BENNINGTON – Bennington Review, Bennington College’s biannual literary magazine, has gone 30 years between editions.
Today, six years after its relaunch, the magazine is rewarded for its excellence by a foundation dedicated to the promotion of literature and the arts.
The Whiting Foundation announced Thursday that the magazine was one of five publications honored at its fifth Literary Magazine Awards. The foundation said the awards are intended to recognize print and digital magazines “among the most innovative and essential publications at the forefront of American literary culture.”
Editor-in-chief Michael Dumanis said the award, which comes with a $30,000 grant, “will allow us to increase what we are able to pay our contributors, expand our readership and launch new initiatives. We are grateful to the Whiting Foundation for honoring our efforts to support innovative contemporary literature.
Bennington Review won the award in the low-budget print category, for publications with budgets under $150,000. Four other journals were honored.
Demanis said the award means a lot, given the Whiting Foundation’s role as “a key supporter and promoter of literary arts and programming.”
“Literary journals, despite a relatively small readership, wield enormous influence over national literary culture, serving as early homes for the stories and poems of a next generation of great literary figures and creating space for innovation and innovation. literary experimentation,” said Dumanis. in an email. “But small journals, especially print journals, are increasingly vulnerable and under threat in the literary landscape. The generosity of the Whitings allows them to survive and expand their reach.
“We expect the award to raise the profile of the magazine even further,” he added.
The award comes with a $30,000 prize, but that money is paid out over three years — with the prizes acting as matching grants in years two and three.
The Bennington Review returned to publication in 2016 with the goal of “enhancing the value” of curated literary collections in the digital age, “emphasizing aesthetic and cultural inclusiveness and dedicating itself to promoting vibrant, idiosyncratic poetry and prose as graceful as it is reckless. »
Works first published in the magazine have been reprinted in several editions of “Best American Poetry” and “Pushcart Prize Anthology”. After its first two issues, it was awarded the “Firecracker” award for the best first literary magazine of the last five years by the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses.
In a world where so much content is consumed online (including this newspaper) and reading time is increasingly limited, a print newspaper offers a break from modern trends, Dumanis said.
“We believe there is always a desire for an object that can be held in one’s hands, for the opportunity to have a quiet moment with a poem or a story,” he said. “And of course we’re thrilled (and always a bit surprised) when we get feedback from enthusiastic readers.”
Students can work as editorial assistants for Bennington Review and participate in the editorial process through an editorial and literary editing internship offered each year. The journal also offers an internship during a field camp each winter.
The editorial team includes Dumanis and managing editor Katrina Turner. Fiction editor Benjamin Anastas is stepping down this fall and will be replaced by Bennington’s professor, Manuel Gonzales.
The magazine was judged as a whole for its work, rather than any particular issue. But Bennington College said judges had reviewed the entirety of Issue 9, “The Health of the Sick”.
The cover of the most recent issue #10, “Return to A Meadow”, features works by Vermont Poet Laureate Mary Ruefle from her exhibition “Erasures” at the Robert Frost Stone House Museum.
The Bennington journal was originally started in 1966 by alumnus Laurence J. Hyman, the son of faculty member Stanley Edgar Hyman and author Shirley Jackson. It initially focused on publishing the work of faculty and alumni, including Bernard Malamud, Helen Frankenthaler and Kenneth Burke.
Gradually the journal came to publish work from outside the Bennington College community and was relaunched as a national publication in 1978. Under editors Robert Boyers and Nicholas Delbanco, it published work by established writers , including John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Dillard and John Ashbery, and by emerging writers of the time, including David Remnick and Louis Men. It ceased publication in 1985.
The foundation called the new Bennington Review “a visually stunning journal with an imaginative and sophisticated vision that provides hands-on experience for the next generation of editors.”
“With an editorial vision that is both sharp and whimsical, Bennington Review predicts the future of literary magazines,” the award judges said on the Whiting Foundation’s website. “Each issue is a jewel box of decidedly intelligent and singular fiction, non-fiction and poetry, not to mention an unusually abundant devotion to film criticism and translation work. Its design is beautiful and bold, its impact on readers and writers is profound.The literary talent will radiate from Bennington Review for years to come.
The Bennington Review welcomes submissions – including fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and writing about film – via its website, from emerging and established writers who are not professors, students or Bennington staff. Dumanis said the magazine receives between 1,000 and 1,500 unsolicited submissions in a month and accepts between 1 and 3 percent for publication.