BEST LITERARY ZINE (1998)
Consolation nods go out here to XCP (cross cultural poetics), a thick journal edited by Mark Nowak that just published its second issue of poetry and essays; and Conduit, a handsome and irregular periodical whose fifth issue defines itself as "the only magazine that risks annihilation." Yet that same claim may be made for the mysteriously titled Rain Taxi, a quarterly that is now, almost unbelievably, in its third year. Rain Taxi's latest issue contains 54 pages of reviews, interviews, and features with authors who will never crack the bestseller lists--Lynne Tillman, Patrick McGrath, Bertolt Brecht--but what might be more surprising is the diversity of publishers, the ones The New York Times Book Review won't touch: The Copper Canyon Press; Black Sparrow Press; Norvik Press; Scalo; Turtle Point Press; City Lights Books, etc. It's a tenuous existence this nonprofit review leads in the era of mega-publishers, when everyone is beholden to someone, and the fact that this rebel band of bibliophiles will soon be expanding to include a chapbook run and reading series looks less like name-branding than a minor miracle.