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Boulevard – Fall 2004

Ever wondered what would happen if a mermaid were inverted with scales on the upper half?

Ever wondered what would happen if a mermaid were inverted with scales on the upper half? Well, Peter Stine has, and if you want to lap up his sparkling, delicious poem on the question, dive into the Fall 2004 issue of Boulevard. Accompanying the magazine’s thoughtful selection of fiction, poetry, essays and art mostly by famed contributors (including Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Hoffman and Edmund White) is a unique feature, the symposium. Here, various writers (and, occasionally, Boulevard Editor Richard Burgin) weigh in on a question of cultural significance: What is most heartening and/or disheartening about contemporary publishing? Do you regard film as high an art as literature? And, in this issue, which writer or artist do you think is the most underrated and/or overrated and why? James Nolan offers a crisp disdain for the publishing industry’s Next New Thing (overrated) counteracted by the blessings of regional literary activity (underrated). He ends with this marvelous finger in your ribcage: “And as for the mass audience out there paging through the New York Times Book Review in search of the overrated Next New Thing, I suspect these readers are much like Tantalus. Wherever they may live, they are starving to death just around the corner from an authentic feast.”

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