The November LMC Selection

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Roxane Gay

Nov 15, 2010, 12:38:15 AM11/15/10

One of the things we're most interested in doing with the LMC is looking at both print and online literary magazines. Much is made about whether or not great writing exists online and every other month we'll try to answer that question as we read a new issue of an online magazine. The first online magazine we'll be reading is The Collagist, edited byMatt Bell and published by Dzanc Books.

The Collagist is published on the 15th of each month and features a mix of fiction, poetry, novel excerpts, essays and reviews.

In the Letter from the Editor, Matt Bell introduces the work in the November issue:

In Issue Sixteen, we have the return of our Classic Reprint series, where we reprint a previously published short story alongside an introduction by another writer. This month, that story is Amy Hempel's "The Most Girl Part of You," which originally appeared in Vanity Fair, and most recently in Hempel's The Collected Stories. The story is introduced by Blake Butler.

In addition, we also have fiction from Erik AndersonAndrew BorgstromGavin Pate, and Kellie Wells, as well as an excerpt from Charles Dodd White's Lambs of Men, out this month from Casperian Books.

In poetry, we have work by Cathy Linh CheDavid JamesMaya Janson, and A. Van Jordan. Our non-fiction includes an essay by Chad Simpson, as well as book reviews of The Wilding by Benjamin PercyHygiene and the Assassin by Amélie NothombMy Bright Midnight by Josh RussellOur Island of Epidemics by Matthew Salesses, and A Geography of Secrets by Frederick Reuss.

There's a whole lot for us to talk about and I cannot wait for us to get started. 

As we read this month's issue, there are other questions and potential topics for discussion.

The Collagist is one of the many magazines edited by a well known writer which begs the question, is how we read a magazine influenced by what we know (or think) about the editor?

Why do we make the distinction between online and print when talking about a magazine?

Do online magazines make the most of the medium? Often times, online magazines publish on a traditional schedule and simply present the work much in the same way they would in a print magazine. What would it take to exploit the benefits of online publishing?

There are all kinds of ideas about what can be published online and more often than not you hear that online writing must be short because our attention spans have been compromised by television, the Internet, etc. Are our preconceived notions about the kind of writing that works online accurate?

Online publishing allows us to interact with writers and writing in new ways. In many online magazines we can comment on a given writer's work. We can share what we think about their work. There's an immediate relationship should you choose to take advantage; there's a conversation. Does that influence how writers write when submitting to online magazines? Do we write for attention when we're writing for online venues?

We're also able to learn more about writers through interviews and similar exposure. We can hear writers reading their own work. There's a level of access that is rarely there for print magazines. The Collagist, for example, takes advantage of interviews on their blog and allowing writers to read their work via The Collagist podcasts. Often, they include video reviews of books. How do these interactive features contribute to how the magazine is read?

There are many other questions and I'm looking forward to those and more this month. Stay tuned for details about a live chat with Matt Bell. 

If you're interested in writing a guest post about the November issue of The Collagist as a whole or about specific piece(s), write your post and e-mail it to me at roxane at roxanegay dot com. We hope a great many of you participate this month. Next month, we'll be reading the venerable Ploughshares.

Roxane Gay ::
Co-Editor, PANK ::

Tom DeBeauchamp

Nov 16, 2010, 12:36:02 AM11/16/10
Beyond the letter from the editor, I haven't read any of this month's
Collagist. I'm looking forward to it though. The work in last month's
was strong and enjoyable, haunting at times. I read it on my phone, and
that mediated relationship is what I'm thinking about now.

Maybe it's been oversaid, that traditional lit mags are books and
internet magazines are not. They aren't physical, they aren't three
dimensional. With e-readers, you can carry them with you--more easily
than you can traditional books--but they don't have the same weight. You
can't smell them. There's a sort of dis-integration between the pieces.
In a traditional magazine, things flow together. They're separated by
titles, sometimes by advertising, but, through the power of flipping,
you can randomly arrive anywhere between the covers. I'm not a
subscriber to Electric Literature, but the idea of an app-based lit
service seems, at least hypothetically, capable of providing a more
integrated digital experience. One more similar to books anyway.

Not that that is necessarily necessary. It could be that the Collagist's
individuation of the stories allows them to stand out on their own in a
way ordinary magazines do not. Maybe it's an obvious difference, but
it's a fundamental one. It's one I'll be thinking about as I read
through these pieces.


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