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Literary MagNet

Christian Wiman recently replaced Joseph Parisi as editor of Poetry (www.poetrymagazine.org), the 91-year-old monthly literary magazine published by the nonprofit Modern Poetry Association—well, it used to be the Modern Poetry Association. But an endowment like the one the MPA received last year (approximately $100 million from Ruth Lilly) has a way of changing things. In June the organization was renamed the Poetry Foundation and its mission was expanded to include book publishing—under the Poetry Press imprint—and summer teachers’ institutes designed to provide educators with training in presenting poetry to their students. Parisi, who was the editor of the magazine for 20 years, was named the foundation’s executive director of publications and programs. (For an update, visit www.pw.org/mag/is_poetryupdate.htm.)

A literary magazine that features work in multiple genres is nothing new. A literary salad of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, short interviews, and book reviews is standard fare—some even throw a little artwork into the mix. But rarely do readers get a dose of drama with their poetry, as they do in Poems & Plays (www.middleenglish.org/poemsandplays), an annual journal edited by Gaylord Brewer and published by Middle Tennessee State University. The submission period for the next issue, to be published in the spring, begins next month and extends through December.

The Irish author and satirist Jonathan Swift wrote, “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” True, but according to Larry K. Richman, former editor of the Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, you can turn suffering into art—and art is what the Sow’s Ear Poetry Review has published since it was founded in 1987 by Errol Hess. Richman was recently succeeded as editor by Kristin Zimet and the quarterly—with a circulation of 500 copies—moved from Abingdon, Virginia, to Donalds, South Carolina.

It makes sense that a man with a name like Charles Flowers is starting a literary magazine called Bloom (www.bloommagazine.org). In support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender writers and artists, Bloom will debut next month and include poetry by Adrienne Rich, J.D. McClatchy, and Ed Field, and fiction by Andrew Holleran, Stacey D’Erasmo, and Judith Nichols.

The Harvard Advocate (www.theharvardadvocate.com), first published in 1866, is the oldest university-published literary journal in the country, and boasts such previous contributors as Eliot, Pound, Stevens, and cummings. But the Ivy League school has a younger magazine, the 11-year-old biannual Harvard Review (hcl.harvard.edu/houghton/departments/harvardreview), that should not be overlooked. Edited by Christina Thompson, formerly the editor of the Australian literary magazine Meanjin (www.meanjin.unimelb.edu.au), the next issue of the Harvard Review arrives next month. It features a special section on Robert Lowell that includes work by Saskia Hamilton, Fanny Howe, Heather McHugh, and Paul Muldoon.

Creative writers who have recently had hallucinations—you know who you are!—might want to find a nice, padded room and a copy of the Montreal-based biannual literary magazine Vallum (www.vallummag.com). A forthcoming issue, “Reality Checks,” will be dedicated to “writing that explores the boundaries of the self, the uncertain, the coincidence of phenomena and noumena, and hallucinations” as well as “poems that conflate what is known with what melts and fades into other forms, extremes of consciousness, and failing moments.” The deadline for submissions is November 1.

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Literary MagNet (September/October 2003)
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