This post kicks off a new series on Pages to Pixels, “Journal Profiles”. In this series, popular online literary journals will be reviewed and explored in regards to mission, innovation, design, and intention. The first magazine to be reviewed is Guernica.
Since its recent inception, Guernica, “A Magazine of Art and Politics,” has quickly risen to Internet fame. Esquire has called Guernica a “great literary magazine,” and George Saunders has said that the publication “respect[s] the life of the mind with an intensity rarely seen these days.”
A varied range of worldwide contributers ensures unique content, refreshing literary depth, and a mixing of diverse viewpoints that stand as the foundation to all progressive movements, artistic and political alike. Through informative interviews, impressive fiction, an accessible design, and a mission worthy of popularity, Guernica should expect a bright future.
This interview is with Joel Whitney, an Editor in Chief with the magazine. In the piece, I’ve labeled his responses with “GUERNICA MAGAZINE” rather than with his name. Guernica is published twice monthly, and accepts submissions of Essays, Interviews, Fiction, Poetry, Art/Photography. Follow the magazine on twitter here.
PAGES TO PIXELS
The Internet has allowed hundreds of arts magazines and literary journals to flourish. How does yours differ–in either intention or success–from the others?
In some ways ours differs by taking little pieces of what we loved most. We’re hybridized. We loved the long writer interviews that The Paris Review does, and wondered if you could have a series that honors the voice of polemicists and activists and political thinkers in the same way; we loved the cross-genre arts interviews that BOMB does and saw a possible model for interviews-as-conversations in that; we loved how Ploughshares and the Best–American series use guest editors to create micro-climates within their own aesthetics. And we stole.
But maybe the single biggest difference is that Guernica looked at politics as the arts’ twin sibling in the family of culture. We want our ratio of arts coverage–our attention to aesthetics–to be higher than in current events or general interest magazines. And we wanted politics to be seen as part of that culture, which it undeniably is, and to be handled the way it is in opinion journals, in the sense of taking sides in the disputes. So there’s that.
But we’re really just looking for great writing and great ideas, and we’re not afraid to spark arguments, and this is why we’re cited widely in places like Slate, the Times Book section and its blogs (Arts Beat, Idea of the Day, now defunct, or Freakonomics), on Arts and Letters Daily, at The New Yorker‘s Book Bench blog or in The New Republic, in Best American Essays–to shamelessly name a few.