"Their "cheap" aesthetic was also translated to the web, where early online poetry journals like Can We Have Our Ball Back? sported a deliberately rudimentary html design, eschewing a more savvy, professional look even with improvements in user-friendly web design interfaces. These production values were in part an homage, exhibiting a luddite-like nostalgia for the "authentic" engagement with poetry, while invoking the "gift economies" that served their modes of distribution. Yet, this kind of publishing was still empowered to make a statement through its embattled marginality, newly necessary in the face of new mainstreams and new media."--Matvei Yankelevich
"Many online magazines, such as can we have our ball back?, have ended but arguably not failed. [The editors] contributed significantly to the literary magazine landscape, paving the way for us by simply publishing terrific poets.
On July 3, 2003, [the editors] wrote "I'm thinking about killing can we have our ball back? In the conservatory. With the rope. And this isn't so I'll get a bunch of emails saying, 'No, no, Joy Division, don't break up!' They should have broken up. All good things must destroy themselves. Eventually. All cookies get hard." Longevity, they reminds us, is not necessarily the best or only measure of worth.
Yet most of us still want longevity and admire it in a magazine in part, perhaps, because we want to hang on to the illusion that our work will endure. When you visit the old url for can we have our ball back?, the worst fears about online magazines come true as a site unfolds declaring, 'Welcome to the love site for romantic singles.' What a tragic fate, one might think, for the poems that once lived on that site, even if many had been reprinted in the poets' books or in anthologies.
Remember however, the power of the Wayback Machine, which provides access of web pages preserved as they were when they were when they were live. Here you can spend an afternoon reading old issues of can we have our ball back?, discovering poems by Robert Pinsky, Anselm Berrigan, Jean Valentine, Ange Mlinko, Rebecca Wolff, and Joanna Klink, and more, all serving as a reminder that a variety of poets were being published online early on. Even the 'dead' magazines live on, while other online magazines have purposefully remained archived online at their own sites even when they have ceased publishing new issues."--Rebecca Morgan Frank
From the beginning, the editors have preferred to remain anonymous. We'd ask that in referring to this magazine elsewhere that you would omit the editor's name if at all possible.
But if you'd like to help edit this magazine, send an email to
You would not have to be anonymous, but that would be up to you. There are many poems to go through in the inbox and your help would be greatly appreciated.