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More On Poets & Writers Magazine

January 16, 2014

Writers & Poets Magazine N-D 2013

This post is further thought to yesterday’s post about the three magazines to which I subscribe. Specifically, it’s an example of what bothers me about Poets & Writers magazine.

Pictured above is the cover of the November/December 2013 issue of Poets & Writers. You see Elizabeth Gilbert is pictured on the cover as the feature. If it’s to small for you to see what it says under her name, it says, “The Eat, Pray, Love Phenomenon  What happens After an Author Sells More Than 8 million Copies?”

In the space alongside Elizabeth’s picture is a list of other articles in this issue. The tenth line down says, “Andre Dubus III” – that’s it, no title to any of his books, no title to this particular article.

I’ve read books by Elizabeth Gilbert and I’ve read books by Andre Dubus, III. There is no doubt in my mind who is the better writer. Andre Dubus, III. Hands down. No questions asked. No arguments anticipated. Not even from Poets & Writers magazine. I’m not saying Gilbert is a bad writer. But Dubus is unquestionably better. A comparison of their most notable works, Eat, Pray, Love for Gilbert and House of Sand and Fog for Dubus is all anyone needs to read to see the difference.

It’s like a comparison between reality t.v. and PBS. We know which draws the larger audience and we know which programming is of better quality and lasting value.

Poets & Writers has Gilbert on the cover because she has sold 8 million copies of one of her books and I’m sure Dubus has not.

Poets & Writers is primarily about marketing and not primarily about exceptional writing. That’s what bothers me about it and what I was trying to articulate in yesterday’s post. The cover of the Nov/Dec 2013 issue has irritated me each time I’d see it in my magazine rack. Elizabeth Gilbert is on the cover because the issue will sell more copies and generate more subscriptions than a feature of Andre Dubus, III would have. That’s why Poets & Writers has her on the cover.

This post is meant to be more about the magazine than the authors. So, tomorrow, I’ll post about these two authors, sharing merit from each. 

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