A state caught in a population boom, Nevada has experienced something of an arts explosion in the period since 1995. Indeed, the growing number of residents has created a diverse community and contributed greatly to the development of cultural activities that at one time appeared relegated to states beyond Nevada's borders. One such activity includes the emergence of dynamic literary arts communities, both in the northern and the southern parts of the state.
Nevada has been home to several literary journals since the 1990s. Among these, the most noteworthy have been Interim, The Brushfire, West Coast Poetry Review, Scree, The Sierra Nevada College Review, Red Rock Review, Rainbow Curve, Pegasus, Neon Geyser and Porcelain Sky. Several other non-literature-focused magazines contain some remarkably good poetry and fiction.
Interim was started in 1946 by Wilber Stevens, late poet and University of Nevada, Las Vegas English professor. It is published annually, with 250 copies in each press run. The magazine is about 150 pages in length and contains poetry, fiction, and book reviews. Interim has featured works by a number of highly respected writers, among them Martine Bellen, Anselm Berrigan, Brenda Hillman, Paul Hoover, Richard Hugo, Alice Notley, Anne Porter, Leslie Scalapino, Susan Schultz, Eleni Sikelianos, Arthur Vogelsang, Catherine Wagner, and William Carlos Williams. Interim is managed by creative writing students who are pursuing their master of fine arts (MFA) degrees, along with current Editor-in-chief Claudia Keelan, a professor of creative writing at UNLV.
The Brushfire is the official literary and arts magazine of the University of Nevada, Reno campus and the oldest magazine of its kind (it was founded in 1950) in the state of Nevada. The Brushfire is a journal that draws upon the outstanding emerging talent of artists and writers within the Northern Nevada community to publish some of the most exciting work this community has to offer. Any and all forms of creative expression—painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, poetry, essays, music, video, and animation—are welcomed for consideration in the printed publication or Web site. Recently, the magazine has published works by Claire Watkins, Jean-Pierre Frossard, John Man, Jill Ransom, Tyler McPherron, Anthony Alston, and Emily Clark.
West Coast Poetry Review (WCPR) was started by poet and novelist William Ransom in 1969, while he was a PhD candidate at the University of Nevada, Reno. Upon Ransom's relocation to Port Townsend, Washington, in 1972, William Fox assumed the editorship and expanded WCPR into a small press that published both the magazine and books. The focus of the magazine was at first mainstream lyrical poetry and poetry in translation, represented by authors such as Margaret Atwood, Robert Bly, Patricia Goedicke, John Haines, Ted Kooser, David Lee, Bert Meyers, and William Stafford. Nevada poets included Joanne de Longchamps, Stephen Liu, Adrian Louis, and Kirk Robertson. In the mid-1970s, WCPR began publishing internationally known experimental writers, primarily those working in concrete poetry and visual text works, such as Raymond Federman, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Dick Higgins, Richard Kostelanetz, Mary Ellen Solt, and Emmett Williams. After releasing eighteen issues and two dozen books, the magazine and press stopped publishing in 1987.
Kirk Robertson founded Scree magazine and Duck Down Press. The magazine began publication in 1971 in Trinidad, California, and shortly thereafter moved to Missoula, Montana, before settling in Fallon, Nevada, in 1975. Twenty-three issues were published and included a wide range of poetry, prose, collages, artwork, and photography. Contributors included Jo Harvey Allen, John Baldessari, Gillian Brown, Charles Bukowski, Tom Clark, Dave Etter, Michael Hannon, Gerald Haslam, Ted Kooser, Suzanne Lacy, Lyn Lifshin, Gerald Locklin, Gerard Malanga, Anne Menebroker, Al Masarik, F.A. Nettlebeck, Charles Plymell, Bern Porter, Charles Potts, Richard Shelton, and many others. Duck Down Press published anthologies and single-author collections of poetry and prose, including titles by Jo Harvey Allen, John Bennett, Ronald Koertge, Gerald Locklin, Gerald Haslam, Michael Hogan, Al Masarik, Todd Moore, Steve Richmond, D.R. Wagner, and others. Both the magazine and the press ceased publication in 1986.
First published in 1990, the Sierra Nevada College Review is an annual literary magazine published in May that features poetry and short fiction. Editors read manuscripts from September until March. According to the editors, manuscripts submitted outside of the reading period risk "a long, dusty dormancy." Response time may vary between a month and several months. The editorial staff changes on a yearly basis, with the exception of advisory editor June Sylvester Saraceno. The magazine has published works by some highly respected writers, among them Tony Barnstone, Virgil Suarez, James Doyle, Ryan G. Van Cleave, and Carol Frith.
Published twice a year, Red Rock Review (RRR) was founded in 1996 and since then has been funded by the College of Southern Nevada, the Nevada Arts Council, Nevada Humanities, and private donors. Its senior editor, Richard Logsdon, and its associate editor, Todd Moffett, have been with the magazine since its inception. Logsdon and Moffett, both published writers, are English professors at the College of Southern Nevada. While it publishes works by authors from all parts of the country, RRR does lean toward well-written literature about the American Southwest or by writers from the Southwest. Since 1997, the magazine has featured works by Willis Barnstone, Dorianne Laux, Kim Addonizio, Alberto Rios, Ron Carlson, Diane diPrima, Aliki Barnstone, Claudia Keelan, Charles Harper Webb, Tony Barnstone, Adrian C. Louis, Mary Sojourner, Vivian Shipley, Neide Messer, Stephen Liu, H. Lee Barnes, and Bruce Isaacson. Red Rock Review is particularly interested in publishing works by up and coming authors who deserve consideration by the larger writing community. Additionally, the magazine contains interviews with some of the top writers from the Southwest, as well as reviews of new works of poetry and fiction.
Rainbow Curve has been published in Southern Nevada since 1997. According to the editors, Rainbow Curve "is a segment of highway which bridges two halves of the city of Las Vegas—the affluence of the 'new' Vegas with their sparkling new developments, to the old downtown and the struggles of an aging tradition." In similar fashion, the magazine publishes works that conform to the principles of established literary tradition, as well as pieces that break with tradition. Editors Julianne Bonnet and Daphne Young, co-founders of the literary magazine 580 Split, seek to publish literature that is "hard hitting and somewhat uncomfortable to read if you prefer safe literature." Rainbow Curve can be described as "a journal where you won't find easy closure or manufactured emotion." The journal has published works of writers such as Catherine Ryan Hyde, Virgil Surez, Terry Ehret, Todd Moffett, and Rob Carney. An independent journal, Rainbow Curve is not connected with any institution.
Two smaller Nevada literary magazines worthy of note are Pegasus and Neon Geyser and Porcelain Sky, both published in Southern Nevada. Pegasus is a poetry quarterly that accepts submissions throughout the year. Its editor is Elizabeth Perry, who publishes the magazine out of Boulder City. First published in 2006, Neon Geyser and Porcelain Sky is a small publication out of Southern Nevada. Editors Ken Wanamaker and Bruce Isaacson look for the same raw material that characterizes the publications of Isaacson's Zeitgeist Press. The poetry of Neon Geyser can be characterized as vivid, fresh, and direct, showing the strong influence of the Beat Movement of 1950s. Editor Bruce Isaacson studied under Allen Ginsberg at Brooklyn College.
Several other Nevada magazines, though not entirely literary, feature poetry and short fiction. One of these is Nevada Magazine, first published in the 1940s. Nevada Magazine constantly seeks stories about living in Nevada. Another is Las Vegas Magazine, a trendy periodical that has featured works by such notable writers as H. Lee Barnes and Michael Ventura. A third is Neon, a publication of the Nevada Arts Council. An arts-based magazine, Neon features poems in every issue. Past contributors include Dorianne Laux and Kim Addonizio. Finally, there is Las Vegas City Life (LVCL), an underground publication whose support of the literary arts community is evident in its publication of works by some of the finest writers in Southern Nevada. LVCL sponsors an annual literary contest.
Nevada has proven to be fertile ground for some fine literary magazines. With rapidly growing populations, both Northern and Southern Nevada can be expected to boast magazines dedicated to publishing the very best in contemporary literature.