Rare Medium

The Long Goodbye

New Open City and an old literary issue.

Book Cover By now it is undoubtedly apparent that I am a devotee of literary magazines in general—and specifically the handful that have been kind enough to add me to their mailing lists. One of those is Open City, which has published #28, its Winter 2010 issue.

Some of the better known writers represented are Jonathan Dee (with an excerpt from The Privileges), Sam Lipsyte, Christopher Sorrentino, Louis B. Jones, James Schuyler, and Laurie Stone, and others.

Some portion of the literary geography is always embattled or endangered (who is to say that dire warnings and proclamations of doom don’t bring out the best in some commentators?), but that appraisal wouldn’t seem to apply to Ted Genoways, editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. In “The Death of Fiction?”, published in Mother Jones, Genoways quickly surveys the demise of literary magazines and offers this call to arms (sounding very much like Tom Wolfe’s stance in a “Stalking The Billion-footed Beast,” a manifesto he wrote 20 years ago):
I’m saying that writers need to venture out from under the protective wing of academia, to put themselves and their work on the line. Stop being so damned dainty and polite. Treat writing like your lifeblood instead of your livelihood. And for Christ’s sake, write something we might want to read.
Yeah and do the right thing.
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