I want to write this week about the great number of people and publications interested in lit mags recently. For example: The New Yorker‘s Book Bench blog has continued its weekly look at lit mags, “The Little Review.” This week, TNY takes a closer look at recent issues of N+1, Lapham’s Quarterly, and Bookforum.
Then there is, of course, Kevin Larimer’s well established “Literary MagNet” column in Poets & Writers, where he has recently taken over as editor. Each issue, Larimer chooses 6 or so mags to highlight, this time looking at the new magazine Little Star, the 10th anniversary playing card issue of DIAGRAM (portions of which are pictured at right), Amy Hempel’s issue of Alaska Quarterly Review, and others.
Laura Pearson, Editor Emeritus over at Is Greater Than, has begun yet another series for the magazine on indie presses, this time to be called “Pressing Issues.” In the first installment yesterday, Pearson discusses the exciting re-lauch of The Baffler, the great fortune at Bellevue Literary Review‘s press offshoot, Bellevue Literary Press, and more news from other small presses.
PEN America magazine blogs about “Literary magazines here and abroad, now and in the future…,” discussing N+1‘s unique Magazines in the Americas project, Massachusetts Review‘s plan to publish more work in translation, and PEN America‘s own upcoming roundtable on international literary magazines.
In their latest issue, Guernica published the essay “Third Degree Burns” by Jay Baron Nicorvo from CLMP. The piece is an even-handed rebuttal to VQR‘s Ted Genoways’s much more hasty condemnation of a good portion of contemporary fiction and literary magazine publishing earlier this year at Mother Jones, “The Death of Fiction.” Nicorvo still finds fault with much literary publishing—but not with writers or lit mags. It is rather the structure and expectations of contemporary book publishing that Nicrovo sees as the problem, writing:
At commercial publishers, blockbuster books pay the bills and earn the promotions, and so editors, if they want to keep their jobs, acquire for the mass market. If you pay attention to who’s coming and going at the commercial publishers—and there’s a hell of a lot more going than coming—the business comes to seem like a game of musical chairs. When the music stops, the editor who isn’t on the acquiring end of a New York Times bestseller—Poor Little Bitch Girl, anyone?—is left without a desk chair.
Every Tuesday, Travis Kurowski presents Luna Digest, a 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.