Founded in the spring of 2009, Wag’s Revue
is an online-only literary quarterly of poetry, essays, fiction, and
interviews with waggish luminaries of our day. All issues are available online,
for free, indefinitely. Click here
to read the current issue.
“Think of the Internet as a literal place, a newly-conquered frontier.
It’s a familiar comparison: the pioneering switch-circuit supernerds
of ARPANET; the trailblazing explorers of Usenet and Mosaic; the
waves of immigrants, establishing Geocities, getting to know their
AOL postman by his ubiquitous catchphrase. Now Google’s twelve-lane
freeways roar across the Web, Facebook and YouTube are visible
from space. Unfortunately, as with most frontiers, the development
of the Web has brought with it the swift and ruthless execution of
native populations. The old empires of printed media are undergoing
a greater crisis than ever before, one from which they will never fully recover. They have succumbed to the pox of Internet expansion.
These wrongs must be redressed, not by retrenching ourselves in
the printed medium, but by salvaging what its best citizens stood for.
We cannot mistake the decline of the printed form for the death of
quality writing and content. The need for literature and letters to be
reliably and intelligently disseminated exists now as it always has.
Go back and read how scribes decried the printing press. This is just
another medium change—from bleached plant matter to glowing liquid crystal.
The reason many people worry that the written form is dying, and
the reason most writers consider online publication second-rate, is
that no journal has yet succeeded in marrying the editorial rigors of
print to the freedoms of the Internet. A high-quality print magazine—a
Harper’s, a Partisan Review, an n+1—is a micron filter of minds
applied to the endless wellspring of human creation, allowing only
the finest trickle to pass through. As it stands now, the Internet is the
opposite: an unbridled and infinite purveyor of information—creation
unbound—and it has all the delicate subtlety of a tidal wave.
The countless blogs and Web-based literary reviews are brimming
with unexceptional content. With endless gigabytes of storage space,
editors of the online corpus sacrifice stringent controls and adopt a
shotgun approach, publishing mediocrity en masse, obscuring the rare
gem. Readers end up with entire cows’ asses on their plates, rather than
the succulent, butterflied filets they were hoping for. Even the bastardized
online cousins of prominent print magazines and literary reviews—which
often keep their best content dead-bolted behind subscription
fees—are visually unappealing and cluttered with unwanted content.
That print titans can’t get the Web right either shouldn’t be surprising: the best carriage makers didn’t make the best cars.
We at Wag’s Revue are intent on revolutionizing online literature. We
wish to create something entirely of the Internet, never printed and never
meant to be printed, but with all the editorial and aesthetic controls that
entice people to read and trust the finest printed media. We will insist
on strong editorial oversight, from first draft to final copy. We will re-
conceptualize the printed page online, and we will explore its space,
cultivate its aesthetics. Presentation will be sleek, clean, and controlled.
We will find and foster the new and great writers of the online
generation. Alongside interviews with the waggish luminaries of our
time, we will publish poetry, fiction and essays. We will
allow and encourage authors to exploit the Internet for the new creative
territory it provides: contortions of page, mixed media, electronic
writing, interactive narrative. We will publish complete, polished issues,
quarterly—no constant dribble of blogging and unwanted content.
And there will never be subscription fees; all content will be free to the
public, greatly expanding the readership authors can reach.
We are planting our flag in this, our little corner of the Internet,
establishing a true Web-based magazine (a “wag,” if you will)—a
magazine that brings the rigors of print publication over to the online
medium, to flourish under the vast new freedoms it allows.”
- The Editors, Wag’s Revue
(Issue 1, Spring 2009)