News: Lit Mag Talk Cont'd

2011-03-28 19:06:PM ago by laurie.anne.fuhr

As a follow up to the National Post article from Saturday March 26th by Michael Lista about culling literary magazines that is linked to in my previous blog post, Mark Medley posted this article today on the National Post's website:

"In Saturday’s National Post, poetry columnist Michael Lista argued for reducing the number of literary magazines in Canada.

Writes Lista:

"The problem with the market for literary journals now is that there’s too much supply for too little demand. The demand is there, to be sure, and isn’t in danger of diminishment should a number of these journals fold; quite the opposite. A culling will improve quality on both sides of the editorial table; the quality of submissions will increase as places to publish become more scarce, as will the calibre of the editors. And if we move from having a couple dozen journals to a handful, the readership that now is so thinly spread will coalesce around the remaining organs. The standard of the whole enterprise will rise. A magazine’s most important asset, let’s keep in mind, is its exclusivity; writers want to be published by magazines that are tough to get into, and readers buy pedigree."

The reaction was immediate, though — at least from my point of view — fairly surprising. As Zoe Whittall wrote over on Quill and Quire, most people tweeting the article “began with an almost embarrassed admission that they agreed with him.”

There’s been a lot of great online discussion about Lista’s column over the past few days, and I can only imagine off-line as well. Check out this response from Laurie Fuhr, the managing editor of filling Station Magazine, here — the piece is responsible for the “Michael Lista is wrong” meme — while Jacob McArthur Mooney adds his two cents over at his blog Vox Populism, a debate that’s continued in the comments section. There’s some thoughts at Art Threat, too. I’ll add more links as I find them."


If you haven't read my reply to Michael Lista's original article, please check it out. Also, look for our Letter to the Editor in the National Post this Tuesday.

filling Station blog readers, it's one thing for me to post about how much I believe in literary magazines and why Lista is wrong, but it's even better to hear from others who share this conviction. If you believe as many of us do that the survival of many, not just a few, literary magazines is important to Canada, please email I will post the best comments on our new blog here at, and we use your comments, we'll send you a free magazine, so please be sure to include your mailing address. If you're already a subscriber, you may have received it previously -- if that's the case, please pass it along to a friend or family member and help us spread the lit mag love.

©2020 filling Station Magazine