Showcase: ISOTOPE

The recession is being particularly cruel to books and publishing and the arts in general, dear blog readers.  We all have to do our part to keep them alive.  In fact, self has a great idea for a stimulus package:  By now we’ve all heard of Obama’s “Cash for Clunkers” program. Well, why not have a “Cash for Chronically Cash-Strapped Artists Who Can’t Even Afford Clunkers”???

It occurs to self that more useful than posting pleas for readers to support this or that worthy lit mag would be posts highlighting their strengths. With that in mind, here’s a post on one of those unique literary gems :


Isotope describes itself as “a journal of literary nature and science writing.”  Its editor is Chris Cokinos.  His Wikipedia entry describes him as “an American poet and writer of non-fiction on nature and the environment.”  The dry facts are that he was President of the Kansas Audubon Council from 1996-1998, that he is around 46 years old, and that he also teaches at the Chatham University Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing (Oh, does self love that Wikipedia!)

On Isotope‘s current home page is a message from Chris and an affirmation of what Isotope does exceedingly well.  Here’s part of what he says:

Too often, it seems that nature writing is viewed through a narrow lens  —  either celebration or elegy.  And that wild places —  an increasingly problematic category —  are the most sought-after venues for revealing explorations of the human relationship to the nonrelationship world.

We don’t dispute the need to venerate such locales or the need to celebrate and to grieve.  It’s worth noting that within the word “isotope” the Greek root “topos” occurs . . .  a reminder of the importance of place.

Isotope honors the tradition of nature writing —  while moving beyond it (even challenging it) with a wide range of work that engages such fields as astronomy, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, sexuality, urban ecosystems, restoration ecology, physics, and math.

Single issues are $10 each.

A one-year subscription is $15.  A two-year subscription is $25.

The current issue, 7.1, contains the 2009 Editors’ Prize Winners, Stephen Trimble on the Wallace Stegner centennial, and self’s piece “The Lost Language,” (possibly the first piece on the Philippines that the journal has ever published?  Wouldn’t you say that any journal that brings The Philippines to the notice of a wider public is worthy of support???)

Stay tuned.

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