More Words about Harper’s Magazine

I’m behind. Oh, just way behind on all my magazines (pay no attention to the New Yorkers buckling N’s midcentury endtable in the corner). I read the second half (story onward) of the January 2011 issue. I’d like to come back to the story by Mark Slouka in a future post. It’s incredible. Well, here, lemme just quote the part of the story that contains most of its awesomeness—wherein the narrator’s father goes every day to a rabbit hutch in which his family is hiding a man during wartime. I’ll do that at the end, because here, from Lopate’s little fawning essay on Emerson:

For several months I have been camping out in the ind of Ralph Waldo Emerson. It is a companionable, familiar, and yet endlessly stimulating place, and, since his mind is stronger than mine, I keep deferring to his wisdom, even his doubts, and quite shamelessly identifying with him. All this started when I came across in a local bookstore the new, two-volume edition of his Selected Journals, published by the Library of America, and decided to give it a whirl. Some 1,900 pages later, I am in thrall to, in love with, Mr. Emerson. If this sounds homoerotic, so be it.

It’s like he just learned the word last week. No, Phil. No.
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The New Creative Nonfiction

The current issue of Creative Nonfiction (a magazine out of Pittsburgh; I used to walk past its Walnut Street offices in the days I lived with girls in Shadyside) is in a new magazine format—laid out, graphically rich, pull-quote-heavy, 8ish” x 11ish”—that is welcome and good. I think the days of serial publications looking like novels are over, and it’s clear the folks of CNF have realized this, too. One of the issue’s early essays is from the by now former editor of TriQuarterly, on the move of his journal to an all-digital format, run by students. It’s a decision made perhaps stupidly by Northwestern’s administration, and while it’s a loss, clearly the idea with this magazine (inclusive also of an essay by R. Rodriguez on the death of the PBS Newshour’s five-minute essays) is that change is afoot. Although it’s unclear whether “afoot” means happening now to happening soon, and so let’s just say things change. Let’s make it present/infinite tense because this is a statement that’s always true.
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