Starting in January of this year, articles from various sources began surfacing a worrisome and growing concern: that Government proposals to shift spending could result in the elimination of the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA). Those in literary circles have already provided comment. A notable one is from Speer Morgan of The Missouri Review, where in a February 16th article in The Maneater, Morgan says such a cut would be terribly destructive. Though his journal has a good deal of other funding, Morgan believes the potential cuts could adversely affect the smaller literary magazines, those who rely on annual NEA grants to stay afloat.
Point taken. If funding from the NEA is eliminated or considerably reduced, many small literary magazines will feel the pain. But there is a comforting side of this story that I recently experienced. Additionally, I'd like to offer a clear perspective.
At the AWP Conference last month in Washington DC, I met with many literary magazine editors and asked them about this growing concern. Prior to the questioning, my guess was that I would see many glum faces, some sadness, some shrugging of the shoulders and helpless sighs. Happily, most of the responses I received were not ones indicating the financial well-being of the journal would be in jeopardy if the funding was eliminated. The sentiment was more of a "We will find a way to continue." Amen.
To all those who have a hand in running a literary magazine and subscribe to this thinking, I thank you. If the worst comes to the worst, I believe there will still be ways to continue, to survive, and maybe even thrive. A key question that publishers of literature should ask themselves, if they have not done so already, is this: Are we putting out a great journal because we have the money, or are we putting it out because we are committed to literature with great passion; that if we did not, we would simply fade away?
— J Levens
In February, we received the happy news that a story from a contributor was a winner in the inaugural 2017 PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers. Congratulations to Jim Cole whose piece, "The Asphodel Meadow," appearing in our Fall 2016 issue, was the author's first publication. An anthology of all winning stories is being released later this year by Catapult, and the award includes a two-thousand-dollar prize. We wish to thank all those who had a hand in the decision process for selecting this wonderful story.
In other happy news, we'd like to announce a new feature at Summerset: audio readings of selected work! We are happy to include here one poem read by Reed Wilson. You will find a small icon of a speaker next to the poem's title, allowing you to listen in. We hope to make more readings available per issue as we move forward. Ah, just the thought of summer makes us smile.
Theme graphics this issue - "Days of Old and Small"
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