Lee Smith: Everything is Changing

February 6, 2008 § 1 Comment


When first encountering this snippet of Lee Smith’s WSJ Interview, I thought she was being pretty negative, but by the end of the paragraph, I saw what she meant. Anyone who just experienced the AWP Bookfair saw what she means as well. Brevity, I hope, is part of the change.

Do you think it’s more difficult to get published as a new voice today than before?

[Lee Smith]
 
 

Ms. Smith: Absolutely. This is the horrible irony that just kills me, as I read this very important and exciting work. Because I think we have more excellent new writers who really have something to say, writing in America than we have ever had before. But the horrible irony is that there are fewer and fewer places for good fiction, literary fiction in particular, and poetry and creative nonfiction to be published. At the same time as the number of excellent new writers is growing, our country is dumbing down. People are not reading. Consequently, publishing is in a state where they are publishing less and less serious fiction, serious poetry. So here you have all these wonderful writers with essentially nowhere to publish. And this is giving rise to small literary outlets and particularly I think too, online magazines and to blogging. So there’s a whole different kind of thinking about writing and where it will be heard and read and seen coming in now. Everything is changing.

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§ One Response to Lee Smith: Everything is Changing

  • Dave says:

    It’s nice to see the recognition of blogs and online magazines as a replacement for paper journals. As a tree-hugger, I have trouble seeing this in any but a positive light. But she goes on to imply that blogs are replacing books – a highly dubious proposition. I think serious readers and writers all still want to read, own, and be published in books. The point she missed I think is the print-on-demand revolution, which is making it possible for small literary publishers like Word Tech to turn a profit, and is helping established presses like Penn State UP to bring classic works back into print. And those of us with online literary magazines should probably think about offering a print-on-demand option for readers who want it, though Lulu, Blurb, or some-such outfit.

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