A Small Yellow Card

14 Nov

I first became aware of Conjunctions at about the same time as I was getting into David Foster Wallace. The official literary publication of Bard College, Conjunctions is perhaps the finest American literary journal that no one has ever heard of.

The most famous issue of Conjunctions is probably Issue #39. Guest-edited by Peter Straub, Conjunctions:39 (titled “The New Wave Fabulists”) is an attempt to bridge the gap between high and low art; between Literature and genre fiction. Other literary journals have tried this idea–most notably McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales (2003) and Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories (2004), both edited by Michael Chabon–but Conjunctions did it first, did it bravest, and did it best.

“The New Wave Fabulists” inspired and empowered me to step away from my slow-moving, character-driven, “sensitive” style of writing and to explore new avenues of storytelling–even if that meant inserting a ghost, a monster, or a time-travel machine into an otherwise “literary” tale. If there is a single issue of any magazine in which I could have my work appear, it would be Conjunctions:39.

Printed on good yellow card stock, and about the size of an index card, this is one of the crown jewels of my collection.


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