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.

Monday, March 20, 2006

THE GREENSBORO REVIEW: Literary Journal Turns 40

On this first day of Spring we welcome The Greensboro Review to the newsstand. It's a twice-a-year production of the English Department at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, which has been putting it out for close to 40 years.

The publishing of poetry and short fiction is, in this country, a generally unremunerative and therefore fly-by-night occupation. I think of all the literary titles I've recently tried to chase down on the Internet only to find the desired Web site either unavailable or teasingly displaying the table of contents for the "soon-to-be-published Spring 2002 issue." But college and university literary journals are stalwarts of survival, for they can tap their institutional and departmental budgets to make up the shortfall between the costs of production and the income from sales. Of course, the publication of a classy literary journal also brings in the department's main source of income: tuition from students who want to learn their lit. It also helps recruit faculty.

The Greensboro Review, definitely classy, is also of interest because just last week we noted the arrival on our
Literary shelf of Backwards City Review, a new literary journal from Greensboro that is put out by five self-styled "refugees" from UNC-Greensboro's MFA Writing Program. That program produces The Greensboro Review. Not that relations between the two publications are bad, for each has an ad in the other's pages. The Greensboro Review has a fairly staid look, with a text-only-cover and zero graphics in its pages, which carry traditional poetry and short fiction. The upstart Backwards City Review, on the other hand, is filled with comics, weirdly structured poetry and other trendy things of the day.

The Greensboro Review has a distinguished history, and boasts of having published Joyce Carol Oates, Ezra Pound, May Swenson and James Tate. Its
Web site adds, "Even so, the GR has always taken the most joy in publishing work by new writers at the beginnings of their careers, and we are proud to include in this group such writers as Lewis Nordan, Yusef Komunyakaa, William Matthews, Alan Shapiro, Charles Simic and Dave Smith."

I've enjoyed my tour of The Greensboro Review #78 (Fall 2005), one of several issues we have in stock. A couple of short stories remain in the memory bank. One, "Birds in the House" by Kevin Wilson, is set in a decaying Tennessee mansion. Four tobacco-chewing middle-aged brothers are busily folding hundreds of paper cranes on the dining room table. The brothers, who don't get along at all, are carrying out the bizarre will of their recently deceased mother: They must each place 250 signed cranes on the table, at which point powerful fans on four sides of the table will be turned on. The last crane left on the table after the resulting windstorm will be examined for its signature, and that brother will inherit the house. Some understanding comes to the reader as you learn deep into the story that the mother was a Japanese war bride and the redneck brothers are indeed half-Japanese. Another story, "Gorilla Mother" by Lyn Stevens, is a touching account of the bond between a keeper at the Bronx Zoo's Ape House and the six-year-old gorilla she has tended since birth.

An annual subscription (two issues) to The Greensboro Review is at the bargain rate of $10.00 from the publisher; we'll send you a sample copy for $2.59.


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