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Literary Magazine Analysis Essay, Research Paper

For the purposes of this literary magazine analysisation project, I reviewed three publications; being “The Denver Quarterly”, “Poet’s and Writer’s Magazine” and “Writer’s Digest”. After reviewing these publications, I’ve found that literary magazines and journals are useful to help writers get their material published and also to keep them informed on opportunities that are available to them, to improve their writings and to help them gain exposure.

The first two publications that I looked at were “Writers Digest” and Poets and Writers Magazine. These publications were quite similar in mission, although, they are marketed to two very different audiences, which makes their layout and content information very different.

The April 2001 issue of “Writer’s Digest”, had Stephen King on its cover; that alone categorizes this publication as something that writers who esteem King works and style would purchase. This publication focused mostly on mass-market writings and how to pump out quantity rather than quality. The advertisements in this publication were flashy and some were even in color. There were advertisements every few pages that were typically a full page in length. They ranged from ads from publishers; to ads from people who claimed they could help you improve your writing, to mail order writing seminars. This publication definitely focuses on lowbrow stuff that could probably be found in the isles of your local super market. There were also some very helpful information included, such as an article on helpful hints, on how to choose the right words for you stories and poems.

There were four sections of columns. The first titled “inspiration”, consisted of five medium sized articles about how to make your first book successful and on how to survive in the world of writing. The next column section was titled “business” and focused solely on publication and different methods that can be used to get published. The third column section was titled “technique” and contained four short articles on different methods of writing that might be helpful to writers in various genres. The last column section was titled “FYI” and had information about up and coming writing events.

The features section of this publication revolved around such things as why it’s important to have an agent and questions an author should ask before signing contracts or agreements. The feature article in this edition was a piece produced by “Stephen King” about how it’s important to write everyday and on him sharing techniques he uses to write at least ten pages a day. Kings perspective on writing was that, once a project is begun, one shouldn’t stop writing until the work is complete. This article optimizes what “Writers Digest” is all about; creating best sellers rather classics and producing as much as possible as soon as possible.

From these observations, I believe the editorial stance of this magazine is to provide resources and helpful information to aspiring writers and to accomplished authors who are working on perfecting their style and technique as mass-marketed authors.

The second literary magazine that I review was the March / April 2001 issue “Poets and Writers Magazine”. This publication focused more on stylistic nit-picky things. I like this publication because it has a very large resource section in which there is information on various grants for writing and different contest for stories and poetry that are being held all around the country. This publication is defiantly an aspiring writers best friend. This publication was similar to “Writer’s Digest”, in that the majority of what was contained in it revolved around exposing writers to what good writers should or shouldn’t do. Although the category of do’s and don’ts was quite different since these publications are aimed at slightly different crowds.

Another big difference in these publications is in that Poet and Writers Magazine doesn’t have any color advertisements in it. Also the types of advertisements are very different. Poets and Writers only contained ads on writing schools, conferences, writing programs, other writing publications and books on things such as “new approaches to characterization”. The ads in this publication were also very small in comparison to those in Writer’s Digest, in that, Poet’s and Writers contained no full-page ads.

There were also four column sections in this publication. The first titled “News and Trends”. This section focused on events, such as writing conferences and gave critiques of books that were about to come into print. The next section was “Literary Life”. This section was full of commentaries on how certain authors felt about writing, it majorally contained stuff about what writing was to them. The third section was titled “the Practical Writer”, and had a couple of articles, which were about poetry. The first was on how working poets, got their status and the second was on opinions as to how editors choose poems, for their publications.

The featured articles in this publication were interviews with successful authors such as Anne Carson, James Alan McPherson and Norman Mailer. For the most part these interviews were all straight forward. The question asked mostly revolved around how the author perceived their work and why they write. An interesting thing about these interviews was that they were written to give the reader a feeling of being there with the reporter who conducted the interview. There are packed full of details of what the temperature was, what the people being interviewed tone of voice was and what the scenery felt like and smelt like. The interviews are written almost as if they were personal essays more than average interviews. This publication had a much more prestigious feel to it

The Editorial stance of “Poet’s and Writers Magazine” is quite similar to that of Writer’s digest in that they both focus on how to assist writers and potentially new writers in their endeavor to succeed in the profession. Yet since this publication is marketed to a different crowd, it has different appeal and has a completely different feel.

The final literary publication that I looked at was the summer 2000 issue of the “Denver Quarterly”. This magazine differed very much so from “Poet’s and Writers and Writers Digest, in that it mostly contained the works of poets and writers and had no commentary on the writing world.

The only thing that was noticeable significant about this publication was that, most of the works included in it were, poetry. A little over half of the magazine was made up of poetry. There were several pages of prose, but poetry definitely had a stronger stance in the publication.

The editorial stance of the “Denver Quarterly” is quite different from that of the two other publications that I reviewed. Quarterly provides opportunities for writers to have their work put into print.

In closing, literary magazines comes in many different shapes and sizes, serve different purposes according to their audiences; and they can either help writers get exposure or they can help writers stay connected to what’s going on in the world of writing.


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