Firstly, the calendar is updated.
Secondly, I am totally not making a screengrab of the calendar the featured image because that always seems to look awwwwwwful!
Thirdly – ruminations. So in creating the calendar I come across a lot of lit mags – and I mean a huge amount. We seem to be swimming in them, and I think this is a great thing. I personally love submitting to new magazines, because it feels like you’re really putting into that project and helping to shape it’s direction – sharing the link to those published pieces online afterward is always helpful, and the editor is usually very pleased for the extra coverage!
So upstarts = good. So too are a lot of the established magazines, although a good few of them put themselves forward as publishing new writing, and that’s complete cock. GRANTA is (or certainly was) a great example; publishing one or two lesser known names in their volumes, and then the rest of the magazine is full of the Established. Then there was that hilarity with the shite poem by Craig Raine, published by the LRB – a heavyweight in the literary scene. I mean, what were they thinking? Then you have places like AMBIT who are great for new words and fresh voices, Inky Needles too is really good.
But independent publishing and (mainly) online lit mags? All over the fucking shop. Seriously. Whilst trawling through the interwebs to find cool literary places to submit my work too I’ve found magazines with disturbed formatting, submission calls with typos and misspellings, I’ve found terrible stretched images adorning poems, links that go nowhere, drab design choices for web pages. Some calls read like they were written in text speak, with multiple exclamation marks and incorrectly placed semi-colons. Yet, often it’s the editor that creates these pages and sub calls; the head honcho, the guy/gal that’s going to be going over all of your stuff and deciding ‘yay’ or ‘nay’.
Of course, literature is for everyone. I encourage everyone to read and write, no matter what it is. Go off and read 50 Shades – just don’t come to me after and try to tell me it’s the next On the Road. Maybe I need to keep that in mind when I look at these magazines – that this magazine has likely been set up by someone who loves to read, and maybe write, but doesn’t yet know how it functions – and will over time learn. Perhaps. I don’t know. Thinking this still makes me uncomfortable, however. I want quality control. I want decent literature out there – I want people who have actually thought about what they have written, who have gone the extra mile to get it working, to be published, or to start these magazines.
It sounds elitist, and perhaps it is – but you wouldn’t hire someone with no experience of computers to maintain computers, right? It makes me wonder as well – dangerously – if it’ll cause a massive shift in standards. In quality. Are we moving backwards? Because it feels that way to me, a little. Like we’re losing grip on words, and that social media and the internet has made it easy for consumer art and writing to grow. Cliché poems are shared all around Tumblr, whilst the imaginative lines drown in non-existence.
So, once again, there’s no real conclusion to this post because the art world keeps rolling. It doesn’t end, and nor does our criticism of it. There is bad writing, there will always be bad writing, there has always been bad writing – the same with editors. There has been good writing too, high quality stuff, of course. But today, where are we heading? Are we losing control?
Submit to the right magazines, and don’t write shit and palm it off if you didn’t put a whole lot of effort in – and editors of these messy magazines? Get your act together – there, there’s the sharp edge of my rant!
What kind of picture can I use as the featured image, hmmm…