Thursday, April 26, 2007

As long as they spell our names right

One of the things I learned from Casey Hill is that there is now a review of upstreet 2 on The reviews are listed alphabetically; to read it, go here, then scroll down to upstreet:

The conventional wisdom regarding publicity is: "I don't care what they say about me, as long as they spell my name right." That may be true to a certain extent, and I'm glad to have upstreet reviewed in NewPages, but it has to be said that this is kind of a grumpy review. I guess we're too pedestrian for Miles Newbold Clark. As a former mentor told me a few months ago, though, it takes time. We at upstreet are in search of more interesting and varied voices, in all genres, which is why the ads I placed in Poets & Writers and the AWP Writer's Chronicle called for "quality submissions with an edge." (Some of the early submissions made me wonder why I had ever made such a rash request.)

Clark was (sort of) complimentary about upstreet's minimalist aesthetics. I receive many compliments about the look of the journal, usually involving the words "sharp" or "elegant." The minimalist approach reflects my personal taste, and I'm happy about it. Two short stories were singled out, deservedly, for positive comments: "Hidden Camera," by Camp Gordinier, and "Heretics," by Ed Anthony. I hope Fan Club visitors will check out what the reviewer has to say about them, and then go on to read the stories themselves, as well as the rest of the upstreet 2 lineup. The thing that really mystified me about the review was that the poetry was ignored completely. I don't understand this, unless Clark is only interested in prose, or just doesn't feel equipped to evaluate poetry. There are some very good poems by established poets in upstreet 2, including the three we nominated for Pushcart Prizes: "Live at the Village Vanguard," by Bill Zavatsky, "My Erotic Double," by Judy Katz, and "Strange How Trains," by Steve Ackerman.

My thanks to NewPages for reviewing upstreet 2, and we hope they'll take another look when our pages are not so new. We've gotten better, and we'll keep getting better. You'll see.


Miles Newbold Clark said...

For reasons that should be obvious to any netizen, magazine reviews at Newpages are limited to 350 words. At the risk of appearing "unequipped" to critique poetry (despite my evaluation of verse elsewhere on the site, whose quality or lack thereof is not a matter of debate, which is not a reflection of arrogance, but only a reflection of the premises of your original argument, in which aptitude appears to hinge on the mere presence/absence of words, and makes no remark about their quality, which is perhaps the easiest way to read, and a cursory courtesy which you did not bother to explore before evaluating my evaluation), I elected to focus on what was, by any "qualitative" measure, the better of the two genres in your journal.

Vivian said...

I'm sorry that my comments offended the reviewer, but pleased to learn that the fiction in upstreet 2 was rated more highly than the poetry. I was merely wondering why the poetry wasn't mentioned in the review. I now know the answer: there wasn't enough space.