Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ninth Letter

While at AWP Atlanta, I came across this great-looking journal called Ninth Letter. Unlike most literary journals and reviews with their small trim sizes and flat designs, this journal looks and feels like a real magazine. Printed on a heavy weight, glossy paper, this pink issue could be the second cousin of Real Simple magazine. But don't be fooled. With any luck, Ninth Letter will expand the dimensions of what it means to create an interactive experience between art, literature, and the Internet.

Ninth Letter is a collaborative effort by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Department of English and its School of Art and Design. I get the feeling this is a labor of love supported by the school's faculty and students. The Web site is a companion to the journal, not an afterthought, offering a blog, video, past issues, and interactive art projects. I hope the journal will post sample poems and stories but it doesn't look like they do that yet.

Quite frankly, I don't know how they can afford to produce such a beautiful publication. The content is interesting--probably safe to say that Ninth Letter looks for nontraditional art, poetry, and fiction. Seems like they're looking for work that strives to be more than itself. Also, poet and Cave Canem fellow Tyehimba Jess was recently named as a poetry editor.

Check out Ninth Letter's Web site and consider sending in your work. I was so impressed I bought a subscription.


jim said...

Thanks for the sharing--a little of the AWP for those of us who couldn't go.

It is surprising, actually, that there aren't more ventures like this with university-based literary journals (and it seems like this is one way in which they can become distinguished). Anyway, very cool.

aka Leonardo Likes Gulls said...

Thanks for this. I had no idea about this journal. It does have a similar Real Simple look.


bostonerin said...

Thanks for the introduction. I'm definitely going to check it out--and submit!

Emily said...

It really does look beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Dana said...

That's a great website. Thanks for sharing it with us. I will check out the printed journal, too.

We had a literary journal at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where I got my undergraduate degree. It’s called New Letters, and it's really a great publication, but they are very behind the times with technology.

I remember when I was a student, I approached the managing editor of the publication about making an online version of our student journal, for which he served as faculty adviser. He didn't get it. Couldn't understand why anyone would want to read poems online. Most literary journals still fall short with their online presence. They could take a cue from this fine example.

chiefbiscuit said...

I hope they survive and thrive - we can use all the art and lit. books we can get in this world.

January said...

Yes, I hope they do survive, CB. So many good ideas go by the wayside for lack of support and funding.


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