Our spring 2013 theme is The Business of Literature. One of publishing's visionaries, Richard Nash, leads off by offering a historical perspective on the issue, combined with insight into how the business must adapt. Read the entire essay, "What Is the Business of Literature?"
Table of Contents
Review the entire contents of our Spring 2013 issue, now available in print and online.
A VQR Roundtable
How can writers flourish in the digital age? We ask a few innovators and practitioners, including Andy Hunter (founder of Electric Literature), Simon Lipskar (literary agent), Amy O'Leary (New York Times reporter), Evan Ratlifff (The Atavist), and John Tayman (Byliner).
"Memoir’s new view of the truth, what comedian Stephen Colbert named truthiness, remains unconscionable exactly because it bends the truth instead of breaking it. Such truthiness does not risk “the breaks” we see in jazz, or in hip-hop at its best—calling attention to its own process, bending the notes till they may not be recognizable."
Lisa Dickler Awano
Munro: "I work slowly; it’s always difficult—it’s nearly always difficult. I’ve been writing steadily, really, since I was twenty years old, and now I’m eighty-one. My routine now is to get up in the morning, have some coffee, start to write."
Five book designers write about covers that inspired them, featuring Craig Mod, Rodrigo Corral, Michael Fusco, John Gall, and Jon Gray.
On the future of the sheet-music business, Baer writes, "There’s still a demand for sheet music, mostly by people who play in houses of worship and students whose school music programs have yet to be decimated. But for the most part, Americans who play popular music (as opposed to concert music) for fun perform from chord charts or memory."
Karen An-hwei Lee
What must I do to earn a living / on this Earth? I confess the one / who perished and was buried / rose again.
By now she knows that just because it’s thin / doesn’t mean it won’t hurt, that green is better / than dead & dried. She needs to choose / between the hot sting of a wasp, or a dull
These arms, after all, / are open for no one / else.
You flared across Boston / like a meteor, blond mane and lowered brow / in every coffeehouse off the Charles.
My love, the fox is in the yard. / The snow will bear his print a while, / then melt and go,
Out of bed in the morning. Since April I’ve had one foot / In someone else’s grave, a drunk girl who left me / Her shoes. The way she would move through a party / Like cursive
In Havana, the line between source and friend is always moving.
From under a rock in the highlands of Guinea, the Gambia emerges as one of the last untamed great rivers of Africa, winding through three countries on its way to the sea.
Two states, three countries, four opponents of fracking.
Oliver Campbell had never met Billy White Feather. He had never heard the name. But the note tacked to his backdoor had him out on the reservation at nine on a raw Sunday morning.
Ed Phelps was walking north up Seventh Avenue. He’d just come along 50th Street from seeing Rockefeller Center—just the way he remembered it, all spit-shined and brass bright, the great big golden statue above the skating rink where they shot theToday show—and he wandered up the avenue, with no particular direction in mind.
Bobbie Ann Mason
On Thursdays, if the weather was pleasant, Isabella Smith drove her older sister, Maud, to Lexington to have lunch at Harvey’s, the best place outside of Louisville to get a Kentucky Hot Brown.
The bag was black, just like Kate’s, and like Kate’s it had a yellow ribbon tied to the handle. But inside were another woman’s belongings. The clothes came in colors she would never wear—bright magenta and electric blue and pastel pink—and in styles she would never wear—a flouncy miniskirt, baby-doll T-shirts with slutty slogans splashed across the front, a pair of sweatpants with the word Pink written across the behind.
Back then the road they lived on was a dirt road and they lived at the end of it, about a mile from Route 4. This was in the north in the potato country, and back when the Appleby children were small the winters were icy and snow-filled and there were months when the road seemed impassably narrow.
"A nagging question in Frost criticism in the half-century since the author’s death has been where to place him in the larger narrative of American poetry. … [H]e remains one of the few modern poets in English still read, esteemed, and quoted by all types of people from elementary school kids and chaired professors to journalists and politicians. But after Modernism, popularity itself seems suspicious—an attribute associated with Longfellow and Whittier not Pound and Stevens."
David Mikics and Robert Zaretsky
"A century after his birth, Camus is still mislabeled and misunderstood in too many quarters. He was not a brooding, self-absorbed existential poseur, but a man of political and ethical commitment whose primary value was solidarity, the proper valuing of our ties with those around us."
A new translation of Apollinaire's "Zone," the central poem in his career.