BEST LITERARY JOURNAL - 2008
In a time when most of America would rather watch reality television or talk about Britney's latest mishap than read a book, Rain Taxi is keeping the art of literary criticism alive. Recognized by the Alternative Press Awards for Best Arts & Literature for its reviews of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, the Minneapolis-based quarterly is distributed in more than 250 locations nationwide and on the web. The magazine gives former English majors and book lovers a chance to relive lit class with its author interviews, feature stories, and reviews of works on the cutting edge of literature. Its recent spring edition included a feature on early 20th-century painter and poet Francis Picabia; reviews of Angel Wagenstein's Nazi-era novel Farewell, Shanghai; Paul Drummond's biography of a seminal psychedelic rock group, Eye Mind; poetry from Adrienne Rich and Mark Scott; and several graphic novels. For all its high-mindedness, Rain Taxi is always thoughtful without being pretentious. And between its presence at the Twin Cities Book Festival and its free reading series, which brings poets like Kent Johnson and Christina Davis to town, Rain Taxi's commitment to advancing the literary community is unquestioned. As poet Ron Silliman put it in 2003: "I have a dream. It's the idea that once each quarter, all of America's major metropolitan newspapers should publish...a genuinely good book review. I'm not thinking of the jokes that are the book review sections of papers like the San Francisco Chronicle or Washington Post, or even the dowdy advertisers' shill that is the New York Times Book Review, but one that genuinely explores the whole range of published work in the United States, and perhaps even beyond. I'm thinking of Rain Taxi."