Literary Reviews, Page 39

“The Carnival,” by Birute Serota


Storyglossia is a bi-monthly literary journal that appears to be a one man show by publisher and editor Steven J. McDermott.  It offers literary short stories and novel excerpts to 7,500 words.  As with many online publications, no payment is offered at this time, though authors benefit by way of exposure.  Six of the stories presented on Storyglossia made the notable list for the 2006 Million Writers Award.  However, there is an annual fiction contest that offers a one thousand dollar prize, though there is a quite reasonable entry fee of ten dollars, which presumably funds it.


Mr. McDermott maintains a writing blog, with a particular emphasis on short story writing, a creative writing reference site, and a site devoted to the study of the works of Raymond Carver, the late American short story writer, playwright and poet.  I would recommend that writers, and all interested in literature, particularly short stories, investigate all these sites, accessible from Storyglossia, as valuable aids in learning and evaluating the craft of literary writing.


One aspect of the zine that I both noted and appreciated is that the stories, although literary in nature, are less artsy and, therefore, more readable as crafted than those on some other literary zines I've encountered.  Although Mr. McDermott holds a MFA, he seems to present a far greater share of stories from contributors who do not hold graduate degrees in English or literature than do many other literary journals.  Moreover, he also seems not hesitant to present authors from diverse professional backgrounds; just the sort of literary interlopers that folks like Mr. McDermott generally disdain, riling at the popular success of such philistine “dilettantes,” degrading popular culture in the process.


There are a couple of minor considerations that I do find annoying about Storyglossia.  Mr. McDermott’s decision to present work on his zine in print format renders the reading of stories more difficult and, therefore, less enjoyable, than at most other online publications.  Indenting paragraphs and, most especially, not skipping lines between them; along with their often lengthy constructions, simply does not translate well into an online presentation.


I do not know if he chooses such a format as an affectation in an effort to add an unusual and distinguishing flavor to the zine, or if this is simply his personal preference.  Whatever the reason, I’d wish he would reevaluate such a deviation from the more standard forms of presentation which online readers have long since become acclimated to and expect.  Click to continue:



Literary Reviews, 40