BLATT editor Joshua Cohen gets interviewed

1. How do you think the concept of Blatt will add upon the idea that
was the Prague Literary Review? How do you see this publication as
different its predecessors?

Though Blatt is a continuation of the PLR (Prague Literary Review),
with the same editors and art director working under the auspices of a
new publisher, we hope to make a few changes, if mostly on the
reading-and-reader-end, meaning in our profile and in the dark
mechanics of distribution; we want to establish both the magazine, and
its books imprint, internationally, and to set ourselves up as an
important conduit, between languages, cultures, artists, writers and
their mothers. And then your next question. I'm not quite sure who our
predecessors are. If our predecessor is the Paris Review, then we're
different in that our predilections are more extreme, and we're much
poorer. If our predecessor is something like Big Table, which was
probably the most interesting American literary magazine that was also
taken seriously, the difference is is that not all of us are junkies -
and we'd kill for the publicity that comes with being brought up on
obscenity charges. In its day, Revolver Revue did some great things in
Prague. We'd love to be considered that serious, but that kind of
class can't be bought, or even worked for. That's all politics.

2. What do you plan to do differently with Blatt compared to the PLR?

Better distribution, better design (color). We'd like to get invited
more to fabulous poetry festivals where it's warm and there's free

3. Why did the pair of you decide to leave the partnership with
Shakespeare & Sons, and switch to Anagram as a publisher?

It was a decision made for us. Shakespeare & Sons no longer wanted to
support us, financially. Anagram did. There's nothing journalistic
about it - we had been given a certain amount of money to pay for the
PLR, and then when that got spent, it was time to find another angel.

4. How do you harvest work for each issue? Is it on a submission and
commission basis? How would you describe the type of writers and
artists you are looking for?

We accept submissions, and we read them, but much of the work is
solicited directly from people whose work we like and respect. I don't
know what I look for. I mostly read prose for the magazine. And so I
look to see if the work has quotation marks in it. Or if a character
is named something like Janet. Then I stop looking. I like it when
work is completely incautious, when I read something that tells me
that if it weren't for words, which are the only pure and purifying
agents of coherence, this writer would be a murderer, or a racist, or
a democratically elected president.