Literary MagNet

Kevin Larimer
From the January/February 2003 issue of
Poets & Writers Magazine

Four literary magazines with book publishing imprints—Verse, Fence, McSweeney's, and Open City—recently set up shop in the BigSmallPressMall (, a cross-promotional Web site that provides information about each publisher, a schedule of literary events, and an online bookstore where readers can purchase individual titles and subscriptions. In case anyone had any doubts about the ambition behind the project, "the alliance," as the editors call it, "is not about similar content or specific political or literary ideology, but rather about the show of a mighty alternative cultural force."

The editors of Orchid (, a bimonthly literary magazine published by the nonprofit Critical Connection Fiction Workshops in Ann Arbor, Michigan, recently produced their second issue. "We started the journal to be a community-based initiative, to give a voice to those who weren't being heard," says Maureen Aitken, who, with co-editors Keith Hood and Cathy Mellet, launched Orchid last year. "We started the idea with the hope that we would inspire others to start journals and small presses. We also hope to show that it can be done without the financial support provided by academia." A special issue of Orchid featuring work by writers living in Michigan is planned for next spring.

To celebrate 25 years of publication, the Missouri Review (, the triquarterly based at the University of Missouri in Columbia since 1978, founding editor Speer Morgan didn't want to simply reprint old material in the special issue that was published in November. "When magazines republish material they published in 1983, they strike me as taking themselves a little too seriously," Morgan says. So he decided "to remember with a lighter touch" in a color insert that features candid snapshots of some of the writers who contributed to the journal over the past 25 years. "So we have Rita Dove dancing, Robert Olen Butler with his dogs, Bob Schacochis with his Haitian army buddies, Charles Wright in front of his log cabin, Richard Ford duck hunting, Andrei Codrescu hanging out at some favorite bar in New Orleans, and Nanci Kincaid looking glam." The next issue of the Missouri Review is expected this month.

Two Lines (, the annual literary magazine dedicated to translation, has published poetry, fiction, and essays from over 50 cultures, from Abkhazia to Vietnam, and more than 40 different languages. Published by the Center for Art in Translation, a nonprofit organization in San Francisco, each issue is unified around a theme—Waves, Ages, Fires, Ghosts, Cells, Battlefields, Possession, and others. In its 10th year of publication, Two Lines is expanding to two issues per year, one theme-based issue and a second focused on a cultural region and compiled by a guest editor. The anniversary issue of Two Lines, to be published in May, will be organized around the theme of Parties.