From the New Issue: Seth Abramson & Look and Feel

BY MARK LEAHY, Fiction Editor

sabramsonDenise Duhamel is visiting today, and we are pumped. Managing Editor Barney Haney is purchasing the tequila as we speak, I can feel it.

In other news, I’ve just put up Seth Abramson’s amazing Gainsboro Paints Man into Rocks. Seth is the co-founder and poetry editor for The New Hampshire Review, an online journal. He’s a real life attorney, and he’s also got a pretty good thing going over at The Suburban Ecstasies (he’s covering the Dick Cheney “peppering” pretty thoroughly).

So, with Rebekah talking a little yesterday about our overall obsolescence, and people like Mr Abramson taking this intarweb thing for all it’s worth, the question arises, why bother with print at all?

Believe it or not, we ask ourselves this a lot. Besides the displeasure that would be brought down on us from on high if we tried to take Purdue’s magazine web-only (I don’t even want to think about it), we really do believe that each issue can be desirable, beautiful, to have and to hold, as well as read.

That’s one of the reasons we made the big formatting change to 8″x8″. Our feeling was that this would make everything look and feel better, make the text easier to read (column’d stories are where it’s at) and make the art look more “framed.” This was a big decision, but most of us on the staff saw the importance of thinking about the magazine as more than just a way to transmit text.

We look at our office copies of journals like BWR (who have been putting out some gorgeous issues) and Tampa Review(who shouldn’t even be in business, their journal is so classy), and we want our own private copies, to hold and read on the trolley. Coudal also makes us feel like we could be doing more.

Are books printed on paper becoming art objects? Well, they’ve always been, and if you look at the history of printing, overall design, readability, physical attractiveness, have always been concerns. It was NEVER just about words on paper. Nowadays, it seems like university journals are the only places where these important design decisions aren’t getting made.

We’re also interested in establishing a web presence (obviously), and people like Seth Abramson are showing us just how useful the internet is as a low/no-overhead publishing medium. The New Hampshire Review looks great in our browser. We’re getting the hang of it.

Meanwhile, it hurts our eyes less to read on paper. Come on, E-Ink, let’s get this show on the road!

P.S. The New Hampshire Review also includes MP3′s of its poets reading from their poems. That’s pretty slick.