Thursday 27 January 2011

Lit mag junkie

That's me. I'm a lit mag junkie. I stand at the entrance to the AWP book fair looking as though I'm gazing at a fountain of Belgian chocolate. I set a $100 budget limit each conference and blow it every time (though admittedly that involves books, too).

Are you a lit mag junkie? What is it that drives us? A certain combination of literary delights and outstanding production values? Finding a special section that's just what we always thought should be in a lit mag, were we designing our own, like an insanely large section of short reviews?

This is on my mind partly because I'm going to that magical book fair next week and partly because I've discovered (thanks to Cathy Wagner) a brilliant, newish mag, Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion. It's edited by the outstanding poet and critic Calvin Bedient, whom I remember unimpressing markedly in my one meeting with him while I was an undergraduate at UCLA. Sadly, I remember the poem I showed him--sadly, I remember the meeting in fine detail--and have to acknowledge I understand his reaction.

Anyway, enough about youthful embarrassments. There's a generous sampling online of the annual printed issue, and I look forward to holding one before long. In the meantime, fellow lit mag junkies, come forward and tell me your favourite journals past and present, the qualities that attract you to some and put you off others--&c., &c. I know I'm not alone.

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