I stumbled upon an article from Mother Jones about the demise of literary magazines. You can find it here. Although the article is specifically addressing the fate of literary magazines that are associated with colleges and universities, this article caught my attention because a) Spout obviously has a strong interest in the preservation of literary magazines and literary culture and b) back in the day (1989 to be exact) Spout Magazine was launched in part to address the lack of publishing opportunities for all of the talented writers who were getting lost in what seemed at the time (and maybe still does) like an elitist environment that worked against championing new voices.
Many, but not all, of the offending publications were affiliated with institutions of higher learning. If literary magazines are now being dumped by universities, where all of the readers and writers going to go? If, as the author of this article suggests, creative writing programs are “…multiplying like tribbles” there should be enough readers to support the publications. Or not. The term “alternative” has been overused to the point of becoming nearly meaningless, but in the case of literary publishing, there are alternatives for literary writers beyond the usual list of suspects. It is my sincere hope that any changes in literary publishing will encourage readers to look for publications like Spout (and many others) that are interested in bringing as many new and underappreciated voices as possible into print.