Luna Digest, 3/23

Perhaps the most interesting single thing happening in lit mag publishing is the incorporation of videos with short fiction—either as trailers, teasers, or incorporated with entire texts. And I think the most interesting and productive activity in this area is being done by Electric Literature, primarily with their short story trailers (one of those silly sounding ideas that really works when done right) and their single sentence animation videos. The first short story video i remember seeing and being absolutely awed by was Ninth Letter‘s reworking of Kelly Link’s seminal story “The Girl Detective.” The reason this topic is on my mind now is I can’t stop watching (and thinking about) Vance Reeser’s recent single sentence animation for Matt Sumell’s story “Little Things.” I haven’t gotten around to reading Sumell’s story yet, but Resser’s video works on its own, precisely and magnificently unpacking the magic of reading for all to watch.

FictionDaily editor David Backer offers up some words for Luna Park on February online fiction—namely that people seem to really like reading about other people:

After reading a lot of online fiction last month, I’m noticing something: people like people. People like reading about people, anyway. But this isn’t carefully said. “People” is too general a term for what I mean.

Smashing looking website for the new Future Issue of Take the Handle, which includes new work from Mary Miller, Zach Dodson, and others.

spring2010map-thumb-730x510-1211Lapham’s Quarterly maps out the evolutions of four stories: Pygmalion, Faust, Oedipus, and Leviathan.

Fiction returns to The Atlantic.

Some fine (very fine) looking lit mag branding.

Significant Objects and Electric Literature team up this week—or, SO x EL.

Must see: What an iPad magazine reading experience could look like (if a publisher had the budget).

Jacob Silverman talks with Second Pass “maestro” John Williams on the VQR blog about online reviewing, day jobs, and Twitter.

I’m on Twitter now, for whatever small good it might do the site’s traffic, but the site frustrates me as often as it pleases me. If you spend even a few hours away from it, you come back to an overwhelming number of posts and links. And inside baseball gets repeated ad nauseum: For instance, when Lorin Stein was recently named the editor of The Paris Review (smart choice), every literary or semi-literary Twitterer posted about it, so that you ended up reading the same “news” dozens of times. This happens with most major announcements about personnel, awards, or provocative reviews. For someone who runs a web site, I’m kind of a Luddite, and I’m not at all convinced that Twitter is a positive development. I sometimes feel like the constant flow of places like Twitter will eventually make smart link round-ups more worthwhile again, but it’s possible that I’m just being passed by the times. I’m 36, after all, which these days might be the equivalent of 78.


Roxane Gay says the new issue of Giganticis damn sexy and a fine publication.”

Poetry editor Christian Wiman offers some comments on the recent passing of the largest benefactress in lit mag history, Ruth Lilly:

As readers of this magazine will know, Poetry—and poetry—have benefited greatly from Ruth Lilly’s generosity and love of the art. Even before the immense gift to this magazine eight years ago, she had created fellowships for younger writers, established a major prize for a poet’s lifework, and endowed a permanent chair for a poet at Indiana University. Not everyone has approved, though. “Willy Lilly Nilly” was the title of one piece about Ms. Lilly’s bequest in 2002, which Slate inexplicably reprinted as a kind of callous obituary this past January. The New York Times notice of her death seemed equally off-track and condescending. Behold the whims of the rich, these writers implied, floating so dreamily, so untouchably above us all.

Every Tuesday, Travis Kurowski presents Luna Digesta selection of news from the world of literary magazines. Travis is the editor of Luna Park, a magazine founded on the idea that journals are as deserving of critical attention as other artistic works.

  1. finnegan flawnt

    wow – interesting! looking at the lit map of latham’s quarterly, i noticed that regarding Oedipus, they forgot to mention pier paolo pasolini’s oedipo re – arguably a lot more important than the movie by canadian tyrone guthrie (whoever that was)? … this stuff is all very flash and good eye food. i haven’t looked beyond this blog post but i would hope to find some analysis what “the incorporation of videos with short fiction—either as trailers, teasers, or incorporated with entire texts” does to the story as such. does anybody know of such an analysis?

  2. Travis Kurowski

    I don’t know of any such analysis myself, but I would love to hear about any if you find some.

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