“Love: A Rebuke” Reading Addresses Editorial Changes at Harper’s Magazine

By Jason Boog Comment

harperscover23.jpgIn front of a packed crowd last night (despite a NYC blizzard) Harper’s magazine’s associate editor Paul Ford hosted a reading with some major literary talent. If you missed it (like this GalleyCat editor), follow these links for video of Heidi Julavits, Sam Lipsyte, and Colson Whitehead at the reading.

Before the reading, Ford directly addressed a NY Times article about the editorial situation at one of America’s most well known literary outlets. Around the 3:45 mark in this video, Ford explained: “It’s an eventful time in the publishing industry in general. It’s a hard time. There are magazines going out of business, newsstand sales are down. Advertisers are putting their energies elsewhere. And it’s no less eventful at Harper’s magazine, especially in recent days. Just in the last few weeks, as many of you know and was reported in the NY Times–a large package of dumplings was left in the fridge at Harper’s magazine and they went very bad,” he quipped.

His speech continued: “A couple other things have happened. For instance, our copy department raised strenuous objection to the usage of the word ‘usage.’ This is true. And also, they had a fight with a very prominent writer about the use of the word ‘caltrops; which, I didn’t know, are a kind of ancient landmine, basically. So we’re all waiting to see how that gets resolved. And we published a big piece about suicides at Guantanamo Bay.”

Then his speech mentioned the elephant in the room. “There are big doings, and lots going on at America’s oldest continuously published general interest magazine. And, Ellen Rosenbush, our managing editor, was named acting editor to replace our editor, Roger Hodge. This was a surprise to all of us, but I wanted to put it out there because I don’t want it to hang over this evening. Many of you are fully aware of it, if you read the NY Times. But they are both dedicated people, they both love Harper’s magazine, both Roger and Ellen are lovely people and they are friends to us. And so that’s out there…”