The LA Times book blog, Jacket Copy, recently featured this post about the suddenly imperiled New England Review, which has been told by Middlebury college that it has until 2011 to become self-sustaining. Like many university-affiliated literary journals (including HFR), the university supplies office space, some salary money, and printing costs for the journal. With under 2,000 subscribers, the journal is not a money-making enterprise. But (and here I'll speak for HFR), a university-based journal provides other, less tangible revenue. Its existence enlivens the university's literary community. It supports the graduate and undergraduate communities by providing opportunities for editing and interning - real-world applications of what is taught in creative writing classrooms. It brings attention to the university, and its creative writing programs. It creates a relationship between the university and the larger community of readers and writers. It provides opportunities for dialogue, conversation and scholarship. It allows the university to give back to the larger world, supporting the work of emerging writers and artists. It creates jobs in the arts, a valuable enterprise for an institution that trains students in the arts.
According to the post, Boston University's Partisan Review and Duke's DoubleTake folded after support was withdrawn in recent years, and LSU's Southern Review is currently under threat as well.
Literary journals need your support: as writers, as readers, as supporters of education and the arts. Still not convinced? Try this blog post on for size: Ted Genoways of The Virginia Quarterly Review on the importance of literary journals and presses. Please consider making your voice heard by subscribing to your favorite journal, or with an email showing your support.