A Lit Mag Lives On!

A few months ago, I shared news on this blog that [PANK] was shutting down, after its editors, M. Bartley Seigel and Roxane Gay, announced the news about the cutting-edge mag via social media. The announcement sent ripples through the literary world. New York Times Magazine called PANK “a raft of experimental fiction and poetry.” Travis Kurowski, editor of Story Magazine and columnist for Poets & Writers, said, “Like McSweeney’s was nearly 20 years ago (and The Paris Review 40 years before that), PANK has been one of those lit mags that seemed to represent the zeitgeist of a generation—a literary turn towards diversity, queerness, raw authenticity.”

These quotes come from the introduction to an interview Electric Lit just published with outgoing editor M. Bartley Seigel, and the interview contains some huge news about the fate of the magazine. It’s going to live on! It has been purchased by John Gosslee of Fjords Review.

The interview features a lot of other interesting tidbits. For instance, Seigel states that he and Roxane Gay decided to step away from the magazine because they are in their mid-40s now and have too many projects happening.

Here is what he said about his time editing [PANK] and the state of American literature:

Overall, I ended my tenure at PANK in a very, positive place. American literature is robust, vibrant, and very much kicking and screaming. Reading and editing and publishing PANK only drove home for me that the foundational world of American letters, underpinning the big publishing houses, the major awards, the world of literary magazine and small and independent presses, is wide and deep and teeming with the most amazing publishers, editors, writers, writing, and readers. If I have a critique of American letters, it’s that the average American doesn’t read broadly enough, not enough work in translation, that we’re too isolated, too narrow in our reading habits, still too locked into boxes like the one built out of white male heteronormativity.

I encourage anyone to read the full interview. It provides a lot of insight into the contemporary literary landscape and the future of one of America’s most important lit mags.

New Review/Final Review at [PANK]

As I mentioned in an earlier post, [PANK] magazine will close its doors at the end of this year. They had one hell of a 10-year run and quickly became one of the most influential lit. mags on the scene, publishing diverse writing and offering a platform for women’s voices early on. In their farewell statement, posted on Facebook, the editors did leave open the possibility that the magazine could return in some form one day, maybe just online.

For the last five or so years, I’ve been a consistent book reviewer, and doing so has allowed me to keep track of what was happening in the contemporary poetry scene. My final review is of John Amen’s latest collection, Strange Theater, published by New York Quarterly Books. Read the review here.

Big thanks to the editors for allowing me to be part of the [PANK] family for so long. I’m also appreciative for the reviews of my two books that the magazine ran. Here’s hoping that [PANK] returns in some form or another one day.

Another Lit Magazine Closes Its doors

Last night, the editors/founds of [PANK] shared some sad news. The magazine will close at the end of the year. Here is the official statement shared on social media:

Dear friends and family,

Please accept this brief note as PANK’s formal notification of resignation, effective as of the end of this calendar year, 2015. We’ll publish one last print issue and two final online issues of PANK Magazine; look for those in the months ahead. We are immeasurably proud of our publications and have boundless gratitude for all the staff, contributors, and each and every reader who has labored alongside us over the last decade. It’s been an immensely gratifying ride. PANK loves you.

Yours sincerely
M. Bartley Seigel, Roxane Gay, & Co.

Over the last several years, [PANK] has been one of the edgier and influential literary journals in the country, whose following grew from year to year. It should also be noted that when the magazine started, Roxane Gay did her best to feature several female voices, which is important to note, since the literary world is still very much dominated by men, even in 2015.

I’ve had the pleasure of writing book reviews for [PANK] over the last five years or so, and I’ll always be grateful for that opportunity, and for the reviews that they did of my first two poetry collections. RIP, [PANK]. Oh, and before any assumptions are made regarding funding cuts or someone dying, here is what Seigel said in response to the comments on Facebook:

This outpouring of support is humbling. Thank you. But three points: 1. No one died, no one yanked our funding, there’s no scandal, we just decided we were ready to move on to other things. 2. Who knows, maybe PANK will be back one day, new, better. 3. Translate some of this energy into going out and supporting the wonderful litmags that are still at it and will still be at it when PANK closes its doors. -M. Bartley Seigel

Let’s hope that the magazine does return even new and improved. In the meantime, go read it!

New Reviews

I wanted to share two new reviews of my poetry collection, All That Remains. The first review was published in the Maine-based journal Off the Cost. Initially, the review was published in print only, but the editors recently uploaded content online. The reviewer, Richard Aston, says of the collection: “All That Remains works as a maturing of Fanelli’s previously published chapbook Front Man. Now he is in a position to branch out to the larger community beyond his personal experience, both in terms of personal story and time line; that which follows from the kind of study and scholarly research that will make him an excellent teacher and writer. The future may bring modifications in form, both of the line and the work itself. Whether the future form he uses is formalist or experimentimental, a doff to poetic traditions of rhyme and meter is in order.”

The other review was published by [PANK] today and written by Tricia Fidler, who had a lot of kind words to say about the book. She writes: “Like a Dylan or Springsteen record deserves more than one spin, Brian Fanelli’s All That Remains is a book that deserves more than one read. Rich in small town culture, this collection is filled with characters that have overcome the losses in life, but it doesn’t forget those who have not. It is down-to-earth and true to those often overlooked groups, the young idealists and the rural working class. Fanelli’s lyrical rhythms whisper and howl, croon and screech, reminding us there will be repercussions for every loss. At the same time, the collection leaves us with the extraordinary hope that it seems only music can bring. For whenever the music stops and all that remains are the ghostly echoes of silence, there will always be the remnants of a song.”

Many thanks to the writers for these reviews, and if you haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy of the book, please do. I’d appreciate the support. Let me know what you think of it!

New Review

Another review I did for PANK was published online yesterday. This one is on David Wojahn’s new collection of poems, World Tree. You can read the review here. Wojahn remains one of my favorite contemporary America poets. I’m always impressed by his wide range of forms that includes everything from lyric poems to long poetic sequences. He’s also brilliant at injecting rock ‘n roll history, pop culture, and politics into his work. For more on his new book, check out the review.