Literature Magazine Reviews

Reviewed by Nick Long

Literature magazines have been part of the publishing landscape for a long time, especially when weekly magazines were widely read. The Saturday Evening Post began in 1728 (first being called the Post in 1821) is probably the best known litmag in American history, which probably speaks volumes to the impact that Norman Rockwell had on the American psyche. Short stories, commentary, essays, and more were standard forms of entertainment for most Americans. Then television came along. And the magazine world hasn't had the same reach since.

There have been hundreds of literature magazines printed over time, but with the advent of the Internet (and the ups and downs of the publishing world), fewer of them continue to print issues today. There are several magazines out there that are online-only, including some venerable print magazines that made the conversion such as TriQuarterly. The financial burden of publishing a magazine with a very small market has proven to be unsustainable over the long run. Only a few magazines have managed to stay afloat or even remain profitable.

I've subscribed to a few magazines on and off over the years. Some have continued on. Others have ceased publication. My tastes have changed. Whatever the reason, I've been able to handle and read a variety of magazines. Even if it isn't a true 'litmag', if I consider it worthy of inclusion here, I'll review it. This is especially true for the wonderful Italian Disney magazines that published fantastic stories unavailable in the United States: Topolino, Paperino Mese, and others.

There has been a dearth of short story collections (and for that matter, essay collections) being published in book form over the past few decades. The litmags have helped alleviate that by publishing both stories and essays in copious quantities. That's all well and good, but quantity doesn't always mean quality. Or even worse, perceived quality isn't actual quality. That's where reviewing comes into play.

All reviewers are different and their tastes differ. That's why it's important that a single reviewer provides his consistent and constant opinions so that a true picture through the lens of their experience develops over time. By evaluating their reviews, a pattern of bias and preferences can be detected and relied upon. The intrepid reader will be adept at utilizing the reviews in order to select the litmag congruent to their own preferences.