Friday, February 6, 2009

Whatever Happened To...

So what is up with the Paris Review?  
Last I heard there was a new hot editor (Philip Gourevitch), who was going to shake things up. To quote his vision: PR could be “reinvigorated and slightly reconceived for a new century.”  Of course, even in the brave, new, reinvigorated world, someone over there rejected me with a handwritten note (for some reason, I don't have it posted, so will try to locate it). 

Maybe I'm out of the loop, but I can't quite get a handle on whether or not reinvigoration has occurred.


bigblogger said...

TPR 2.0

IMHO, "reinvigoration" always means that something is old enough to be possibly out of fashion -- and the current handlers are freaking because they don't ever want to be seen like that ... so they quickly try to copy what everybody else is doing. Yawn accordingly.

There was a place for The Paris Review (the little magazine), but that place is in the past. Little magazines are pointless in a world of Internets. Forget the paper, people, please move on. "Reinvigorate" by going all-online, put it all out there. Lose the subscriptions, sell ads. Publish more stuff. Bring fiction and poetry into the mainstream again.

Actually this could be an answer to the LROD contingent who bemoan the death of mainstream lit. If TPR wants relevancy in today's world they need to toss the hardcopy and build a web site that people visit to read stuff. If they can pull it off, and pay a decent rate, that would be awesome.

Anonymous said...

this is pretty old news, but part of the reinvigoration was to change the appearance of the journal, cut back on poetry, and throw out some woman (forget the name) who was close to plimpton. she went on to found A Public Space.

reinvigoration never means publish more unknowns from the slush. so in that sense, you and i aren't feeling truly reinvigorated by the P R changes.

Anonymous said...

The question is, does this anthology give you the best?
I did a bit of research. I took classics - much anthologized stories that originally appeared in American magazines - and none from my list appeared in BEST.
Five choice examples: A Rose for Emily, The Magic Barrel, The Lottery, Gimpel the Fool, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
None of them were considered one of the best of the year by BEST.
Do your own list: classic stories, American magazines, published early in an author's career.
I say "early" because BEST picks up the work of writers when they are Names. But they play it safe: they go with who's big on the scene, either a young lion or an institution.
I think it's laughable to believe these are "blind" readings. Anyway, Katrina Kenison (does she still edit it?) knows who the authors are, and she parcels out the stories to the editors.

beep beep said...

I'm going to stick to the topic of the post...I like Paris Review for the reporting and interviews; like VQR, it's very strong in the non-fiction department and is one of the 10 or so lit mags that I buy off the stand from time to time. In the last issue that I bought, there was a great interview with Umberto Ecco.

I'm probably not going to break into the fiction pages any time soon, and yeah it's a crap shoot for the mss in the slush pile, but Paris Review is one of the good guys.

Stephen Hines said...

At least they said they'd like to see more of your work...or is that their standard rejection for all?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to interrupt the stimulating discussion of Paris Review.
Nobody cares about the Paris Review because the Paris Review doesn't care about Nobodies.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Beeper (could it be the Road Runner?) - Are you sure - absolutely sure - you don't have some acceptances from Paris Review?
Check you files.
You may be luckier than you think!

beep beep said...

Seriously, I've never been accepted by the Paris Review, but I still think it's a good journal. And even though they only publish somebodies, or connected-to-somebodies, they at least put out A stories. Unlike the New Yorker (B stories of the super-famous) or Ploughshares (C- stories of writing teachers).

Anonymous said...

All you people who hate all the journals -- you wonder why you're unpublished???

Anonymous said...

i agree with 5:07 and beeper. why dis a journal that's good and pays. they don't charge for submissions, and they even give out personal rejections once in a while.

hominahominahomina said...

Ditto 5:07

Anonymous said...

In beep beep's words, regarding The Paris Review:
"And even though they only publish somebodies, or connected-to-somebodies..."
Isn't that a good reason to "dis" a journal? Would you be a fan of a country club that wouldn't allow you in it? Paris Review has always, from the day it was founded, been a members-only enterprise.
BTW, beep beep "dises" The New Yorker and Ploughshares.
This blog is about getting published, for those who get rejected (those who aren't "somebodies or connected-to-somebodies").
I think the same person writes under various names to support their point of view. As if there's a great groundswell of agreement. Happens a lot here.

hominahominahomina said...

"Isn't that a good reason to "dis" a journal? Would you be a fan of a country club that wouldn't allow you in it? Paris Review has always, from the day it was founded, been a members-only enterprise."

Actually, Paris Review has published a number of writers early on their careers, including a few "discoveries"; they always have. Maybe -- just maybe -- you're not a good enough of a writer to make the cut?

As for my comment above, I only commented once. Your paranoia is leaking through.

beep beep said...

paranoianonymous 8:40

i dissed the new yorker fiction section, not the new yorker.

but i will still praise the paris review because it's one of the few journals i will shell out money for and read cover to cover. my support of the paris review isn't conditional on them publishing me.

analogy: you whack off to prono mags in your grandma's basement, even though you yourself will never appear between the covers.

also, i have only commented twice. and disses is spelled with two s's.

Anonymous said...

"you whack off to prono mags in your grandma's basement, even though you yourself will never appear between the covers."
Those are the words of beep beep, folks (revealing what's under his mask of civility).
Thanks for the correction on "disses" - I don't run with the homeboys in the hood, so don't know the slang.
By the way, what's a "prono" magazine?
The Paris Review's "discoveries" are made at parties, not picked from the slush pile. I've never submitted anything to them.

hominahominahomina said...

"my support of the paris review isn't conditional on them publishing me."

Beep Beep: This is an excellent point, and one that the commenters on this site often fail to see as a possibility. Thanks for bringing it up.

nate said...

"All you people who hate all the journals -- you wonder why you're unpublished???"

You're mistaking the terms, friend. Getting an "acceptance" from a lame unknown academic "journal" is not the same as getting "published" ... at least not to all of us. Yes, every area of academic has its journals, to which you must submit ... but real writers (those who are good enough to make money off their work and influence the public through it too), they can sell their work to publications that people read. I've done that (in genre fiction and in non-fiction). I don't need Ploughshares to make good money from a story. And who cares about Prairie Schooner or Poetry Magazine? It's all junk. I hope they all cease publication.

Anonymous said...

you guys have to take a hard look at what's out there

look at whats out there RIGHT NOW and add it up

game is stacked against you so bad it probably costs more on your career to play than to pass

think about the academic / mfa world: you probably can't name a single writer who "snuck through" that system based on "great writing" alone, no connections, no degrees, who got tapped by the mfa journals and made a name by what they pushed into the slush, then success

no, they are all mfa / academic somehow

you won't find a single one that breaks the rule

it's because that's not what these things are for, it doesn't work that way, not now

old classic mags that still exist in name, they still have oldtime commercial writers in their lists of who they published, but it's still a completely different world

you have to think clearly

it's a different system, different culture, different mores

if you want $ and a name you have to find new ways, go somewhere else, something different, something new

the old game is over