Commentary

Brief comments on, and at times from, the lit mag world.



Raconteurs & Malcontents: Dwight Garner on Oxford American’s History and Future

After receiving the new issue of Oxford American under a new editor, The New York Times’ Dwight Garner reminisces about picking up the magazines first issue in Oxford, Mississippi: The Oxford American’s first issue, published early in 1992, announced its ambitions. I happened to be traveling in Mississippi that spring. I remember discovering this issue,

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The Truth About TriQuarterly?

Gina Frangello’s recent “Lit-Link Round-up” post at The Rumpus is probably the most interesting—and detailed—thing written yet about the 2010 TriQuarterly transition from national print to student-run online publication: I briefly served as the faculty editor for TriQuarterly Online when the magazine was first transitioning from print.  Christ, that was a hot mess.  Susan Hahn and Ian Morris

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The Economist Says Lit Mags Should Be Avoided

But, unless you’re Harold Bloom or something, don’t bring a literary magazine—that would be stupid. Here’s the beginning paragraph from a recent The Economist blog post about the launch of The American Reader comparing lit mags to, well, shit you don’t want to be putting your hands on: Short literary fiction and critical essays are the

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Dear Literary Magazine, Thank You for Sending Us Your Rejection Letter

  Over at The Morning News, Jamie Allen offers an insightful (albeit farcical) critique of the existence of form rejection letters in the domain of literature and artistic creation—pondering, “How can we writers be inspired to mine our psyches for our truest and deepest humanities, and then send these efforts to you for humbling inspection,

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Notes Towards a Theory of the Literary Magazine: Part One, The Textual Condition

I’ve been reading a lot these past weeks in the trenches of literary theory, literary history, magazine history & etc.—basically anything and everything that seems it will help me better understand the literary magazine as a thing in itself. A definition. Some kind of logical framework I can situate these things within. There is not

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Pittsburgh = Books

Outside of cities with established literary and publishing scenes (basically, outside of San Francisco and New York City), how does one establish a broader literary culture? Karen Lillis: San Fran and New York are certainly prestigious and concentrated book towns, but so many cities have active lit scenes or tight-knit poetry communities. Chicago is a great

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Is Something Missing from the Pushcart Prize?

I am a big fan of the Pushcart Prize anthologies; I own the first 1976 anthology, the 25th anniversary edition, and each one from the past six years. Pushcart editor Bill Henderson is something of a hero of mine, a feeling probably held by much of the literary publishing world; I use his book The

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#Occupy Publishing

Yesterday I received two copies of the first issue of OCCUPY!, an Occupy Wall Street inspired newspaper from the editors of n+1. More than many, perhaps, I tend to see literature in periodical form—by which I mean magazines, journals, newspapers, zines, etc—as an essential part of literary history and culture, in a tradition stretching back to

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What Were the Best Lit Mags of 2011?

Luna Park will be posting its first Best Lit Mags of the Year list next month. I am both nervous and anxious to finish the list—nervous for obvious reasons, and anxious because I don’t remember seeing such a thing before for lit mags. If such a list existed in 1978, the first issue of New

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Smartliterature

Somewhere along the way,  I made a conscious decision to not buy an iPhone, or an iPad, or until recently, an iPod touch (which actually belongs to my daughter). Aside from one small snag, I’ve been nothing but happy with my Android device. It plays nice with all of the other Google things I do.

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