My daughter has been telling me for some time how I should start a literary magazine for kids, or, at other times, that I should make a children’s section for Luna Park. I have told her many times that there are already magazines like Cricket and Stone Soup, and that, as far as Luna Park is concerned, I don’t think there’s much of an audience for children there. Then I again explain the adjectival definition of “niche.”
In Narrative Magazine, Joyce Carol Oates ponders the late Ontario Review, Donald Barthelme, John Gardner, death, and influence in her essay, “In the Absence of Mentors/Monsters: Notes on Writerly Influence.”
“The Dungeon Master has detention.” New RPG fiction from Sam Lipsyte in the latest New Yorker. Yep: New Yorker fiction with Dungeons & Dragons as the subject. (Reminds me of a fairly complex RPG story I heard Joshua Furst read at Greenlight Bookstore last summer—if anyone sees the story published somewhere, please let me know; editors, I’d ask him about it. It was pretty damn good, if I recall.) Here’s a bit from the new Lipsyte piece:
The Dungeon Master comes around the desk and I think he’s about to make a speech, but he lowers his head and spears me in the gut. We crash together to the floor. He squeezes my throat. I palm his chin and push. Marco screams, and I’m almost out of air when Brendan climbs the Dungeon Master’s back and bites his head. They both tumble away. The door bangs open and Dr. Varelli leans in.
“Play nice, you goddam puppies!” he bellows, then shuts the door.
We lie there, heaving. My wrist throbs. I smell raspberry soda in the carpet.
On that note, Luna Park received a book of short stories in the mail the other week—yes, not a magazine. The book Vida by Patricia Engel, an author I first fell in love with years ago in Boston Review, reading in their pages her first published story, “Lucho.” I continued seeing and admiring her work, again at Boston Review, then later in Harpur Palate and Guernica. Though I’ve already read half the stories in the collection, I look forward to reading more work from Engel, whose fiction—as fiction editor Junot Diaz says he wants for Boston Review—is often so sharp it cuts the eye.
The Census Bureau counts 232,581,397 Americans, 82.6 percent of the population, living in the nation’s cities, but if our moralists and intelligence services are to be believed, they do so at no small risk to the safety of their persons and the security of their souls. This issue of Lapham’s Quarterly addresses the obvious contradiction. If the city is a sewer of vice and a slough of despond, why do so many people choose to live there?
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.