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Anis Shivani

Anis Shivani

Posted: November 21, 2010 09:18 AM

After at least a decade of sustained presence, what can we say about the status of journals that promote literature online? We asked editors of some of the oldest online journals, as well as some new ones, these questions: What are online literary journals doing that print journals are failing to do? Have online journals come of age yet? Can you point to specific examples of areas where online literary journals are in a league of their own?

Rebecca Morgan Frank, editor-in-chief, Memorious: A Journal of New Verse and Fiction
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Yes, online journals have "come of age": we've evolved from being the medium that people did not take seriously, and considered ephemeral, to being an enduring medium that models innovation in the important work of keeping literature relevant and accessible to readers. Print journals are following the lead of online journals by going online-only themselves (Triquarterly, Shenandoah), by having a companion online version with different content (Harvard Review, Agni), or by offering limited content and archives online. Online and print journals are essentially doing the same work: bringing together writers and readers. The practices of readers are now closing the assumed gap between these mediums. Online journals offer a way to navigate limitations of time and space, both geographical and material, with the presence of easily accessible archives that keep issues current, and with a more effective distribution model, as well as freedom from the restrictions of the dollar-based page count. Online journals can host longer works, accommodate longer lines, and are freed from the break of the page. They also offer unique opportunities for collaboration with other art forms: Blackbird offers video essays and videos of dance; Born brings together writers and artists in multimedia projects; and here at Memorious, our art song contest brings together composers, chamber musicians, and poets. Such innovations ultimately expand the audience for literature.

Rebecca Morgan Frank is editor-in-chief of Memorious: A Journal of New Verse and Fiction and author of the forthcoming poetry collection Little Murders Everywhere.
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