I’d like to introduce you to IR‘s dynamite new staff: Jennifer Luebbers takes the helm as Editor, and Katie Moulton is Associate Editor, Joe Hiland is Fiction Editor, Michael Mlekoday is Poetry Editor, Justin Wolfe is Nonfiction Editor, and Doug Paul Case is our first-ever Web Editor. I’m sad to leave my post, but I’m absolutely thrilled about the incoming team. I can’t wait to see what’s next for IR—it’s going to be a phenomenal year.
1. Why are literary journals significant?
MM: Tons of reasons! Literary journals are the vanguards of literature—they are where readers and writers first meet up, where our community comes together. Without journals, we’re just a bunch of rugged individualists, carrying only our own poems and stories and essays with us. Then we’re just landlocked, because it takes more than one branch to build a boat. Is that true? I don’t know. The great variety of journals being made and read right now means we can always find new inspiration, new writers to shake us and take us out to sea.
JW: I don’t know. In historical terms, I can understand their importance, but in terms of right now, I’m really not actually sure? I know that, in my experience, IR has been an important center to our literary community in Bloomington, but outside of that, I can’t say much else. I’m sure former and future editors will be able to mount a rousing case for the continued cultural relevance of the literary journal, but I come from a blogging background and have, since I’ve been familiar with them, been resistant to what I perceive as the insularity of little magazines, the walled garden effect. One of the reasons that I’ve taken this position is to try to break down or at least inform that resistance of mine, to better understand what a magazine like IR really does and what it means to our larger literary culture. In other words: hopefully I’ll have a better answer this time next year?
DPC: Because they’re the future! It seems like everyone is bemoaning the death of literary journals, but while print might be fading, there are many, many online journals thriving and doing the same things literary magazines have always been doing: showing us the future of literature. Find me an important poet or story writer who wasn’t published first in a literary journal and I will buy you a cookie. If you’re interested in the trajectory of literature, you should be reading journals.