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What is Love? Lit Mag, Don't Hurt Me!
PANK "loves" you; unconventional Hobart book review; history of leading Australian mags Meanjin & Overland; new Meanjin Editor; contests to fund magazines; BASS story reviews; new markets & more
Greetings Lit Magnesiums,
According to their website, PANK Magazine loves us.
PANK is always open for our love.
However, my friends, I’ve got a different idea of what this site should be saying:
You see, not long after I and many others spoke up about this magazine holding onto our submissions for years, accepting money for book orders that they never delivered, publishing books that they never distributed, and generally mismanaging the entire endeavor, the editors of PANK at last acknowledged our grievances and tweeted an apology.
Their five-tweet thread states, “Please know we hear all that you say.” Though interestingly, they muted replies. Nothing says “we hear all that you say” like muting the people who might wish to speak with you.
That detail aside, guess what the editors did next. I’ll give you a hint. They did not send out a mass email telling readers that they were aware of their ongoing problems. Nor did they send out an apology to the thousands of writers whose money they’ve taken over the years with nothing to show for it. Nor did they promise to refund any money for book orders nor lay out steps for what they planned to do to prevent all this from happening again.
Can you guess what they did? If your guess is, send out a mass newsletter calling for more submissions and asking for more of your money, then you are correct!
Indeed, PANK wants you to know that their contests and regular submissions are open, both of which ask for payment. Chapbook contests are $20, book contests $25.
Now, far be it from me to ever tell anyone how to spend their money. But until we see real evidence that PANK is committed to change, I can certainly think of alternative and more worthwhile things to invest in than their book contests and submission calls.
Moving along, Hobart Editor Elizabeth Ellen has once again generated a bit of controversy, this time for a review of ex-husband and former-Hobart-Editor Aaron Burch’s new novel. Her review uses the book as a springboard to explore aspects of her marriage to Burch, her feelings about being canceled many years ago and her response to the frenzy over her recent interview with writer Alex Perez. Ellen’s review is long, unconventional, extremely personal and, in my view, deeply poignant. It also gives insights into how the magazine has been operating over the years.
“In between the shit hitting the fan the first time and the shit hitting the fan the second, Ernie and Becca had gotten divorced. For once Becca was smart about something, thought ahead, had her attorney write in something about the journal they shared, her and Ernie, the journal Ernie had founded a year before they met and together, for seventeen years, they had worked on jointly, with Becca financing every print run, all the travel they did for readings and conferences at which they sold the journal and later the books, whatever else the journal required money to do, to exist.”
In other news, some lit mags overseas got recent buzz. At The Conversation, Beth Daley provides historical context to two of Australia’s leading lit mags, Meanjin and Overland.
“By the 1930s, Terry Eagleton says, the re-invention of literature as a semi-spiritual social glue allowed intellectuals to present English literature as ‘not only a subject worth studying, but the supremely civilizing pursuit, the spiritual essence of the social formation.’ That conviction – a sense that literature mattered fundamentally to the nation – sustained Christesen and Murray-Smith running their tiny magazines for 34 years…”
Speaking of Meanjin, the journal’s new editor Esther Anatolitis, has been profiled here. “Anatolitis’ role focuses on publishing the finest the best Australian writing, which means work from a really broad range of writers, diverse in age, in culture, in gender, in the genre of writing.”
If you’re a reader and you happen to be reading this year’s Best American Short Stories, you might enjoy the reviews running on Workshop Heretic. Jacob Weber has been blogging about each story in a thoughtful, accessible and interesting way. He writes,
“…I have some idea of how literature works, but I'm not a serious scholar. In this blog, I don't try to be. I try to be the guy who knows a little bit more about literature than the average educated layperson and to try to explain stories to those readers in a way that helps them think more clearly about those stories.”
If it’s cozy homes for your latest and greatest that you seek, here’s what’s out there:
Authors Publish has posted Fellowships, Scholarships, and Funding Opportunities this November 2022 and 38 Themed Submission Calls and Contests for November 2022.
And most of the venues listed in our last newsletter are still open for submissions:
As for us, lots of stuff happening around here. For starters, today I had a total blast chatting with Colleen Abel, Editor of Bluestem. This magazine is open for nonfiction and comics submissions for just one more day! You can now check out that interview here:
Our next Submissions Study Hall will be this Friday. You can learn more about it here. I’ll be sending out the registration link later this week.
Also, if you’re a member of the Lit Mag Reading Club, I hope you’re enjoying your copy of Harvard Review! I’ll be posting my thoughts about the magazine early next week. Please don’t be shy to leave comments, even if you’ve only just read one or two pieces. It’s meant to be a conversation for all!
For December, we will be reading Indiana Review. The editors have generously offered a discount to participants. I’ll be sharing more information about that and the discount code in a few days, so keep your eyes peeled.
Remember, you can learn more about the Lit Mag Reading Club and join us at any time, in any stage of your life, and from anywhere in the world. Here’s what it’s all about:
And that you cunning cobras, curling upward toward the great wide open of your ever-expansive ever-fragile ever-widening heart, you daredevil dogs, downward-facing and deep-diving into the singular infinite dream, you warriors, one, two, and even three, this last a trick of balance, but with chin up and spine straight you and only you are the one and only to do the pose—or at least try, fail, fail again, and so forth—you in plank with your muscles a-quiver and you in standing-head-to-knee with your joints all a-locked, you aching so desperately and so much all the time for an all-knowing all-seeing essential undeniable alignment and you out there following your breath, and following it again, following it again, and again, and again, and again? Yes! Again!, because there it is, finally, you and you, everywhere, in rest, deep rest, discovering it, observing it, deserving it, you who are it, is the news in literary magazines.
Have a most restorative week, pals.
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