Sam Ruddick has a riveting new article up at Luna Park on the new (or fairly new) issue of Versal, an English-language lit mag from Amsterdam. More than simply writing a magazine review, Ruddick uses pieces from the issue to explore how words function in literature and what it is that draws us to melancholy narratives:
Nonetheless, it seems clear that these pieces share an interest in identity and loss. They paint a grim picture of the world. Think of it: if the common experience, the one shared across cultural and geographical borders, is loss, if the “insight… that can be applied everywhere” is only that the one certain and immovable fact of life is loss, it’s a sad, sad world. I would almost call it hopeless. But for some reason I still keep coming back to an image in the closing paragraph of “Suit.” Our narrator tells us that the dealership is having some kind of promotion on Saturday, and imagines herself standing next to a machine that makes bubbles and blows them into the air. They “float out…carried by the currents of passing cars.” Most of them will burst, she says, if not against the silly sign she holds, then against the silly suit she has to wear. But, she says, “some will make it across the street.”
And to those, we attach our hope.
Remember ‘zines? (Okay, so maybe you never forgot, but I’ve been losing touch ever since I moved away from Portland and Powell’s Books.) Michael Berger writes on The Rumpus about a ZineWiki he stumbled upon—and, from it, how he came back around to one of my own favorite magazines from the past: Hermenaut.
Coinciding with the Copenhagen Climate talks, Poetry magazine’s newest issue focuses on the environment. Or so their email said, but the issue seems a bit more diverse, and some poems don’t seem very environmentally-minded at all (such as Nate Klug’s memorable “True Love“). Who knows though—so far I’ve only made it through the editors’ always great podcast for the issue and John Kinsella’s very environment-focused essay, “Vermin: A Notebook“:
I watched how obvious edge-effects like roads and even fencelines with firebreaks work as imposition or are adapted into larger pictures of flight and crossover involving rocky ledges, gullies, and vegetation. In watching, I understand how better to write a poetry of resistance that will declare the necessity of preserving this region. Can it operate without me shouting out my poems against the shooters, the shires? Whatever the answer is, I do know that every act of resistance adds together, and remaining non-aggressive but resolute in response is what slows the assault against the environment. The assault is remorseless.
What is being published out of Brooklyn, anyway? Is it really the work of generations of gentrification novlelists? So argues Elizabeth Gumport in N1BR issue 5—the book review supplement of N+1—ending with the superb final conceit that “All Brooklyn fiction is historical fiction.” Beautiful, no matter if it’s true or not.
/Ubu Editions: publishing the unpublishable.
The Atlantic Monthly decides not only to be the first magazine to sell single short stories for the Kindle, but they will also charge 4 times as much as One Story does for a single story. And One Story will actually print the story out and mail it to your house.
In the online edition of Time, Claire Suddath uses McSweeney’s recent San Francisco Panorama newspaper issue to make the argument that what readers really want are more magazines, not more newspapers. (Which, of course, would bode well for Time. Magazine. See how that works.)
Finally, fiction writer and The Collagist editor Matt Bell adds to American Short Fiction‘s fantastic ongoing discussion on its blog about about online publishing:
At the beginning of the decade, almost ten years ago, I found the online world of literary publishing, and what I found there was revelatory: all these magazines publishing short fiction and poetry and essays.