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 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.


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