City Spotlight: Philadelphia: Publishing 'Wit'
Painted Bride Quarterly, which like Philly-based The American Poetry Review enjoys a national reputation as one of the country's oldest and most successful literary publications, is still very much part and parcel of its host city. The magazine holds two events a month, a traditional reading and a not-too-cutthroat interactive writer's competition called "Slam, Bam, Thank You, Ma'am" at the Pen & Pencil, the nation's oldest press club.
The Elements of (Philly) Style
According to Miller, if there's one thing that characterizes the publishing scene in Philadelphia, it's get-togethers. "Any night of the week you can go to an event if you want to, and most nights there are two or three," she says. "I don't know what the culture is like in other cities, but I feel like Philadelphians who are in that industry are much more supportive of one another."
She cites a yearly, day-long event at the Free Library of Philadelphia held by the Mad Poets Society, The Philadelphia Poetry Festival. "Each group stands up, says something about their organization or magazine, has a reader read a poem and sits down … there are five hours of five-minute sessions, so just imagine how many people are there, and how many separate organizations are represented."
Christine Weiser, executive director of another local literary magazine, Philadelphia Stories, finds the local publishing community "welcoming and supportive." A magazine-sponsored annual event, Push to Publish, draws over 100 writers, editors and agents for networking and learning. "I believe the success of Philadelphia Stories would not have been possible without this supportive community," she says. "We started the magazine with two writers, an ambitious idea, and a small circle of friends. I am still amazed by how large this network has grown."
Philadelphia Stories has always been "more than a magazine," Weiser says, offering, in addition to Push to Publish, Philadelphia Stories Jr., a bi-annual publication for young writers; The Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction; the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry; a boutique books division; and an exhibit last year featuring "art inspired by specific heritage sites with poems and short fiction that speculate on the stories behind these hidden treasures."