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The Literary Review—Disrupted
Kate Van Brocklin | Photo: Courtesy Mill Valley Literary Review | February 10, 2014
The Mill Valley Literary Reviews drags the literary journal kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Literary journals are the 50 year aged scotch of the publishing world. While the rest of us are slaves to deadlines and news cycles, they quietly wait—secure that when they do finally reach the world, they'll find a passionate, if select, fan base. So that's why we were surprised to find out that our North Bay neighbors in Mill Valley not only have their own quarterly literary review, but that it exists entirely online. It's like stumbling into your corner bodega at three in the morning in search of a fifth of Popov only to find a bottle of 1964 Glenlivet (a bargain at only $2,399).
Short stories, poems, intimate interviews with local literati—the Mill Valley Literary Review has it all that you'd expect. The Winter installment was recently published by founder and editor J. Macon King, who originally created Marin's first e-zine to showcase both emerging local fiction writers and established authors. Now the website has expanded as a forum to connect literary hopefuls with local resources, tips and links to other publishing forums, book clubs, author readings and writing centers. Frankly, color us a bit shocked that a literary community can exist in high-rent Mill Valley.
But it's true. The North Bay has a long literary history. King named his online publication after his Mill Valley hometown because of the rich literary traditions that thrived there in the time before the rents took off. Historically, the Mill Valley writing community included such distinguished writers as Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, Jane Hirschfield, Don Carpenter and Maxine Chernoff, while Amy Tan, Isabel Allende, Jack London, Shel Silverstein and many more called Marin County home.
In the current issue you'll find an interview at Vesuvio's with North Beach novelist Louis B. Jones, many of whose books are set in Marin County, who says, "I came to California, kind of in the way Henry James went to London. I came because it was more interesting and more was happening, and it’s more vital than where I had ended up in Wisconsin tending bar. I was in the wrong place for a writer, or so I thought."
There's also a conversation with T.C. Boyle, the "rock star of letters," a stage musical parody called "A Streetcar Named Denial" by Jack Barnes, and several short stories and poems. The literary e-zine also features "The 10 Commandments for Becoming a Successful Writer" and "8 Options for Publishing Your Book" by Michael Larsen of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency, one of the founders of the San Francisco Writing Conference. Scroll further to read a tribute to San Francisco-born Robert Frost, where Frost's former student at Dartmouth remembers the lectures and advice given to him by the wise poet.
Just remember kids, sip, don't guzzle. And for god's sake, don't put any ice in that glass. We don't how much things change. Some things are just not done.