New Theme Song for The Paris Review
Joshua Corey, one of the poets who had his contract nullified at The Paris Review, said this on Daniel Nester’s blog:
“Not too long ago on my blog, I wrote that young writers shouldn’t put too much faith in institutions; that goes for this not-so-young writer as well. This experience will move me even further in the direction I was already headed, toward placing my trust in peers and comrades in the field of innovative writing to create forums for the circulation of exciting work – with new magazines, Web zines, reading series, etc.”
It’s not really about The Paris Review thing, or it is, but only in a tangential way. But it resonated with something I’ve been thinking more and more lately. Has the energy of publishing (journals and books) moved away from the Old Guard venues? Do journals like The Paris Review and presses like Knopf mean much to young and middle-aged writers?
I was thinking about this the other day when I saw a notice of a new book coming out from one of the big NYC presses, and I didn’t recognize the poet’s name. Then I went to the website and saw several names I didn’t recognize. I would think I’d recognize every name from the big presses, as I thought I was well-read. It appears I’m not. But what that means is that at least for me the answer is yes, I don’t pay much attention to the big presses (unless John Ashbery has a new book out) and most long-established journals.
The publishing world has spread out and what The Paris Review does or publishes is no longer the kind of news it once was. But then again, these are the journals (and presses) with the widest circulation. I might not be paying attention, and a good number of other poets might be what Corey is doing and “placing [their] trust in peers and comrades in the field of innovative writing to create forums for the circulation of exciting work – with new magazines, Web zines, reading series, etc.,” but what that means for the continuing absence of poetry in the culture at large is not good. I hope at some point the wider culture (and I’m sure it’s out there, even if it doesn’t know it’s out there) of poetry readers finds its way to the better and more exciting things going on away from the pole position.
The greatest break-up song of all time:
Go Your Own Way