Writing, Poetry, Literary Criticism, Online Commentary, Speculative
Fiction and Hypertext Fiction, and Free E-book Downloads
"Alternative Literature" as a phrase
is almost redundant. Literature by its very nature provides an alternative
to conventional wisdom, to mainstream values, and to ordinary versions
But there is every stripe of literature
just as there is every stripe of politics or spirituality; or
approach to health, income or lifestyle. We bring our cultural
inclinations to our use of language and to our taste in literature.
If you are alternative-minded, chances are you want, in a literary
magazine, something off the beaten track--that is, if you still
read at all.
is alternative literature? It's easy to think of examples
but hard to pin down. Any literary magazine with truly creative
writing will be full of alternatives: alternative worldviews,
alternative methods of handling plot and description and characterization,
alternative ways to construct a poetic line or personal essay.
Included, then, in this alternative literary magazine are samples
of creative nonfiction, philosophy essays, poetry, commentary
on computerized culture, hypertext fiction, love poetry and nature
poetry, a smattering of aesthetics and literary criticism, journal
It's tempting to try to classify
these into fewer categories, to give you an easier choice of navigation.
You know, the old genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry. Or, you
could have organization by subject: wilderness ecology, technology
and culture, new age spirituality, and so on. There is definitely
a bias here toward alternative content
(environmental politics and natural lifestyles, for instance;
yet also alternate reality, via speculative fiction and imaginative
poetry). The exploration of alternative
forms leads to the wide-open
field of free-verse poetry; also to prose-poetry, poetic prose
and other forms of wordjazz; and last but not least, to hypertext
(both hypertext fiction and hypertext nonfiction).
In the end, your baffled editor
must throw up his hands at the task of classifying by pigeonhole.
After all, alternative literature aims at breaking down barriers
and boundaries, so that prose and poetry, fiction and nonfiction,
visible and invisible reality may have someplace to meet.
The following pieces are my own. Other contributors' pieces are archived here.