Literary Magazine– Not Literary?
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
I’m on an ever-expanding quest to find literary magazines. There are a lot of them out there. Just google ‘literary magazine’ to find out. Anyway, most of them are great– they fulfill different, separate niches, and satisfy a wide consumer base. However, I came across one today that irked me.
Usually, journals will have some sort of guidelines. The guidelines can either refer to the length, subject or stylings of the work, and they’re often different for each magazine. However, hardly any of them restrict the fundamental ideals and tenets of literary production. It would restrict the authors and their work.
I say hardly, because I did find one that does have insane restrictions– Apple Valley Review. Now, far be it from me to attack any literary magazine. I’m hardly on any revered critical pedestal and this magazine is fairly popular. However, I do understand literature, and I understand the submission guidelines at Apple Valley Review are absolutely insane.
The guidelines, and I quote, are as follows:
“Please do not send us
—genre fiction (e.g., horror, science fiction, mysteries);
—work that is scholarly or critical, inspirational, or intended for children;
—erotica or work containing explicit language; or
—anything that is violent or more than a little depressing.”
So what the hell can we send you? Sure, a lot of magazines don’t allow genre fiction (though any type of fiction can be classified as such), and sure it’s normal to not want pornographic material submitted. The guideline I have a problem with is “anything that is violent or a more than a little depressing”.
Are you fucking serious? I don’t like to curse in writing (especially under the explicit language guideline), but this has got to be a goddamned joke. Anything more than a little depressing? So, that throws out Arthur Miller, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, William Shakespeare, to name a few.
Some of the greatest works in literary history are more than a little depressing. It’s an embarrassment and a farce for this magazine to tailor to a group of literature in such a myopic manner. I wonder if the editors have read anything classically substantial at all.
Well, that’s all I really have to say. I can’t explain why those guidelines are ridiculous, either you understand or you don’t. It’s not my business and it’s a private organization, and that proves how utterly appalled I was to see this joke of censorship calling itself a literary magazine.
God Save the (Good) Journals,