By DeWitt Henry, Literary Bookmarks Editor
Monthly link highlights to online resources, magazines, and author sites that seem informative and inspiring for working writers. Most are free. Suggestions are welcomed.
Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices
Founded in 2008 by novelist Lee Hope and photographer William Betcher, and based in Natick, Massachusetts, Solstice appears online three times annually. Solstice also publishes print retrospectives, the newest just out: Solstice Selects: Two Years of Diverse Voices. They’ve also published original digital books, but have suspended the series. Hope, as fiction editor and editor-in-chief, is supported by poet and memoirist Richard Hoffman as nonfiction editor, Ben Berman as poetry editor, Dzvinia Orlowsky as editor of poetry in translation, Regie O’Hare Gibson as video performance poetry editor, and Betcher as photography editor.
A network of volunteer contributing editors share in their commitment to multiculturalism, high literary and artistic standards, and formal variety. The winter issue (due in late February) is an all-interview issue, edited by Managing Editor Amy Grier, and features “writers who we have published with new books or staff with new books.” Grier also edits their blog. “We want to shake things up,” writes Hope. “Cause some ferment.” Her editing and vision is astute, and the community of talent Solstice promotes is both socially engaged and distinguished.
Founded in 2009, Hyperallergic is headquartered in Brooklyn and serves as “a forum for serious, playful, and radical perspectives on art and culture in the world today.” Their daily newsletter is emailed to 70,000 subscribers; and Tuesdays include a letter from the editor-in-chief, Hrag Vartanian, recapping “the most popular and important stories from the week.” Their weekend edition is edited by a “collective of writers.” They also hold parties, screenings, and performances. The design is flashy and state of the art; the model, reminiscent of Electric Literature and Catapult, reviewed here previously. Subscriptions are free, and subscribers may choose between weekly notices about the best arts and shows either in New York or in Los Angeles.
A side-menu of tabs lists new and recent postings on 1) Galleries, 2) Museums, 3) Books, 4) Film, 5) Music, 6) Theater, 7) Features, 8) Articles, 9) Interviews, 10) Photo Essays, 11) Comics 12) Poetry, 13) Events, 14) Podcasts, 15) Shop (offering t-shirts and books of poetry). The poetry, edited by Wendy Xu, is interesting. As for prose, I was underwhelmed by Thomas Micchelli’s review of Jenny Holzer’s Street Posters, 1977–82, which ends, “Such a critique presumes a ruthless process of self-examination on the part of the artist who, through the rigors of imagination and insight, bores through the floor of her own loathing into the subbasement of our own, where we are left to contemplate the face of Trump lurking behind one of our many masks.” However, in the book section, Lauren Walsh’s review of the American Library Collection of Albert Murray’s essays is outstanding; as is Allison Meier’s review of the recent monograph of Richard Sandler’s startling black and white photos of pre–9/11 New York (Powerhouse Books).
PIF: The Arts and Technology Magazine
Founded by Richard Luck in 1995 as a “home for writing that didn’t fit the mainstream,” Seattle-based PIF, at twenty-two, is one of the most venerable of online magazines, and the primary outlet for years for probing and information-packed interviews with a wide range of poets and writers by the memoirist and literary journalist Derek Alger. Alger passed away in 2014, but PIF maintains an archive of his work. As an outsider, Alger was curious about how the literary establishment works, and about the careers of known and relatively unknown writer-mavericks. Starting in 1996, he interviewed more than seventy-five writers, primarily for PIF, but also for Del Sol Review, Ducts, and Serving House Journal. His interviews include those advanced in career, such as Dan Wakefield, Bruce Jay Friedman, and Robert Dana; those in the mid-career, such as Kelle Groom, Denise Duhamel, Pablo Medina, and Afaa Michael Weaver; and those emerging, such as Okla Elliott and Ani Gjika. He often probed how they came to writing, their family relations, their educations, and the turning points in their careers. Many of his subjects also became guest columnists for PIF.
Fortunately, Richard Luck has continued in Alger’s literary spirit—”He has become part of [PIF‘s] DNA,” he states. “Intractible. Permanent.” The range, mix, and standard of PIF‘s offerings is impressive and lively in all categories. They have also published books, including The Best of PIF Magazine: Off-Line; run an annual Round Robin Writing Contest; and regularly post writing prompt challenges, such as: “Write a short story in which your main character wins his or her own major award. Describe this award, whether it’s real or imagined: what acclaim will they receive, and what did they have to do to get it? Does your character shy away from attention or bask in it? Does this award change your main character’s circumstances? For the better or the worse? In surprising ways?”
Emerging Writers Network (EWN)
Dan Wickett’s comprehensive resource site and its daily blog seek “to develop a community of emerging writers, established writers deserving of wider recognition, and readers of literary writing, in order to develop as large an audience as possible for those writers.” He began in 2000 “by reviewing Alyson Hagy’s Keeneland and emailing the interview to twenty-one individuals. Throughout the years, Dan has continued to develop the EWN by adding interviews, e-panels, and other literary reporting to the itinerary and developing a database website for storage of these, as well as a blog…EWN currently has over 2,600 members.” (You sign up by emailing him.) This thumbnail is provided as his staff bio on the site for Dzanc Books, which he co-founded with Steven Gillis in 2006. A sidebar on EWN includes blurbs justly praising him as being “serious about a good read,” having “a sensibility unspoiled by over-exposure to the business of books, and deeply in love with them,” and leading readers “to books that [they] overlooked (or never knew about), and that were a delight”: praise fully justified both by Wickett’s current review of Unsaid magazine and his detailed attention to its first story, “Tell, Don’t Tell,” by Otessa Moshbegh. He also reviews a 1987 issue of Gordon Lish’s The Quarterly, a short-story reading by Laura Hulthan Thomas, and more. In addition, the site includes links to ninety-five selected literary blogs, 119 author websites, selected booksellers, reading series, ninety-six literary journals, 446 “Best of the Web—Online Journals,” Reader Feedback, and Archives.
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