Maybe I’m doing the wrong thing by having my first blog be a little confrontational, but, I’d really like to continue the conversation/debate that’s been going on for years:
Why form any new literary magazines?
My basic question, or push against this is, “What audience is that new mag. serving that is not already served?”
I could be boldly antagonistic and take my questions this far: “Is the new mag’s objective to serve the authors more than the audience?” That is, does the magazine serve the audience not served or the author not published?
Let’s be honest—many mag’s look like…sorry, there is no more accurate analogy…circle jerks. You publish me; I’ll publish you. Friends don’t let friends go unpublished.
So, maybe I am being unfair: I acknowledge that I inherited a magazine with a solid reputation that was already more than 20-years old. But I don’t believe that if I hadn’t I’d form my own; I believe I’d try to work for an already established one, which is what I did when I first joined PBQ.
Unless a magazine does something that isn’t being done, and a few are, an argument can be made that new mags are hurting all of us, rather than benefitting the literary community. There is a finite amount of readers; are we not watering down the well? Are we not weakening everyone’s publication credits? Are we not in competition with each other, rather than joining forces, thereby supporting each other?
Many, many years ago when the Internet was young, I wrote a column for the arts for the Inquirer and did a piece on the validity of online publication. The conclusion that still holds true is that even within online publication a hierarchy exists—that online ‘zines might come and go, but there will always be those who have proved their staying power. Insofar as publications that “count” toward Fellowship awards, in academia, for residences, for book publications, there is a hierarchy.
Comment on this blog. Please. But first, go to clmp.org and look at the member list, which of course isn’t even inclusive of all mags in existence. Then tell me why it should grow.