My poem “Surfeit” has just gone live at Flyway, an online journal that takes as its mission “publishing [work] that explores the many complicated facets of the word environment – at once rural, urban, and suburban – and its social and political implications.”
Literary writing, as we all know, is a labor of love. What gets discussed even less often is the arguably larger labor of love that working at a literary magazine might be.
Twenty years ago, I sat the very back of a room at a hotel in Pittsburgh during the annual AWP conference and listened to a panel of editors discuss the plight of what were then called the “little” (usually university-affiliated) literary magazines. People didn’t subscribe! Heck, who knew if anybody even read them!
Things sounded awfully grim. Somebody may have even stood up and wondered if there was a point. Why bother? Besides, wouldn’t people be buying the little magazines if they published things people wanted to read?
Well, twenty years on down the pike, we can look to the (precarious) health of both the magazine and newspaper publishing industries for at least a partial answer to that question.
Which is: uh, no. The world is full of worthy things for which we have little interest in forking over money.
The little magazines might be a bulwark against the idea that the marketplace is the final arbiter of literary taste. I’m biased, of course, but I can’t help that that’s a good thing. It has been a pleasure to have had my writing read, thoughtfully edited and published this summer in Flyway, Front Porch Journal and Michigan Quarterly Review — beautiful journals all.