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New Lit on the Block :: Action, Spectacle

Action, Spectacle online literary magazine logo

Publishing twice year, Action, Spectacle is a new open-access online magazine of just about everything you could want: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays, graphic literature, comics, interviews, reviews, and still and video art. A spectacle of options indeed, but actually, the publication draws its name from Marxist theorist, Guy Debord’s well-known book, The Society of the Spectacle, in which he suggests, “All that once was directly lived has become mere representation.” However, ‘mere’ is not the word that comes to mind when viewing contributions to Action, Spectacle.

The publication was begun by Adam Day, as he says, for “the sheer joy of getting to see what’s out there, getting to feature new voices, getting to feature work we love.” Joining him behind the scenes are Prose Editors Kate Tough, novelist and story writer, and Sarah Rose Cadorette, Creative Writing MFA and a Travel and Social Advocacy BA, both from Emerson College. “We also have several guest editors per issue,” Day adds, “Usually up to ten.”

Day himself brings some credentials as author of Left-Handed Wolf (LSU Press), and Model of a City in Civil War (Sarabande Books), and the recipient of a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship for Badger, Apocrypha, and of a PEN America Literary Award.

For writers looking to submit works, Day explains that “all general submissions are read by the editors. We do not have screeners. There is also work published from creators solicited by our guest editors. We do not provide feedback, and our response time is usually a month.”

A well-run publication with experienced writers and editors on the team, Day comments that “it’s been super rewarding starting and publishing Action, Spectacle. Thankfully we have yet to run into any major challenges in keeping the publication going, other than some glitches with our old website.”

For readers, Action, Spetacle has much to offer. Day says, “The magazine exists at the intersection of the socio-political, the cultural, and the arts. We put a spectrum of voices online, seeking both debut and established writers and thinkers creating intriguing and original work, whether relatively conventional or extremely experimental, and we don’t shy away from the idea of a text that might be ‘difficult.’ We employ the broadest possible aesthetic when considering submissions, including translations and hybrid and collaborative work.”

Some recent contributors include Anne Carson, Douglas Kearney, Ron Padgett, Shelley Wong, Rodrigo Toscano, Denise Duhamel, Lidija Dimkovska, and Anna Badkhen.

The future for Action, Spectacle includes “building readership and continuing to publish fresh and exciting work,” as well as an annual chapbook contest judged by Dara Wier. A good look forward for both readers and writers.