

Creating a literary-arts 'zine like 256 Shades of Grey was no easy task. In fact, going into the publishing industry was not my first career choice. What I really wanted to be, when I finally grew up, was an English professor in a small town somewhere in the Midwest. Okay, so I'm in the Midwest, in a small town, half my dream is complete. But, coming from a big city like New York, where I'm originally from, I really don't think I would have had this kind of opportunity. A notable quote for this endeavor, "big fish in a small pond."

My original goal for this literary-arts 'zine, when I first created it with my editors 20 issues ago, was to publish new writers that had a vision, a talent, and a direction in fiction and poetry for the 21st century. So far, we have succeeded with this goal by printing edgy fiction and poetry. Yes, there are many ups and downs with a literary-arts 'zine like this, for example, what to print, how to create a distribution, questioning how big you get, and how far can you go. But, through all the trials and tribulations we have gone through, we have remained faithful to our readers and our writers by creating a monthly publication, which in turn, is a stepping-stone for new writers and also brings reading entertainment to the literary community.

As I finish my last semester of coursework in the graduate program for English at the University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire (Department of English) I know it will be time to move on and experience new opportunities. Though, I won't have my degree until the end of the year, I feel that the time is right for me to move forward with a career in publishing. Right now, I have my goals set on being the managing editor of a magazine in the Twin Cities area or somewhere else in the country. I realized that I have learned a lot by creating a literary-arts 'zine like 256, and much of it will stay with me forever. In fact, I have probably gone through as much pain, financial burden, stress, and mental frustration as any other publisher who has ever started their own magazine.

As of June 1, 1996 I will be setting my sights on working in the publishing industry as either a managing editor or publicist. I have the skills, education, determination, and know-how to get the job done. But, I want to make sure I work for a company that is progressive in their views of an ever-changing multi-media world, and can stimulate my creativity, not repress it.

If you would like to know more about me or have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me at either: blkgrnt@mindspring.com

Many thanks to all of the people who have logged on to 256 Shades of Grey.

Clifford J. Kurkowski 



256 SHADES OF GREY was started on January 15th, 1995 by four students attending the University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire. 256 SHADES OF GREY was set up to be an outside project (meaning no affiliation with the University) so it could fulfill the literary-arts needs of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. When the premier issue of 256 Shades of Grey came out, the four of us decided that we would do a mass distribution of the magazine. This meant distributing it to local taverns, coffee shops, cafes, the University, and other local businesses. To our surprise, we seemed to have generated an instant hit on our hands. As our popularity grew the editorial staff decided to play with 256's surname by calling it, Eau Claire's underground literary/arts 'zine. At first we deemed it an underground 'zine because we wanted to print anything, but because of 256's quick rise in popularity we knew that we weren't going to be able to print everything and anything.

Later, as 256's popularity strengthened, the editorial staff noticed that 'zine was being circulated in the high schools and among other Universities in the Wisconsin and Minnesota area. We had a concern that if 256 were to grow in popularity, would we be able to keep it edgy. Once we knew we had a readership base, we decided that it was in our best interest to carefully start to pick and choose what went into 256. Once we started making stronger editorial decisions we then changed the full name of the 'zine to: 256 Shades of Grey, Eau Claire, Wisconsin's Avant-Pop Literary/Arts 'zine. With in a month, we also created a web page for the 'zine and uploaded a majority of the work to the website.

Right now, as our 'zine grows in popularity, readership, and stature we decided to tighten our production values. Besides changing our design we have also been receiving quality work from new and established writers and poets. Many of the writers that submit to us know we are a small press, to our writers we area a stepping-stone to bigger publishing houses. Writers submit their work to us because they see that we have a keen eye for publishing work that will be remembered today and into the 21st century.

If you would like to know more about 256 Shades of Grey we can be found in the following reference books: POET'S MARKET, THE INTERNATIONAL DIRECTORY OF LITTLE MAGAZINES AND SMALL PRESSES, DIRECTORY OF POETRY PUBLISHERS, and ELECTRONIC JOURNALS, NEWSLETTERS, AND ACADEMIC DISCUSSION LISTS. As we continue to grow, we would like to ask our readers to please review our magazine and comment on our writers. Thank you for logging onto our web site.

Clifford J. Kurkowski



Cliff Kurkowski's resume


256 SHADES OF GREY is a literary-arts 'zine that was published monthly by Black Granite Publications.

If you have any comments or would like any additional information please write to: BGP, 1213 N. Sherman Ave, PMB 145, Madison, WI 54703. Email address: blkgrnt@mindspring.com .

256 SHADES OF GREY copyright 1995-2003 by Black Granite Publications. All rights reserved by contributors.