S&R Literature

Homecooking vs. S&R Literature: a note to our readers

Scholars & Rogues recently launched its new literary journal and has so far published a short story and several poems. We’re ecstatic with the quality of the submissions we’re seeing and expect this to be a vibrant component of the overall S&R experience for a long time to come.

We want to take a moment to clear up a point of potential confusion for readers who may be thinking that S&R has always published original creative writing.

S&R has, in the past, published the occasional work of original literature, with my own poetry being the chief example. We will continue to do so, from time to time, because in addition to our broad range of political and cultural analysis interests, several scrogues are also creative writers and we enjoy sharing things with our audience here. It’s one of the things we feel sets us apart from other online outlets.

But we want to make clear that there is an absolute wall of separation between this kind of post and what we’re doing with the lit journal. Here’s how it works:

  • The literary journal is edited by S&R staffers and exclusively features submitted works by writers who have no affiliation with the site whatsoever. When S&R Lit posts go up they do so under the author title of “Poetry,” “Fiction” or “Nonfiction” and with the category designation appropriate to their genre (S&R Poetry, for instance). In most cases, these works will be accompanied by the S&R Lit graphic you see here.
  • Now that we have launched the journal, all future creative offerings from S&R staffers, such as my poem from yesterday, will be logged under a new category, “Homecooking.”
  • These distinctions are critical. From the standpoint of the literary publishing establishment what bloggers do is inherently filed as “self-publication,” and is therefore of little to no value when it comes to things like, say, tenure and promotion committees (if the author is a professor). A writer who palms self-published work off as though it appeared in reviewed journal has no credibility, and a publication that blurs this line damages the credibility of the writers who appear in its pages.
  • Those of us on the S&R staff who pursue our creative craft seriously submit and publish in various other literary journals and will continue to do so. But we would never put a homecooking post on our vitae and suggest that it was peer reviewed.

S&R and the literary journal operate as if they were completely separate organizations and sites, only we share publication space for reasons that have to do with efficiency and the promotional power we hope to lend the fine authors we publish in S&R Literature. We certainly don’t denigrate self-publishing – the online world has provided many talented artists with an avenue for bypassing traditional structures and models that made it hard for them to be heard, and I myself am incredibly sympathetic to those who have felt frustrated by an occasionally hidebound literary establishment.

That said, we feel like we have an obligation to protect the interests of writers who, for one reason or another, need to play by the old rules. Perhaps we’re trying to have it both ways, and we know from experience that not everybody out there feels what we’re doing is legitimate. One prominent organization that lists publication markets for writers recently rejected our request for listing because we violated a couple of their criteria. We wish them the best of luck as they continue to be a leading player in 19th Century publishing, and we know they wish us the best as we seek to help talented artists interested in innovation for the 21st Century.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know, either in the comment thread below or via the contact link in the navigation at the top of this page.