On ‘new’: why literary journals matter

“If we don’t write to matter, then what are we doing? If a magazine is not on a mission, what is its purpose? And if it is on a mission, that mission needs to be a vital one. For missions are nothing if not vital. If they are not vital, they are only errands.
… it is the fresh encounter between the reader and the expressive new work that ultimately runs the juice through the whole vast lit-mag circuit. That “new” is a big part of the point of it all, for without new there is no deeper reason for being for these shiny compendia. Their point is that they are our collective sensors, the essential early warning system alerting us to the writers who can give something of the world as it is back to us — and do so long before we hear what the agented and contracted writers have to say.”
Sven Birkets, editor of Agni


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