I have one more set of dreams to document for Matt over at the mothership, but once I’ve done that (this evening), I’m wiping my hands for the time being of 2666. Over the next week or two, I’ll begin posting some teaser material for Moby Dick, along with a couple of announcements that I’m really excited about. For today, I have a tangential question unrelated to any particular book. It’s actually a whole series of questions.
What do you look for in a literary journal? Are there any you subscribe to or make sure to browse regularly at the library? How often do you find journals to be really well-targeted to your interests? That is, do you often find yourself reading the things nearly cover-to-cover or are they hit-or-miss? And which ones are which? What do you most like to read in such journals (fiction, poetry, nonfiction, journalism, something else)? Bear in mind that I’m asking in particular about literary journals and not necessarily any periodical. I wouldn’t include Harper’s, for example, though it often features literature and reviews of literary books. Do you tend to read niche journals or more general-interest journals? If the former, what niche? Do you favor print or online journals or do you not discriminate on the basis of medium? Anything else?
I ask because I’m putting some thought into my own subscriptions. I subscribe to Poetry, for example, but I find it almost always to be really uneven. Sometimes they publish stuff that’s almost unreadable to me. Other times, there’s really good stuff. The only part I read faithfully and all the way through is the section of letters to the editor. So I’m curious what others’ experiences with journals are. Am I just a picky or a lazy reader, I wonder, or do others have problems with unevenness in journals as well?