These are "Reports from the Newsstand," my comments on the publications in our catalogue at We offer sample copies of our publications, not subscriptions. Each sample copy costs $2.59, well below newsstand cover prices (if the publication is available on your newsstand at all). A $2.00 shipping charge is added to each order. Publishers use to get their publications into the hands of potential subscribers.


Ed Rust, proprietor of, has worked in publishing in a variety of capacities for decades. He started as U.S. circulation director of the Financial Times "way back when they flew the papers into Kennedy Airport from London a day late." He most recently was managing editor of publications at the General Society, Sons of the Revolution.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


We leave the first month of the year―peppered, surprisingly, by several spring-like days―by noting the arrival in the newsstand of the March issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. F&SF, as it's known to those who like to save space, is published monthly in Hoboken, NJ. The magazine is the bearer of a proud heritage, having been founded way back in 1949, when the dawning of the Atomic Age also created what many call the golden age of science fiction literature. The multitude of sci-fi books and magazines published in that era, themselves the progeny of the "pulp fiction" of the 1930s and 1940s, were inspired by all the excited talk of impending space travel and the possibilities of science combined with general gloom about the character of humankind in the wake of the barbarity of two world wars. In my teen years (the late 1950s and early 1960s) I fell in love with the books and short stories from masters of science fiction such as Ray Bradbury, Frederick Pohl and Robert Sheckley (who died just last month), especially in the many anthologies of short stories edited by John W. Campbell. The great appeal of science fiction and fantasy writing is that the author is free to invent entire new worlds where even what we consider the laws of science can be ignored, twisted or improved. What better way to comment on human behavior than to create new races of intelligent beings with entirely different sets of behaviors and moral codes? Many of the great names in the genre have published their work in F&SF over the years, including Bradbury, Stephen King and Ursula K. Le Guin. Walter M. Miller's classic A Canticle for Leibowitz first appeared in its pages. Current stars of F&SF include John Morressy and Terry Bisson, and the magazine welcomes new writers. A good place for a reader or writer of science fiction (or of anything else) to visit is the message board on the magazine's Web site. One thread on the message board asks the question that every writer is desperate to learn the answer to: "When do you stop reading something?" The responses are worthy of a semester at the Iowa Writer's Workshop, ranging from clumsy exposition, factual mistakes and ineptly used profanity to pasteboard characters enlisted to promote a "big idea." An annual subscription to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (11 issues) is $32.97 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

IMAGINE: Helping Talented Kids Discover the World

Oh, to be young again! That's my reaction to reading a recent issue of Imagine, our newest magazine in the newsstand. Its purpose is to inform talented and imaginative kids―middle schoolers and high schoolers―of the many, many possibilities open to them for academic study and growth. Imagine is published five times a year by the Center for Talented Youth at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University. The issue I've been perusing, November/December 2005, consists largely of accounts by young people of recent projects they've been engaged in, such as helping at a Chacoan Anasazi archaeological dig in Colorado, at a dinosaur hunt in Montana, researching ancient textile design in Peru to develop a method of dating archaeological finds based on twining techniques and studying Latin during a summer program in Rome. Imagine also writes about a variety of academic competitions―in math, geography, science, even classic mythology―that can result in substantial scholarship awards, as well as the joy of meeting like-minded peers at state, national and international levels. Each issue also contains a fascinating review of a college by its own students. This one focuses on Oberlin College, a progressive liberal arts college amid the cornfields of Ohio that justifiably earns praise for its involved faculty and a curriculum that encourages intellectual exploration. I was intrigued by this criticism: "Despite the justifiably vaunted diversity of the student body, there is an underlying sameness to many of them. The typical student comes to Oberlin as the most interesting person he/she knows, and isn't very happy to surrender that position. He/She is also usually in the awkward position of being alienated from society in some way yet simultaneously privileged (a $25,000-a-year education is undeniably a great privilege)." Imagine is a great resource for young persons seeking encouragement to learn about the world—and fighting peer pressure to just blend in. An annual subscription (five issues) is $30.00 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Monday, January 23, 2006

FLYING ADVENTURES: Travels in a Private Plane

Our rarely used wind socks darned and aloft, this morning we're watching Flying Adventures land near the newsstand, our first aviation magazine! This travel publication is for people who do what most people can only dream of: Drop out of the clouds in their own airplanes to spend a day, weekend or week at whatever area interests them. We're paging through a recent issue, and many intriguing destinations are described in its pages. The first is the Santa Barbara wine country, celebrated in the recent movie Sideways. The destination articles in this magazine are unique in that they tend to advise you of the amenities (and landing strip lengths) at local airports before they put you in a rental car and suggest the best spots at which to sightsee, stay, eat and recreate. Publisher Michael Higgins, known in these pages as "Pilot Michael," is an omnipresent figure in the articles, many of which he writes from his publishing base at El Monte Airport in Pasadena, CA. Here he gives you his recommendations on the best wines to purchase on your visit to Santa Barbara County's wineries, including the establishment run by Fess Parker, ol' Davy Crockett himself. He next takes you on a visit up north to the Cascade Range, which stretches from British Columbia to Mount Shasta in California, and again wineries are a focus of attention. Then we leave the West Coast for Glenview, IL, just a few miles south of Chicago. Much of this area along the Des Plaines River is a nature preserve, and Glenview itself is a gem of a prairie village, with enough big-city amenities to keep you comfortable. And if flying into one small airport after another isn't enough of a kick, Pilot Michael explains how easy it is to qualify for flying seaplanes: just a three-day course will do it, and then you're free to fly a float plane into places where ordinary planes should never land. After all this flying around, the issue does get down to the nitty-gritty of buying a new basic "air car," which is described as a four-seat single-engine propeller plane. The magazine lists eight candidates, ranging in price from $236,000 to $399,000. Flying Adventures is clearly for people with good-sized wallets or big dreams. An annual subscription (three issues) is $25.00 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Friday, January 20, 2006

FIELD: Of Poetry and Poetics

Today the newsstand welcomes Field, a twice-a-year journal of poetry and poetics from the Oberlin College Press in Oberlin, OH. Contemporary poetry is what you get with Field―no fiction and no graphics (except the cover). You also get "poetics," which I surmise is writing about poetry. The way the magazine is organized, the Fall issue each year includes a symposium about the work of a major contemporary poet. I have in hand the Fall 2005 issue, and the poet under study is Jean Valentine, who won the National Book Award in 2004 and has been a contributor to Field since 1972, just three years after it was founded. The opening (unsigned) editorial says of Jean Valentine, "No poet has examined so fully the landscape of dream, but it's the space where dream meets waking life that her poems so hauntingly inhabit." The symposium, in this case, involves presenting nine previous poems by Valentine, each followed by an analysis and commentary by a different scholar and/or poet. This is an interesting and rewarding approach, for each poem tells us something new about the poet and each commentary something newer yet. It's akin to walking around a diamond in a display case and seeing its many facets from new angles and with different lighting. The symposium is followed by a couple of recent poems by Valentine, as well as dozens of other poems from established and emerging poets. As with just about every literary journal I've seen, I have nothing but praise for the clean layout, good-sized type, and perfection of proofreading. An annual subscription to Field (two issues) is $14.00 a year from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59. And do take a look at our many other literary journals―you'll find them on our Literary and Writing shelf.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

scr(i)pt: Inside the Sausage Factory

This morning we're producing a full-tuxedoed Hollywood-style premiere extravaganza, searchlights and all, for scr(i)pt magazine, the newest title in the newsstand. Subtitled "Where Film Begins," scr(i)pt is about the craft and business of writing scripts for movies and television. The magazine is full of stories about how scripts come to be written, the travails in getting them made into films, and, of course, tips on writing, completing and selling your own screenplay. Not to digress, but I remember reading some years ago of a successful, aging screenwriter counseling young writers at a cocktail party. "The secret to a good script," he whispered, "is to get a guy up a tree, throw rocks at him for an hour or two, then get him down at the end." I have the current issue of scr(i)pt in my hands, and one of the several interesting articles is about basic plot types: the "Fish Out of Water," where a character is taken out of his normal environment and placed somewhere else (e.g., Crocodile Dundee, or the ultimate, Splash); "Information No One Else Knows," like the existence of a special airline just for federal prisoners (Con Air); "Going to Extreme Measures," such as Dustin Hoffman's efforts to land a soap opera job in Tootsie; and "Fatal Character Flaws," for instance making a lawyer―of all people―into someone who cannot tell a lie (Liar, Liar). This issue has stories about the creation of scripts for movies such as Breaking Away, the new King Kong and Good Night, and Good Luck. They say that visiting a sausage factory tends to kill one's appetite for sausage, but reading scr(i)pt is likely to increase your appetite for and appreciation of good films. If you have aspirations to write great film scripts, it will probably bring those millions of dollars in a little faster. And in what other magazine can you find an ad for an honest-to-goodness movie chalk clap board? scr(i)pt is published in an unlikely location, Baldwin, MD, but its writers are firmly based in Hollywood. An annual subscription (six issues) is $29.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Today's new arrival in the newsstand is Primitive Archer, a magazine that on one level is about making your own archery equipment. On another, deeper level, it's about learning how to get very close to nature―in understanding its ways and learning some very basic skills of living―and passing that appreciation on to younger generations. You get the sense from reading the magazine, which bears the cover slogan "Passing On the Traditions of Classical Archery," that the growth of technology and the mass media's success in capturing the attention of the young is making this mentoring a more difficult but also more important task. Primitive Archer readers look upon fancy commercial bows made of composite materials with the disdain that sailboat lovers have for cabin cruisers. Yet even within the community the magazine serves, there's apparently a division between those who use power tools to fashion their bows and those who employ only hand-powered tools. One guy (people who make bows are called "bowyers") even writes in the current issue about what he calls his "devolution" from using modern tools like sandpaper and hammers to replicating what he believes are techniques used by American Indians centuries ago. His fascinating article describes how he begins with a log, splits it by pounding moose antler tips into it with a rock, roughs out the bow with flint, finishes it with sandstone and gives it a bear grease finish. He uses rabbit skins to make the string and branches for the arrow shafts. A theme of this issue is passing skills and interests to the young, and you'll find several articles by teachers and students about their experiences. I enjoyed an article by master tracker Ty Cunningham about how to begin teaching a kid about observing the ground in the wild for all the stories it tells about its inhabitants. He even supplies lesson plans and exercises! Primitive Archer is published by the nicely named Bigger Than That Productions in Houston, TX. An annual subscription (five issues) is $24.00 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


With a choice of looking out the newsstand window at bleak, snow-covered suburban New Jersey or at the pages of Hiatus Travel Magazine, it's no contest. Those shimmering beaches and emerald golf greens win every time. Hiatus, subtitled the "Travel Magazine for Vacation & Timeshare Enthusiasts," is filled with information essential to anyone who owns or is contemplating buying a vacation timeshare. I've been reading the magazine's 2005 "Buyer's Guide to Vacation Ownership," a 130-page issue that is divided, like Gaul, into three parts. The first part is a series of very informative and clearly written articles on the basics of timesharing, discussing the different kinds of timeshare arrangements, such as flex time and point systems, as well as describing what the legendary "90-minute presentation" by a salesperson at such a resort is like. The second part is an extensive directory of hundreds of timeshare properties by geographic region, with tables listing their amenities, types of accommodations, nearby facilities and distance from airports, as well as Web sites and phone numbers for more information. The last part of the issue contains typical travel magazine articles: a visit to Mexico in general and Cozumel in particular, tips on acquiring and spending airline miles, and a discussion of the different features to look for in a digital camera. While the magazine is understandably biased in favor of the concept of timeshares, publishers David and Karen Wood state that "none of the resorts appearing in Hiatus paid any fees for favorable editorial consideration or placement." I'm not sure how many issues Hiatus is planning to put out in 2006 from its headquarters in Scottsdale, AZ; the only subscription info in the issue I have is for the 2006 "Buyer's Guide." That issue will be available later in the year for $7.50 from the publisher. You can get a copy of the 2005 "Buyer's Guide" from us for $2.59.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Today we welcome the New Hampshire Wildlife Journal to the newsstand. Published by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department in Concord, it's a wonderful guide to nature in the state. We're leafing through the new January-February issue, which has a suitably wintry theme. You'll find an enjoyable article on ice fishing (cleverly titled "Walking on Water") that offers all sorts of pointers on how to make a day on the ice safe and fun for the whole family. There's a profile of the industrious beaver, with a nice description in words and pictures of the animal's advanced engineering skills. You'll also get stuck on an article about the porcupine, a basically solitary night creature that you don't want to get too friendly with. Author Judy Silverberg explains that the porcupine doesn't throw its quills, which are actually strong, hollow hairs covered with tiny barbules. The quills are quite loose, and the animal uses its tail like a club to hammer them into the victim. The porcupine's mating rituals are pretty kinky—and I'll bet you didn't know that a baby porcupine is called a "porcupette"! This issue also provides advice on picking the right kind of snowshoe: the heavier you are, the bigger snowshoe you'll need. The New Hampshire Wildlife Journal is one of quite a number of ad-free state wildlife publications that are available at low cost because they're subsidized by taxpayers. You don't have to live in a state to subscribe to its wildlife journal. Take advantage! An annual subscription to the New Hampshire Wildlife Journal (six issues) is $12.00 from the publisher; we'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

THE WINE REPORT: A View from the Southeast

We'll pop a bottle of Champagne tonight in honor of The Wine Report, today's debutante in the newsstand. This big-sized bimonthly, published in Atlanta, is an interesting publishing concept. The magazine is a regional publication, with ads and local features that reflect that orientation, but it's filled with well-written articles about California and foreign wines that will interest wine lovers in Oshkosh and Phoenix too. The Wine Report is distributed gratis in selected wine stores in the Atlanta, Birmingham and Charlotte markets, but is also available by subscription and now boasts having subscribers in more than 40 states. My guess is that with its obvious editorial strengths it will become much more of a national publication in the years to come. I've been looking through the November/December issue, and was interested to learn that the United States and the European Union have finally made some progress―after more than 20 years―in developing a trade agreement over the sale of wine. One big stumbling block, the magazine reports, has been the carefree use by American wine producers of European regional names like "Champagne" and "Burgundy." Now it's been agreed that U.S. companies can continue to use these names on existing brands of their products, but not on new brands. This issue also has an illuminating article on a marketing success by Pommery and other French Champagne makers. They're packaging a sweeter and less fizzy version of their pricy product in individual-portion bottles, often with their own straws, and sales have been rocketing, especially in trendy American clubs. The Wine Report found a perfect subject for a profile in Terry Hoage, a star for the University of Georgia Bulldogs in the early 1980s (along with Herschel Walker) and a 13-year NFL defensive back. He's been putting his University of Georgia degree in genetics to good use in developing his own commercial winemaking operation in California's Sierra region. Additional regional features in the issue include a review of a resort on Lake Lanier, near Atlanta, and several pages of listings of wine tastings, cooking classes and the like in the Southeast. Wine fans will enjoy the magazine's reviews and rankings of hundreds of vintages in the back of the book. This issue covers California Cabernet Sauvignons over $40, Cava (Spain) and Prosecco (Italy) sparkling wines, and California Carneros Chardonnays vs. French white Burgundies. The ratings, the result of blind tastings, are based on appearance, aroma, general taste, body, finish and food friendliness, and the reviewers also deliver an illuminating descriptive paragraph about each wine and a price value rating (from "exceptional value" to "overpriced"). You can get a subscription to The Wine Report (six issues) for $18.00 from the publisher; we'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

NORTH & SOUTH: Still Fighting the Civil War

This morning we welcome North & South to the newsstand. It proclaims itself as "the official magazine of the Civil War Society," though I'm not sure what the Society is or does. But no matter, for North & South is a literate, very well edited presentation of interesting aspects of a cataclysmic war that has reverberated loudly through American life in the 141 years since hostilities officially ended. The magazine, which is produced in Auberry, CA in seven issues each year, consists mainly of a half-dozen fairly lengthy articles by historians, each illustrated with period prints, contemporary photos of battlefields and surviving landmarks and clearly drawn maps. I've been reading the November issue, which does a nice job with a couple of relatively obscure battles. One is the battle for the Sabine Pass, an inlet from the Gulf of Mexico that separates Texas from Louisiana. The Union forces attacked the pass from the Gulf as a way to get to Houston and then overland to the heavily defended port of Galveston, but their force of gunboats and thousands of troops was repulsed by a handful of Texas artillerymen (aided by some good shooting and a dash of Yankee ineptitude). While battles are important to North & South, the magazine also explores the politics of the Civil War. This issue carries a fascinating article about a radical idea voiced by a Tennessee general at the end of 1863. Seeing that the North could commit more soldiers to battle than the South, Major General Patrick Cleburne proposed that the Confederacy train some of its slaves as a reserve force, and that those who fought be awarded their freedom. His proposal was met with scorn by most Southern leaders, but within a year, as times got truly desperate, they were seriously entertaining similar ideas. Historian Bruce Levine examines how their thinking changed. On its face the concept of "Southern Emancipation" seems to negate the very reason why the South went to war, but in reality it was an attempt by Confederate leaders to at least maintain their independence, even if it meant the destruction of the "peculiar institution" that was a bedrock of the economy. Levine goes further, saying the Southern concept of emancipation was to hold a "free" black population in social and economic servitude, which indeed came to pass in the decades after the Civil War ended and the North abandoned Reconstruction. The issue also contains a piece about successful propaganda campaigns by each side. After the first Battle of Manassas, for example, the Northern press was full of reports of battlefield atrocities by Southerners, such as using the skulls of fallen Union soldiers as goblets and giving their womenfolk necklaces of Yankee teeth to wear. Naturally, Congress in Washington investigated the charges and declared them all true. An annual subscription to North & South (seven issues) is $39.99 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Monday, January 09, 2006

FERVOR: Food, Spirits, Travel and More

I took some time off from watching the football playoffs this past weekend (the Giants were awful, the Steelers were great) to leaf through the December issue of Fervor, a bimonthly that's primarily a food magazine, but which separates itself from the pack by including a number of non-food articles about travel and other subjects. I'd estimate that 70% of the editorial content is about food and spirits. This particular issue has quite a few holiday-oriented articles, such as an informative piece about favorite Christmas spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and mace) and entertaining features about Champagne (the real stuff from France) and a traditional American drink that goes way back to the American Revolution and before, the alcoholic apple cider known as applejack. I found a story about the mushroom industry in and around Kennett Square, Pennsylvania of interest: these year-round indoor farms, established by Italian immigrants at the turn of the century, now produce more mushrooms than anywhere else in the world. You'll find out how to make a variety of traditional holiday punches (Wassail, Fish House Punch, Poinsettia Punch, etc.), as well as very nicely illustrated step-by-step directions how to prepare what looks like a delicious beef roast dinner. Non-food articles include tips for holiday travel, advice from a physician about getting regular check-ups and information about getting your credit report. Fervor is published in Medford, NJ and its roots in the area are obvious, as most of the writers and a majority of the ads come from southern New Jersey and Philadelphia. But the magazine clearly intends to try to become a national player. An annual subscription (six issues) to Fervor is $19.95 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

CINEASTE: A World-Class Movie Magazine

Today's new premiere is no B-feature: it's Cineaste, a world-class quarterly movie magazine published in New York. It bills itself as "America's leading magazine on the art and politics of the cinema." Cineaste is not for the denizen of the local multiplex, but for film aficionados who are interested in classic motion pictures and the best and most interesting films from around the world. I was startled to hear on National Public Radio the other day that while foreign films were represented by 10-15% of the movies shown in U.S. theaters only a decade or two in the past, today that figure is down to perhaps 1%. Sadly, people seeking movies from sources other than the big five studios in Hollywood have to live in a very big city or have access to some good cable television stations and video rental stores. And they'd also be well served to subscribe to Cineaste. Typical of the articles in Cineaste is the one that starts off the recent issue we've just received. By Tullio Kezich, the film critic of the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, it's a captivating account of the genesis and production of Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita," set in Rome's very hot Via Veneto of the early 1960s. Early in the article you find that the death of the very strait-laced Pope Pius XII in 1958 was a liberating event for hip Romans, leading to the street party that the Via Veneto became in subsequent years. This also was a formative time for the paparazzi who learned to form useful alliances: Photographer A would take an intrusive picture of, say, Anita Ekberg. When she or her escort would lash out at the offending photographer, Photographers B & C would be standing ready to take that much more interesting and lucrative shot. All this great stuff is just in the opening paragraphs of a seven-page story about the making of the movie. This is followed by a profile of Russ Meyer, king of the big-boobed movies of the 1950s and 1960s. This issue of Cineaste also features a symposium of film critics from around the world, who write of their problems with readers who, like Americans, increasingly prefer a dumbed-down "thumbs-up and thumbs-down" approach in their movie reviews. You'll also find thoughtful reviews of new releases as well as provocative features such as "Gay-Themed Films of the German Silent Era." And where else can you find reports of the Toronto Film Festival and the Karlovy Vary (Czechoslovakia) Film Festival? Not to be cinenasty, but the type in this magazine tends to be very small―after a while you feel like you're trying to read the subtitles on a French film broadcast to your cellphone screen. But that's a small flaw in an overall superior production. An annual subscription (four issues) to Cineaste is $20.00 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

SIERRA HERITAGE: California's Golden Interior

Today we welcome Sierra Heritage to the newsstand. It's a gorgeous magazine about California's golden interior, a region rich in scenery, history and civilized things to do. I've been fortunate to travel through the area a couple of times—most recently in a rented convertible, driving from Reno to a relative's wedding by the sea—and I treasure the memories of every day spent on the road, sorry only that they were so few (can't be late for a wedding!). Sierra Heritage is a bimonthly published in Auburn, CA, that focuses on the region's scenic beauty, its history and its fabled parks, skiing and wineries. It's designed both for residents and for the many people who visit the region throughout the year. I've got a recent issue in hand, and am impressed with the imaginative range of articles it presents. I liked a profile of wilderness photographer Peter Scott, well illustrated with a portfolio of his photos from Tahoe and Yosemite. You'll find a guide to funky places to get a good breakfast in the Sierras; it's paired with another on great places to paddle your canoe or kayak. There's a multipage section on where to go and what to do in El Dorado County, an historic gold mining area west of Lake Tahoe centered on Placerville (I prefer its old name, Hangtown). On the subject of gold mining, this issue contains an interesting essay on the democratic nature of the Gold Rush—at least everyone went into it pretty equal. Nonresidents may not know it, but the eastern Sierras have fall foliage that's in the same league as New England's, and this issue of Sierra Heritage has the pictures to prove it. Railroad and engineering buffs will appreciate an article, well illustrated with period photographs, about the construction and operation of hair-raising inclined railways that were built in the Sierras in the early part of the 20th century to bring logs down the mountains. Author Jack Burgess notes that one had an incline that reached 78%! Each issue of Sierra Heritage also contains articles about places to stay in the region, as well as a guide to activities in its many communities. An annual subscription to Sierra Heritage (six issues) is $25.00; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

NEW LETTERS: A Venerable Literary Journal

The newsstand has been dark for a few days as our New Year's Revels have boisterously run their course elsewhere. But now we've removed the padlocks and opened up to face 2006, with a special welcome to New Letters, a venerable literary journal from smack dab in the middle of the American Heartland that's just joined the collection. New Letters focuses on the Midwest and the world at the same time, quite an accomplishment. The journal traces its heritage back to 1934, when the private University of Kansas City began publishing The University Review. Over the years it printed the words of Kenneth Rexroth, Thomas Hart Benton, Diego Rivera, Edgar Lee Masters, Pearl Buck, J.D. Salinger, e.e. cummings, James T. Farrell and many, many others. Change happened: the University of Kansas City became part of the massive University of Missouri system, and in 1971 the journal was renamed New Letters. It has continued to publish the works of great as well as developing writers and artists, and has created―starting in 1977―an interesting annex: a half-hour radio program called "New Letters on the Air," featuring writers reading from and talking about their work. The program is now aired on 50 public radio stations around the country. I've been leafing through a recent issue of New Letters, Vol. 71, No. 4, that editor Robert Stewart has subtitled "The Way of Ignorance, The Way of Knowing: Literature and Spiritual Sense." Just a dabble of the contents: Poet Mia Leonin writes a horror-filled essay about the wretched lives of the homeless on the streets of Bogota, Colombia. You'll find a short story by novelist Bharati Mukherjee, followed by an extensive interview with the author. Photographs of the sometimes bizarre works of Missouri folk artist Jesse Howard and Chicago artist Roger Brown are interspersed throughout the issue, accompanied by essays on the pair by Andrei Codrescu and Margaret Brommelsiek. The journal features an exceptionally clean layout and nice, big (11-point!) type, a relief in an age of magazines with tiny words. New Letters is published quarterly by the University of Missouri-Kansas City. An annual subscription is $22.00 from the publisher; you can get a sample copy from us for $2.59.