As usual, the recent issue of Cave Wall has some wonderful poems in it, such as Jennifer Atkinson’s “A Leaf from the Book of Cities.” You can read Atkinson’s poem in its entirety on Luna Park (“The city, grateful for distraction, / applauds, laughs, oohs and ahs”).
Below are a few words from Atkinson on Klee’s influence and what circuses you should stay away from:
Paul Klee, painter and teacher of painting, wrote that “Art does not reproduce what is visible, but makes things visible.” I took his advice to heart. In the painting that gives this poem its name, there is no visible circus or tent or torn handbills, but there is a simple circle sun at the top and a stylized city of rickety, ready-to-fall buildings below. If the circus does come to Klee’s cunieform-built city, I wouldn’t advise attending.
Over at Matchbook, LP assistant editor (and Fictionaut blogger) Marcelle Heath has a new story up: “Aunt Ginny’s Lunar Bash, Los Alamos, 1974.” About the story Heath claims, “I wanted to allude to the monsters the adults cannot see, but that the children know all too well.” Here’s the story’s childlike beginning:
We were playing war games in the conservatory the night of the eclipse. Kitsie Countryman thought the world was going to melt into a gob of goo; Percival Bishop argued for an alien takeover…
On a maudlin note, Isotope seems to have finally stopped publishing. Even after all the conversation last year about university lit mags struggling in the recession, it still seems a shock to see a publisher go under. But maybe it helps to recall that this is not unusual for literary-minded magazines, which have an average lifespan of four years. It seems also important—certainly for the editors at Isotope—to remember that landmark magazines as Grand Street, Kayak, Big Table, and countless others had the same fate. And many more will. (But that won’t stop lit mag publishers from trying—such as with the “Resubscribe or Else!” insert Kayak editor George Hitchcock placed in an issue, pictured above.)
In somewhat similar news, Utne Reader has begun The Dead Magazine Club, in an effort to recognize such bygone mags. So far there are only a couple of magazines on the site—any ex-magazine publishers out there?
On the flip side, I’d recommend Premiere Issues, a website whose name says it all. Not many first issues of lit mags up on the site, but you can find an issue of Broken Wrist Project there, in which film director John Hughes published some flash fiction under a pseudonym. (His son edited the magazine.)
And many magazines continue to thrive, such as Abe’s Penny, which turns one year old next month.
And Fiddlehead turns 65 (pictured in magazine rack above).
And there are new magazines. Jospeh Brodsky´s literary executor, Ann Kjellberg, has launched the new poetry magazine Little Star. Though I have not yet seen a copy, the first issue sports such names as Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Derek Walcott, Mary Jo Salter, Robert Wrigley, Lydia Davis, and Tim Parks, and you can read a bit of a manifesto from Padgett Powell on the website.
In the new issue of possibly the world’s most well-established lit mag, Poetry, Durs Grünbein asks: Why Live Without Writing? Or, more specifically: “Why do you write when no one can tell me what the point is?” Why indeed.
I accelerate gamely,
wondering what makes me want to leave
each person, place and thing I learn to love.
Every Tuesday, Travis Kurowski presents Luna Digest, a selection of news from the world of literary magazines. Travis is the editor of Luna Park, a magazine founded on the idea that journals are as deserving of critical attention as other artistic works.