Just around the time I stopped posting here last month, news about VQR managing editor Kevin Morrisey’s suicide began to take a strange and I think unhealthy turn. I don’t really want to say more about it, except that, whatever went down at VQR, I think this is a case where most of the media coverage was sensationalized, seeming to cause more confusion than clarity. The best piece I read on the situation was by Steve Almond at The Rumpus. Like nearly all of Almond’s essays there, you should read it, whether you are interested in what happened at VQR or not; it’s not just about that. Really, read it if you haven’t. (And that great bunny-on-the-books picture is from Almond’s essay.)
Another sad thing that happened while this digest was dark was the death of George Hitchcock, founder & editor of kayak magazine (1964-1984), and source of one of my favorite quotes about literary magazines: “Little magazines are the furnace where American literature is being forged.” Hitchcock died at his home in Eugene, Oregon. He was 96.
Amherst College is launching a new print magazine, The Common—a name which may make one think of the creative commons and Larry Lessig, but which according to the editors is aimed to “foster regional creative spirit while stitching together a national and international community through publishing literature and art from around the world, bringing readers into a common space.” You can check out most of their first non-issue, issue zero, online, with work from Ted Conover, Don Share, Marina Tsvetaeva, and more. (FYI, submissions are open for their first issue.)
NewPages—admittedly covering more literary magazine news more continuously than Luna Park has recently—welcomes Jeremy Benson as their new Literary Magazine Review Editor. Well welcome, Jeremy.
Also on the lit mag job front, Barrelhouse is looking for a new art director—or as the mag’s editors put it:
Single, Black and White (Full Color Cover) Literary Magazine Seeks Art Director for Guidance, Production, Hugs, Binge-Drinking.
Finally, I got the below email the other week from Ann Kjellberg, editor of Little Star—and the note was both unusual and nice to receive, as I don’t tend to get such things from literary magazine editors, who (correct me if I am wrong) tend towards the apolitical:
Little Star is deeply grieved by the controversy over the fate of 51 Park Place. Though we are are but small, in a spirit of doing something rather than nothing, we today launch an occasional series of studies of Islamic culture in America in our time, our own little “center” of one, and call upon our fellow word-purveyors to do likewise. Where there is darkness, let there be literature!
If this spirit speaks for you, perhaps you can stand with us online.
(Here’s a link to a longer post on the subject from Kjellberg.)
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.