Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fence Magazine to Join Institute and University

A Grand Welcome to Fence Magazine

The New York State Writers Institute, the center for the literary arts in New York, proudly announces in concurrence with the University at Albany, the acquisition of Fence Magazine. Fence, called by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard, “our most exciting and well-known literary magazine,” will along with Fence Books, be housed with the Institute and the University.

Donald Faulkner, Director of the Institute, says of the affiliation, “this is one of the most significant literary mergers I can think of, and it gives me great pride and pleasure. With the Institute’s standing as one of the foremost literary organizations in the country, known for its reading series, its work in film and theatre, and with its great archive, having a great publication to work with us is like a dream come true.”

The mission of the Institute is, as its enabling legislation states, “to provide a milieu for established and aspiring writers to work together to increase the freedom of the artistic imagination.”

As Rebecca Wolff, poet and editor of Fence, noted, “It is my great joy to bring Fence into its second life with marshaled resources, unimpeded energies, and providence regained." And of allying the project with the University at Albany, she added, “it is to this temple of learning that Fence happily plights its troth. A love-match: Fence is proud to join forces with the New York State Writers Institute, founded by William Kennedy and directed by Donald Faulkner, whose mission statement is aligned with our own.”

Wolff is as well a teacher and the author of two books of poems from W.W.Norton: Manderley and Figment. She is also winner of the Barnard Prize.

Fence has, across nine years of publication, been noted for its unprecedented and deliberate mixture of “new writing” with what can best be called mainstream work. Fence has sought, through this juxtaposition, to demonstrate to the larger reading public the validity of writing that is original, fully imagined, and dynamic in its treatment of language and form.

Fence Books, the publishing arm of the magazine, has won lauds and praises for its work, including its book design, and its Modern Poets Series. Fence oversees the award of a number of prizes, including the Alberta Prize and the Motherwell Prize.

Among the highly regarded list of writers published in Fence are John Ashbery, Adrienne Rich, Robert Coover, Jorie Graham, Fanny Howe, Paul Muldoon, Heather McHugh, Rick Moody, Charles Bernstein, C. D. Wright, Harry Mathews, Anne Carson and Annie Dillard. Mathews, Carson, and Dillard are on the magazine’s Board of Directors, as are novelist Peter Straub; poet Marjorie Welish; former New Yorker magazine editor Jonathan Galassi; and novelist Jonathan Lethem, the publication’s first fiction editor. Lethem was quoted as saying, “I’m proud to have been involved with Fence from its very beginning, and couldn’t wish for a better development in its already illustrious career.”

Current Fence fiction editor, Institute Fellow, and University at Albany faculty member, Lynne Tillman, summed up the joining of the organizations neatly in saying, “The joining of Fence and the Institute is "a marriage of true minds," a literary love of shared intention and hope.”

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