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Published May 14, 2009
Canadian lit mags are still putting a call out for support. According to Managing Editor Rosalynn Tyo of The New Quarterly, "the Department of Canadian Heritage plans to eliminate funding for magazines with less than 5000 in annual ciculation as of April 2010...All that would remain on the table, of what's on my table anyway, is Geist and Canadian Living."

Like so many other quality, small literary publications, TNQ and other Canadian magazines could probably get by for a short period of time without this support, but more to the point is demanding the arts continue to be recognized for their cultural value and importance and supported as such. Not, as Tyo points out, forcing profitability and commercial viability as the marker of survival. Some things we just know are good for us, even if they don't make us rich.

Speaking from a state (Michigan) where we've seen massive funding cuts for arts and historical organizations, it's a sad, sad existence. And once it's taken away, don't think you're going to see it back any time soon. Fight while you still can, Canada, and for those of you with any say in this, visit TNQ's website for information on how to participate. Of course, purchasing subscriptions always helps.
Published May 13, 2009
According to Editor Robert Fogarty, the Antioch Review Spring 2009 issue introduces the new feature From Our Archives: "Beginning with this issue we will reprint a famous piece from our archives (essays, stories, poems)."

I've previously heard some controversy about publications doing this, as reprinting already published works takes up valuable real estate that hungry new writers are ever eager to fill. However, Antioch's approach to this, simply stated, is intriguing: "Read it and see how it stood the test of time. Is it gold or pyrite?"

Regardless of the hungry masses, this is a great question to ask and have the opportunity to explore. As often as I run across "old" lit mags and am thrilled to find some of the first works of now-famous authors, there are far more where-are-they-now authors. Granted, we can't all be famous, or even a recognized name, but probably more the issue: is what was written for the time, or for all time? And does its having been the former rather than the latter render it "pyrite"? I'll be interested to see what Antioch discovers with their new feature and some feedback from their readers.
Published May 07, 2009
The Puritan Editors Spencer Gordon and Tyler Willis have sent notice that as of May 1, 2009, "The Puritan is officially out of commission." Citing "including insurmountable financial debt, a dramatic change in location, and the current abysmal economy," the magazine will be on "permanent hiatus." As with so many mags, that pretty much means done unless a lot of money were to fall into their laps. Our thanks to The Puritan for their work in bringing new voices onto the lit scene for so many years.
Published May 07, 2009
Intrigued as I am by magazine covers, the "Cowboy College" line on the cover of Antioch Review (Spring 2009) drew me in. Editor Robert Fogerty takes a moment to introduce Bruce Fleming's lead essay on his 'student-centered-learning' experience at Deep Springs, "a unique educational endeavor located in the wilderness in California." Fogerty writes, "There is more here than a look at a quirky college; it is, rather, an examination of educational vlaues and vexing questions about authority and a look at a slice of contemporary youth culture. And most important it is an essay that looks at a much more fundamental issue: what is the purpose of an education?" Explored, though I don't dare say answered in Flemings essay, this is just the start of a very diverse, conversation-starter issue of Antioch.
Published April 15, 2009
The Spring 2009 issue of Zyzzyva offers readers a unique look at "textimage" with over 100 contributions in this single collection.

From the Editor's Note:

"Digital screens mash up words and pictures and videos and sound and links (to everything). The printed page segregates elements, putting them into their linear, orthogonal, rightful places.

"In this issue, we explore the spectrum of textimage, instances in which text and image collide and collude on the page-from the artist playing with that basic literary unit, the letter, to the writer sketching and doodling in his notebook.

Our take is not scholarly, but deliberately ecumenical, using examples from our pages over the past quarter century..."

Read more from Howard Junker, as well as view several of the works from this issue on Zyzzyva.
Published March 26, 2009
Jonathan Freedman, University of Michigan Professor of English and American Culture, has been named editor of Michigan Quarterly Review, the University of Michigan's flagship scholarly and literary journal. Professor Freedman holds a B.A. from Northwestern and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University, where he taught before coming to Michigan. He has also taught at Caltech, Oxford University, and the Bread Loaf School of English. He is the author of three books: Professions of Taste (1991), The Temple of Culture (2001), and Klezmer America (2007), and has edited numerous other volumes, including, with Sara Blair, Jewish in America, originally a special issue of MQR. In addition to his previous work with MQR, Freedman was a founding editor of the Yale Journal of Criticism and a member of its editorial collective.

MQR is a journal of the humanities, publishing essays, interviews, memoirs, fiction, poetry, and book reviews. Since 1977 MQR has been edited by University of Michigan Professor of English Laurence Goldstein, whose acute literary sensibilities and critical discernment have made the magazine an important venue for new creative work, and whose broad interests have encouraged its interdisciplinary scope.

He instituted the practice of devoting one issue a year to the exploration across disciplines of some topic of special interest, which has ranged from 1979's "The Moon Landing and Its Aftermath" and 1980-81's "The Automobile and American Culture" to the recent volumes on "Vietnam: Beyond the Frame," The Documentary Imagination," and "China." In the last two decades MQR has published work by Margaret Atwood, Robert Coles, Carol Gilligan, Maxine Hong Kingston, Barry Lopez, Czeslaw Milosz, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Rorty, Eric J. Sundquist, John Updike, William Julius Wilson, and other authorities in their fields, as well as some of the finest contemporary fiction and poetry. Work appearing in MQR is often selected for inclusion in anthologies such as the annual Pushcart Prize, Best American Essays, and Best American Poetry.

Professor Goldstein will complete his editorship with the Spring 2009 issue of MQR.
Published March 24, 2009
In "Why should I pay for your hobby?" (MastheadOnline) Stacey May Fowles responds to the CPF's established 5,000 annual circulation floor and the ignorance it will sustain: "But if you can’t get your business going, why should the average Canadian taxpayer be responsible for your personal passion? Your niche interests? Your 'little' magazine?"
Published March 23, 2009
Literary publishers protest cuts
Malahat Review among smaller periodicals facing loss of funding
By Randy Boswell, Canwest News Service
March 11, 2009

"The new Canada Periodical Fund, announced last month by Heritage Minister James Moore and still being designed by government officials, would deny certain federal grants to most publications with annual sales of fewer than 5,000 copies. 'The government is improving the way it does business to meet the changing needs of Canadians,' Moore said when the program was announced in February. 'The way in which support to Canadian periodicals is delivered will be reformed to maximize value for money and to seize opportunities in today's global, technological environment.'" [read the rest here]
Published March 18, 2009
Without the usual fanfare I've seen on lit mag covers and PR, River Teeth celebrates its 10th year of publication with a fabulously packed double issue. I was surprised at the size, which is what led me to the Editors' Notes (mind you even seeing "Volume 10" didn't set off any anniversary alarms). As quietly and as calmly as their publication has always presented itself (same gorgeous blue-tinted cover), Editors Joe Mackall and Daniel W. Lehman make no grand statements about a decade of publishing creative non-fiction. Instead, and as always, they defer to the efforts of their writer's and to their ever-important readership:

"Ten years ago we penned the first editors' notes to our readers. At this point ten years later, we should be writing at length about our humble beginnings and singing of the heights we've reached. Our words should reveal just the right amount of nostalgia, pride, and just a hint of self-congratulation. But there is no time for that; or rather, no space.

"We have to keep this note short. In the ten years River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative has been around, we have received over twenty thousand submissions, and we've published about three hundred of those twenty thousand. Most of what we reject is the work of fine writers. And now we've had to reject the work of writers whose work we've previously accepted. Worse than that - we've had to reject the very same pieces we once accepted! We had to choose the best forty or so pieces of the three hundred we've published. To make matters worse, we've had to divide the pieces up into four categories: Essay, Memoir, Literary Journalism, and Craft and Criticism. If there were no space concerns, we'd write a few sentences about how difficult it can be to say, for instance, where memoir ends and a kind of literary journalism begins, and how much we like pieces that flirt with those boundaries. If we had more space, we'd brag about our Pushcart Prize and our Best American Essays. We'd love to pat ourselves on the back and tell you how many Pulitzer Prize winners we've published — and with even more pride — shine a light on the people whose River Teeth publication was their first.

"Saying no to our own writers was the hardest thing we've had to do as editors. We hate to reject a piece we love because there's simply no more space. So the best thing we can do right now is to shut up, and thank you for reading."
Published March 14, 2009
Can I just say how happy I am with the new Chattahoochee Review covers? Okay, I will. Not that traditionally-styled lit mag covers don't have their place, but with the concern about lit mags being able to survive these days, and the more "image-driven" culture in which we live, it does become more important (perhaps critical) for publications to be able to "catch" new readers. Covers are the place we all begin, like it or not: we do judge our reading material by this to some degree. Funny enough, you can't even find an image of CR's old cover on their website. Erased from memory. Perhaps they'll end up as collector's editions on ebay.
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