October 27th, 2010 / 10:16 pm

People don’t read literary journals.

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  1. Sean

      You mean besides the included authors checking for typos, right?

  2. mjm

      I don’t read period. I just assumed what the post said. I don’t even know how I am transcribing my thoughts onto digital canvas. It is all happening in a very magical way.

  3. P. H. Madore

      Mostly because they don’t feel welcome to read them. The best literary magazines on earth are disguised as or began as something entirely different.

  4. zusya

      i guess that doesn’t make me a ‘people’. just read granta’s sex issue.

  5. Roxane

      What did you think of that issue? I read it and have been trying to figure out how to write about it. There were some good stories but I don’t know, I wasn’t overwhelmed and I was expecting something less… cerebral. It felt like reading… something my doctor might give me about sex, only with really good writing. Tokyo Island, though, was a wonder.

  6. Guest

      I like to support lit journals as much as possible, but have to be honest and and a bit selfish here: it makes little sense for me to pay the price of a soft cover book to read a journal that throws a bunch of stories, poems, essays and reviews together and calls itself “an issue.” And, if I only read the stories, I pay the price of a soft cover book to read 4 stories.

  7. colin bassett

      I loved Tokyo Island.

  8. ryssiebee

      I went to the reading for that issue, with Jennifer Egan and Mark Doty, and was blown away by Doty’s essay, which he read out loud. I bought a copy of the issue and asked them both to sign it, with hopes that I would read his essay soon. The issue is still lying in the same place where I left it in April – probably dusty by now?

  9. Roxane

      It was the only story I read several times, and the only one that made me feel excited. The story was so controlled yet wild and so rich and I was really into it.

  10. P. H. Madore

      So what does this imply?

  11. zusya

      i actually didn’t get to tokyo island, but will definitely do so now. i was overly underwhelmed with the poetry though. ck williams is getting up there in years… was pleasantly surprised to see a dave eggers byline next to such a whimsical sounding title, though was let down when it was only a set of inkings and not a fanciful story.

  12. chris r

      As a ‘broke ass’ fry-cook/sandwich-maker, I definitely ‘feel you’ on this. Sometimes at the end of the month when I’m staring at my available $20 to spend, after paying rent and buying ramen noodles, I can’t help but feel shorted if I spend $10 of that on one literary journal, when I could get three books from the used bookstore for the same price. I understand these journals cost a lot to make and I’m honestly usually happy with them when I do fork over the cash, but I really wish their visual appeal wasn’t such a large aspect of the process. It seems like the stories themselves being art isn’t enough, but that what houses them has to be art as well, which I respect, but at the same time, can’t always bring myself to spring for.

  13. JakeLevineSpork

      eh, i read submissions and stare at the covers of most literary journals. poor claudia is real pretty and fence generally has a very nice look to it. i also like hayden’s ferry, although it’s always lip gloss glossy, like fucking my face up with it’s ugly phoenician blowjob factory. stds man. but really, they do some good work at asu. it’s just phoenix is a dirty asshole plant fueled by diarrhea and republicans with swastikas for faces. forklift also has a pretty face and feels nice. my friend gave me an issue with his poems in it. i read his poems then i threw it on my large stack of literary journals, of which there can never be too many! I haven’t even read our newest issue. I don’t own a copy. wtf.

  14. JakeLevineSpork

      BTW, could someone do something about Iowa Review looking like their cover designers have assholes for eyes. Either that or they are high shoolers taking a photography class. Witness: http://iowareview.uiowa.edu/

  15. P. H. Madore

      Hey Jake: I know this is nepotism and everything, but I would totally dig a review of the Iowa Review for Girls with Insurance. Take it to them. 500-650 words should give you enough space, but I’ll work with you on a longer flogging. phm@girlswithinsurance.com

      Oh and (everyone else) we’ve been doing obituaries since forever, though I never recovered any from the original site (yet–remember, if you were published with us back in the day and want your work restored, you just have to tell us because we don’t want to be digging up the dead). So if you want to submit any of the rejected obituaries from this thing, or whatever, I also love to be the one on top of that.

      So this was a really annoying comment and I’ll accept any amount of tongue-lashing with a cunt-eating grin.

  16. Richard Thomas

      A lot of literary journals go unread for sure. It’s up to the editors, and the schools, or the publications, to get attention.

      You make a good point CHRIS R about spending $20 on lit mags. Actually, subscriptions are usually a good deal, I just subscribed to The Missouri Review and it’s only $20 for four issues. That’s $5 an issue. ALSO, if you don’t care about timeliness, pick up used copies for cheap at local bookstores. I got several excellent copies of The Paris Review at Myopic Books here in Chicago for $4 each, all had stuff on Ben Percy, an author I love (2005, 2009, etc.).

      I think more and more literary journals will branch out into ebooks, and charge MUCH less, like half of what they do for the print version. That may be a solution. Plus many schools are either switching over to an online ONLY source, or as an added additional presence. There’s tons of great FREE fiction online as well.

      Mostly writers and academics read literary journals, but if we can keep making them cool, break out of the academic, literary box, like the people at Hobart, Juked, and Annalemma are doing, I think we can get more “non-writers” to pick up the rags.

  17. Matthew Simmons

      I’m about halfway through the new Annalemma. It’s fucking rad.

  18. Fawn

      We’re online and free (small fee for digital – ginormous fee for print on demand, because all that gorgeous color art is expensive and we don’t even try to cover it with ads or reading fees or subscriptions).

      We’re also always on the lookout for editorial interns.


  19. Mykle

      Litmags should be designed with perforated tear-out pages & three-ring binder holes, so you can save the part you like & recycle the rest.

  20. deadgod

      like sports illustrated and high-school cum party

  21. reynard seifert

      come now ph, let’s not turn this into a healthy discussion, why are you being so mean

  22. P. H. Madore

      My bda gmoney

  23. reynard seifert

      closing with two irregular (not to mention tasteless) hyphenated compounds and no precedent to back it up? go sell yr fucking tacos on the side of the road like a real merican dude. ‘500-650 words enough space for flogging’ what’s the difference assclown that’s like a paragraph. your idea of nepotism is an ice-cream cake you eat with a spoon alone in your room with your g.i. joe doll

  24. P. H. Madore

      i think you are drunker thanme


  25. P. H. Madore

      than me *


  26. P. H. Madore

      i want to be sober but i made a lot of money on your giants fucking cutns

  27. reynard seifert

      i’m high as hell gkitty

  28. reynard seifert

      i think you need to wash your mouth out, eat a dick

  29. Trey

      I wish I had an ice-cream cake all to myself.

      wow, dang, I do really wish I had an ice-cream cake. shoot.