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November 2, 2001

UW-RF Home to Literary Mgazine Review

Librarians across the world who are shopping among literary journals for their stacks, and readers who are seeking insightful commentary on the best writers, will be turning to UW-River Falls for advice.

UW-River Falls English associate Professor Jenny Brantley was recently named editor of Literary Magazine Review. Brantley, who has been writing reviews for the magazine for the past few years, published the fall 2001 issue of Literary Magazine Review for the first time as editor.

Said Brantley, "When I was offered the position, I was reluctant at first. I felt myself to be a writer, not an editor. And I was scared; this is a huge responsibility. But it was such a good opportunity for the University and for the students, I couldn't pass it up."

Literary Magazine Review, a quarterly publication, reviews literary magazines such as Ploughshares, Spoon River Poetry Review and West Branch, that publish mostly poetry and literary prose, including imaginative literature, short stories and creative non-fiction. It also publishes essays that examine current trends in literary magazines and the changing scene of writing in the United States.

"Not many magazines do this," said Brantley. "Literary Magazine Review serves a real need in the writing community.

"The audience is libraries, writers and readers who are interested in contemporary, cutting-edge literature. They read Literary Magazine Review so they can decide which magazines they want to subscribe to, or which ones to send their work to. Readers can also learn where to find good things to read."

Said Dean Gorden Hedahl, College of Arts and Sciences, "I think this is a marvelous endorsement of the intellectual qualities of UW-RF, and more specifically, the literary skills of our faculty in the English department."

The 20-year-old magazine was originally published at Kansas State University, where Brantley attended graduate school.

"I knew the editor, Grant Tracey, from my school years," she said. "Later, we became reacquainted when we met at a conference. When he became fiction editor of North American Review, one of the most respected literary magazines in the country, he asked me to take over as editor of Literary Magazine Review."

She said while Tracey was trying to manage two magazines, the subscriptions for Literary Magazine Review dwindled from one 1,000 to about 300, so part of her job is to bring it back around. Just this fall, she said, she has increased subscriptions by 20.

"My primary goals are to bring subscriptions back to 1,000 and to have a magazine that people want to subscribe to," said Brantley. Her other goal is to obtain contributions to help finance the magazine. "The people of River Falls are very supportive," she said. "They have generous spirits and care about making the area look good. It looks good for River Falls to be home to a literary magazine that goes out to libraries in Scotland, in Hong Kong and in Germany."

With the help of her intern, Karissa Swenson, a sophomore English major from New Auburn, Brantley says she handles every aspect of producing the magazine, from contacting reviewers and overseeing production to addressing and mailing.

"The reviewers don't get any money, and neither do I," said Brantley. "We get to be published and to be part of the literary world. To be asked to write a review is an honor. Only people who are good creative writers and who are current with the writing scene are asked to review."

In addition to providing more visibility for the University, the magazine is a good resource for the students, Brantley said. It provides them with the opportunity to work on a professional magazine and to be exposed to other magazines.

"Having the magazine here will also bring more attention to the Reading Series ," said Brantley, referring to the program she coordinates to bring guest and student writers together to read their work. "Since this fall, a number of writers have contacted me about coming to campus," she said.

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