here is a free template to use for a literary journal manifesto. i feel that this will help other people alienate and discourage other people. i was going to write a post about the democratization of literature (after reading blake’s blog) but i can’t handle a steaming 85 comment thread. here is the template:
we at “(name of river or city or college) Review” like (random emotion). we like subversive (or transgressive, you choose!) work that (verb relating to exploration, perhaps “uncovers” or “unearths” (oh shit i like that “unearths”)) and (re-somethings, maybe re-interprets) the lens of fiction in an increasingly (vague literary theory) world. tempt us. hurt us. it’s like (author) said, “blah blah snow is pretty blah.” we like (vague descriptor, maybe “edgy” or “experimental”) but not (equally vague word like “profane” or “pornographic”). we want work that (verb meant to suggest intellectual stimulation) the reader. we want to change the world with our journal. we want mother teresa to leap from her grave (or condo if she’s still alive) and do a jig in her own ejaculate. in the words of (just go with ts eliot).
Ben Marcus guest edits the oct/nov fiction for GUERNICA, asking the seven writers to offer a one sentence credo:
1. I believe that writing is the highest resolution medium.
2. I struggle with the difference between what I pledge to myself and what I do finally; or, what I sometimes call my falseness; but when I say after all I’m not being false for wanting to be a certain way, that I just have high goals, I will have to agree that no one else around is false either and say for myself that I have the perpetual condition of falling short.
3. I endeavor, word by word, sentence by sentence, to write myself an adult-sized, customized uterus in which I and invited guests may duck, buck, and float.
4. (I write because) I am interested in dark and stormy nights, syntax and moments of delicate, major humiliation.
5. I ogle, grope, and weep; always in that order.
6. I don’t trust fiction with no sense of humor and I know I’m writing it when everything adds just so; I know I’m closer when I’m left holding extra parts—parts I know I need even though the thing runs fine without them.
7. I will be a lion for my own cause.
These are unattributed, and skimming to the list before reading Marcus’ intro, I assumed all 7 were his (made more convincingly by No. 3’s “customized uterus,” which shares Marcus’ dry and somewhat grotesque symbolic tendencies). I’m usually annoyed by manifesto-ish stuff, but this seems earnest enough. I really like how unabashed No. 7 is.
Here’s my credo: Everyone has a story, so put it down.
Okay, time to start printing out those long-ass stories. Geez, writers really have a lot of time on their hands. Good job Ben.
October 22nd, 2008 / 3:33 pm
ABSENT issue 3 is out after a long spell, including new work by Dorothea Lasky, Matt Hart, Jenny Boully, Leigh Stein, Chris Tonelli, and a bunch of other nice languageseseses people.
There are also a series of ‘MANIFESTA,’ which may or may be cringing, I don’t know, the word ‘MANIFESTO’ seems loaded and esp. in the world of poetry, but the taste of ABSENT has been strong in past issues, so I will feel okay with peeking after I finish going out into the rain today.
I really like the feel of the new ABSENT, design is strong, words, I like the way a tone bar appears to help you go back from a piece to the front page, good job.
Wanna eat a puppy with me? Puppies.
October 17th, 2008 / 2:29 pm