To the left: the cover of the Fall/Winter 2003 issue of Fence. As editor Rebecca Wolff observes:
“Imagine my wry bemusement… to see that this issue, as worthy as any other, sold significantly less on the newsstand and at bookstores than any others, before or since. A typical issue of Fence has a sell-through rate of around 60 percent. This issue, which includes work by Jean Valentine, John Taggart, Jane Miller, Hal Sirowitz, Diane Williams, Lydia Davis, and a host of alluring unknowns, sold a mere 35 percent of its allotment to our distributor. The bemusing part is that, upon noting this, I knew immediately what must be the cause of the drop.”
She’s making sure that ain’t gonna happen with the double-sized “Summer Fiction” issue this year. In addition to stories by Dawn Raffel, Frederic Tuten, Stacey Levine, Chris Offutt and Harry Matthews, a big roundtable debate on contemporary fiction, an essay by Joe Wenderoth, and all the other goodies, this latest issue sports a Suicide Girl on the cover.
As part of her explanation, Wolff compares the American consumer of literature to a screaming infant, and her breasts to those of the cover girl:
“As a woman entering her eighth heavenly month of breastfeeding, happy as all get-out to be plumping up my Margot, an eighteen-pounder built of nothing, so far, but the milk from my own considerably smaller, considerably older tits, I am currently feeling even more especially fond of tits than usual. Margot has an entirely unconflicted relationship to my tits: When she’s hungry she wants them; she cries out; they are delivered to her. So why not, I thought, give the people what they can also be understood to want.”
I’d probably have a snappier closer if I didn’t agree with the last part of her analysis just a wee bit.
2 September 2005 | uncategorized |