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 publishing world’s equivalent of weapons-grade plutonium. Dense, highly refined, and for all but a professional few, something best avoided. The world’s demand for the stuff is met by a handful of respectable quarterlies, such as the Paris Review and Granta, and countless “little magazines” that publish experimental fiction and serve more as a proving ground for authors than something people actually read. READ MORE >
In the mail from Tod Lippy of Esopus—Subscribe. Get art.
Dear Friend of Esopus:
I have incredibly exciting news to share.
In 1992, not long after I moved to New York City, I went to see artist Robert Gober’s site-specific installation at the Dia Art Foundation. I was already a huge fan of Gober’s work, but I wasn’t prepared for how deeply this haunting, intense exhibition would strike me on a personal level. It offered resounding proof of the transformative powers of the very best contemporary art, and it’s no understatement to say that Gober’s exhibition was a major factor in my decision to pursue a career in the arts, which ultimately led to the founding of Esopus.
With all of this in mind, I am thrilled to announce that Robert Gober has just created an extraordinary artwork exclusively for Esopus subscribers. This limited edition will be sent as a complimentary gift to all current subscribers of the magazine next month. (It takes the place of the upcoming fall issue, Esopus 19, whose publication has been postponed until spring 2013 to allow for a redesign of the magazine, as well as the creation of a brand-new Esopus website, which launches in November.)
Part of the impact of Gober’s work comes from its often surprising—and productively disorienting—use and juxtaposition of materials, and for that reason we have decided not to offer a description or image of the piece. A few basic facts: It will arrive in a cardboard mailer very similar to that used to deliver copies of the magazines to subscribers, and the edition size will be determined by the number of subscribers we have in our records the day production on the edition begins. PLEASE NOTE: The work is not for sale, and it will be available only to current subscribers.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a magnificent new work by one of the most acclaimed contemporary artists in the world, and I encourage those of you whose subscriptions have lapsed and haven’t renewed—as well as those who haven’t yet subscribed to the magazine—to do so at your earliest convenience.
Corrected Slogans (A Publication in Four Acts)
Act 1: Poems for America
155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn, NY
Saturday, September 15, 2–6 p.m.
$5 for access to all sessions, free for members
On September 15, Triple Canopy will host the first half of Poems for America, a pair of symposia on poetics and conceptual art. Participants for this first symposium include Michael Corris, Aaron Kunin,Margaret Lee, K. Silem Mohammad, Ken Okiishi, Katie Raissian, Gretchen Wagner, and Matvei Yankelevich.
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, when you are so unwilling to return the favor with even a primitive stab at creativity?”
Here’s the start:
Dear Literary Magazine,
Thank you for sending us your rejection letter. Despite its evident merit, we’re sorry to say we cannot accept it at this time. And by “evident merit,” we mean its merit must be evident to someone, and perhaps that someone is you, because we just couldn’t find it. We mean “evident merit” like this: “evident (?) merit (?).”
No, seriously—while we don’t normally spend more than a paragraph rejecting rejection letters, we thought it might be beneficial to dedicate a little more time to your work.
First, your rejection letter doesn’t feel especially unique—at least in the context of other rejection letters we’ve seen. As a direct representation of a literary magazine with a mission statement to “bring the most honest and original writing” to its “readership of informed thinkers,” this is a concern. Consider it this way: 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, when you are so unwilling to return the favor with even a primitive stab at creativity?
We even briefly wondered if you were attempting a deadpan parody of the rejection-letter genre. But then it occurred to us that you may be hiding behind worn rejection-letter clichés—that you may be afraid to be genuine. So many young writers are afraid to be genuine! Don’t fall into this trap. Instead, figure out how to be your most genuine.
Really—just check out the line-up:
Selected Shorts: An Evening with David Mitchell
Wed, Oct 17 at 7:30 pm
Selected Shorts: Tom Perrotta Presents The Best American Short Stories 2012
Wed, Nov 7 at 7:30 pm
Selected Shorts: Comedy!—with host Alec Baldwin
Wed, Nov 28 at 7:30 pm
Selected Shorts: An Evening with Radiolab
Wed, Dec 12 at 7:30 pm
Selected Shorts: Junot Diaz & Karen Russell
Wed, Jan 23 at 7:30 pm
The Oxford American has appointed Roger D. Hodge new editor of the magazine, after OA fired founding editor Marc Smirnoff earlier this year for what seems were sexual harassment charges. Ironically, Hodge has experience of his own with magazine foundations at odds with their editors—experience of a very different flavor, to be sure—as he was ousted from his four-year editorship of Harper’s magazine back in 2010, a controversial firing that also included longtime staff members Ben Metcalf and Ted Ross.
Below is the entire press release received this evening from OA:
Roger D. Hodge is the new editor of The Oxford American, becoming only the second editor in the magazine’s 20-year history.
Hodge was the editor of Harper’s Magazine from 2006-2010, and during his tenure the magazine was a National Magazine Award finalist seven times, winning in 2007 for fiction and in 2010 for reporting.
“The appointment of Roger Hodge as editor of The Oxford American will begin an exciting new era for the magazine,” said Warwick Sabin, publisher of The Oxford American. “He brings impeccable literary credentials as well as a rigorous experience editing Harper’s Magazine. Roger is a son of the South, having been born in Texas and educated at Sewanee. Roger has an intuitive understanding of the unique spirit and character of The Oxford American, and he is the perfect person to shepherd it in a rapidly evolving publishing landscape.” READ MORE >
Online Lit Mags
Daniel Roberts’s recently chose “12 of the Most Beautiful Literary Magazines Online” for Flavorwire. There are honestly some great picks here—Fiddleblack, Paper Darts, The Paris Review (of course)—but I can’t help notice that all the picks are doing pretty expected stuff when it comes to online reading.
Not that that’s bad. Just to say, there’s an entire category of beauty missing from the list, magazines that push the screen to do new things, ones that upset our reading expectations. Magazines like Triple Canopy, Born Magazine, and Slope. Magazines that make me hesitate using the word “magazine” to talk about them.
I mean, I like reading The Paris Review on my computer, and Guernica—which I read at least once a week—and many others from Roberts’s list. But I wouldn’t want to think that’s all there is when it comes to beautiful experiences reading literature online.
The following text—along with “Dark Sky #17″—was published on the Barrelhouse magazine website yesterday:
Gabe Durham here, Editor of the ghost of Dark Sky Magazine. For the last year, Christy Crutchfield, Sarah Boyer, Brian Mihok, Ted Powers, and I have been working the journal together. About a month ago, we completed our most recent issue, DSM #17 and I sent it off to the Founder/Publisher. A week later, he gave me the bad news: Dark Sky was shutting down. In fact, he’d already shut it down. The press too. Bummer.
So would we put up DSM #17 on a new site? Call it something different? All we knew was that this issue had to come out. It was too good. We were too excited about it. Then the editors of Barrelhouse stepped in and generously offered to host the issue on their site. The editors and contributors were unanimously in favor of this idea.
Now here it is: What has turned out to be our final issue. Thanks for reading, everybody. Call it Dark Sky #17. Call it the Fall 2012 Online Issue of Barrelhouse. Just don’t call it a comeback.
And check out the vestiges of the Dark Sky website, too.