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Kurowski, Travis, Ed.: Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine.

Kurowski, Travis, Ed. Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine. Atticus Books, 2013. 432p. $29.95 Oversize pb. 978-0-9840405-7-5. Illus. Timeline. Appendices. Contributor Bios.

Paper Dreams is not the last word on literary magazines, but it is a thorough discussion of the history, the transformation in print and online, and the significance of what I.D. McClatchy calls "the prime archeological dig of the American imagination" (Quotations, p. 405). A roughly chronological compendium, it devotes a section to writers' and editors' views and includes four representative manifestos from the magazines' development. Like the magazines themselves, the writing can be uneven. It opens well with Billy Collins's poem "Literary Magazines." Selections that review swaths of time like Paul Bixler's "Little Magazine, What Now?" are largely lists of names and titles, serving a purpose for those needing a survey, but dry reading for those wanting more. Pieces like Megan Garr's "The Literary Economy Is Pathetic," do better, capturing a wider issue by filtering it through the lens of a single publication. Garr addresses money problems through Versal, a magazine compiled by English-speaking expatriates living in the Netherlands.

The book is aimed at adults with an interest in the subject or at teachers and students compelled to be interested. Teachers and librarians will appreciate Nicholas Ripatrazone's advice for using literary magazines in the high school English curriculum. The articles, especially the four manifestos and pieces dealing with feminist and minority involvement, will offer challenging nonfiction a la Common Core Learning Standards, and the samples of cover art will work well in discussions of visual devices. Little magazines will no doubt appreciate much-needed new subscribers, too.--Donna L. Phillips.

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Author:Phillips, Donna L.
Publication:Voice of Youth Advocates
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2013
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