Tomorrow’s Hemingway? Submit to The Rome Review

Posted by @ 7:53 pm on November 16th, 2008

Via some other lit blog, I found this article, titled “Finding Tomorrow’s Hemingway,” about a new literary journal based at George Washington University. The new literary journal is called The Rome Review. Its founder, junior English major Tarek Al-Hariri, says, “It’s like the New Yorker with 1/100th the circulation.”

Other quotations from Al-Hariri include:

You can print today’s Hemingway. That’s not an accomplishment. We want to print tomorrow’s Hemingway.

And:

We tend to not stick with a formalist writing style.

I first thought to post about this because Al-Hariri claims that The Rome Review is an “avant-garde publication.” He wants to highlight “writers who use language in innovative ways.” This sounded promising to me: an innovative journal based out of a university. The article even mentions Ninth Letter as one of Al-Hariri’s influences. Exciting, right? But the first issue will include pieces by Junot Diaz and Seymour Hersh, which doesn’t strike me as either ‘avant-garde’ or ‘innovative.’

Sorry if I am, like Andrew Rigefsky, current editor-in-chief of the George Washington Review, a little skeptical. Rigefsky writes, in a letter to the editor, the following:

…it seems as though “Finding tomorrow’s Hemingway” is an advertisement for al-Hariri, not his magazine.

Side note: I’d love to see a feud develop between those two journals.

I realize I’m criticizing a new literary ‘venture’ without having first read an issue, and for that I am sorry. And I’m all for new lit journals and stuff, but I feel like a lot of literary journals seek to publish innovative writing and then fall back on ‘safe’ and ‘famous’ names when they realize how hard it is to stay afloat. It’s hard for a new journal to ‘make it’ without having some sort of claim to fame (balancing budgets requires seling issues, selling issues means building up some sort of audience, audiences tend to respond to big name authors), which is why so many solicit famous authors. I think I am trying to say something about intentions versus reality, but I’m not sure. 

Anyhow, I hope The Rome Review proves me wrong.

Here’s the website. Submissions are now open. Send innovative work.

I don’t know. What do people think?

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