By Steve Black, Coll. of Saint Rose, Albany, NY Jan 6, 2011
This month brings reviews of a quintet of new literary journals. Four are available for free online, and one distributes print issues via subscription. Two of these are using print-on-demand (POD) services, which significantly reduce a small publisher’s upfront costs for print issues and can result in quality products. A negative for libraries is that for the time being many POD-produced periodicals must be purchased as individual issues rather than by subscription.
Pennsylvania Literary Journal. 2009. s-a. $30. ISSN 2151-3066. Aud: Ac (Subject: Literature—History and Criticism. Issue examined: Vol.2, No. 1, Summer 2010)
Pennsylvania Literary Journal is an independent POD publication unaffiliated with any college or university. Editor and publisher Anna Faktorovich writes, “Self-publishing is not respected in the academia, as these publications are not ‘wetted’ [sic] or peer-reviewed. This problem will not apply to this venture, as we would peer-edit each other’s works,” (PLJ Summer 2010, p. 18). Independent efforts can be an effective way to give voice to diverse points of view. The examined issue contains six book reviews, six critical essays, an interview, a short story, and about a dozen poems. Pennsylvania Literary Journal has some rough spots—e.g., an author cited in the text of article whose work is not included in the works cited—but overall is reasonably well edited, and the printed copy from Amazon’s CreateSpace is of good quality. Hopefully the editorial board will advance rigorous peer review to make Pennsylvania Literary Journal a cut above self-published works freely available on the web. Libraries with collections of literary criticism are advised to wait and see how that develops before purchasing print issues.