Death and Rebirth of the Lit Journal
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Some of you may have heard: A few fellow students and I have started a charity literary journal named Revolt Lit. This is (finally) my official blog post explaining it. It’s fundamentally a great idea, and if you love writing, winning money, and giving to charity, you should check it out.
For those of you that don’t know, literary magazines were the original heart beat of our national literature. Everyone from Emerson to Burroughs published their work in a circulated magazine. The writers gained exposure, and the magazines gained a readership. Writers often preferred to publish their work in a lit journal, rather than in a book.
Nowadays, the story is entirely different. The internet has greatly lessened lit journals’ practicality, and hardly any exist that aren’t entirely supported by universities. The fluidity and freedom of independently created, print journals has been erased.
Of course, in place of the printed word, the pixel has rabidly leapt forward; printed journals have been superseded by online ones. However, the problem with these online lit journals is that they’re everything printed journals weren’t.
With hundreds of self-proclaimed e-journals, the medium has virtually lost its potency. Before, printed journals were an opportunity for great writers to expose their work to a hungry public. Now, e-journals have functionally become community blogs. The best authors have turned to publishing themselves, and e-journals have turned to general public with hope of ‘discovering’ best authors.
There are exceptions to this. Some e-journals do publish great work. Still, the medium as a whole is stagnant. It’s wonderful to hold public submission periods, and I love the accessibility this creates, but the problem lies within e-journal’s reluctance to do anything besides review and post others’ work.
A lit journal used to be a roaring machine that reinforced and fostered interest in literature and writing. Now, they simply appeal to readers for whom the medium is innate. Sadly, they haven’t adapted to the times.
This is where Revolt comes in. Revolt has kept all the things that have made lit mags great. We accept public submissions, we publish multiple times a year, and we provide an interesting medium for up-and-comers’ works.
Thankfully, Revolt has changed everything that has made e-mags stagnant:
- We donate 75% of our profits to the National Literacy Coalition. Illiteracy is an oft overlooked and important problem. In today’s modern world, there exists no excuse for literacy rates below 100%. We believe that, by donating a targeted $5,000 a quarter, Revolt will do a great deal to allay illiteracy rates.
- We award up to $500.00 for winning writing. We are one of the few lit journals to award this much from inception. We are the only lit journal to award cash prizes of this size to such a young demographic.
- We only accept submissions from writers 25 years old or younger. Revolt does not deny that great writing often comes from older generations. However, writers older than 25 are usually well-established in their craft. Revolt caters to young writers, supporting them in their tumultuous, youthful years. Submissions will be ‘immature’, but also fresh and vital.
- We accept rap lyrics. This may be the biggest deviation from the lit journal ‘norm’, and biggest jump to modernity. Rap lyrics have been demonized and ostracized by the general public. Sometimes, rightfully so. If you asked the average person if they believed that rap lyrics were artistic, they would think you were crazy. Revolt strives to reverse this opinion. Rap originates from spoken-word poetry, and a tradition called “signifying”. While its lyrical styles are coming back in slam poetry, Revolt believes rap needs an extra push. If not obscene, rap can be enlightening and artistic.
With these additions to the common formula of ‘lit journal’, Revlolt will turn the world of e-journals on its head. Think that’s too bold a statement? Well, we’ve been founded for a week and already been covered in a newspaper article, had a blog post written about us, and have already received a surprising amount of submissions.
I want to stress that our journal is not for self gain. We’re working on statements and sponsorships from national literacy organizations so that our mission statement becomes even more clear. In the mean time, readers must understand that we believe in this cause with our entire purpose. We are not making any profit off of this venture. In fact, I’m already out a few hundred dollars and we haven’t yet awarded prizes.
Revolt knows that illiteracy can be fixed. Revolt knows that the common lit journal can be cured. Revolt knows that literature can be fun again. We just need you to help spread the word.
E-mail email@example.com for information.
God Save the Lit Journals,