The Logan Square Literary Review (LSLR) is a new quarterly publication for and by the residents of the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. Call it self-promotion if you must (I have a piece published in the current issue), but I thought it would be fun to talk to Daniel Majid, the Review's creator and editor, about the northwest side's latest local literature project.
Dylan: Tell me the genesis story of the Logan Square Literary Review and why you decided to create it.
Daniel: I've wanted to get into independent publishing since I was in grade school. I used to listen to Boomerang Audio Magazine, which was a youth-oriented monthly cassette that had a wide variety of material. I remember there being everything from pieces explaining the story of Anne Frank to a piece explaining economic inflation. I think that's where my interest piqued. The kind of variety found in a magazine is definitely something I've tried to translate into the LSLR. I have other artistic pursuits, and so being able to work in publishing in this manner allows me the time to step away from the desk and concentrate on other things as well.
Dylan: What is it about Logan Square? What’s special about this neighborhood to you?
Daniel: Five years ago, I moved to Logan Square from northeastern Ohio on a whim, and I have really fallen in love with the neighborhood. There is definitely a sub-set sense of community here, as if it were a nursing child, and the art and activity being produced here strengthened it each day. Without reading as too much of a tourist pamphlet, The presence for independent thought and business is strong here, and I feel that there is also a sense of uniqueness to the neighborhood in its ability to provide the best that Chicago has to offer to its residents. There is abundant green space, welcoming and enthusiastic eateries and pubs, and the creative and industrious people that live here are making it an exciting place to live.
Dylan: What’s your vision for the LSLR? Would you like to keep it as small, local and independent as possible, or do you hope to take it to a higher level of renown and prestige?
Daniel: I think this journal is definitely going to go through some evolution in it's existence. Under my editorship the journal will remain oriented in Logan Square, but if in the future I leave Chicago, there's no reason the journal couldn't continue on. The LSLR is a venue of expression for Logan Square, and I would be glad to hand it off to someone who will embrace its mission, if and when the time comes.
I am also trying to get people to embrace the LSLR's tumblr site. The journal will remain text-oriented, but I've started this site as a venue for people's work in photography, motion picture, audio or realistically anything that tumblr will accept to its servers. Given the decentralized nature of the internet, submitters do not have to be from Logan Square.
Dylan: The reception party for the first issue was held at local Logan Square coffee shop, New Wave. And the reception party for the second issue was at Atlas Café, another local Logan Square spot. Are you going to have a reception for each issue at a different coffee shop in the neighborhood?
Daniel: It is my intention to have each reception at a different Logan Square business. So far I've used coffee shops so people under the age of 21 could participate, and because the noise level of a cafe would actually allow discussion. I'm not opposed to having a reception at a bar, but I think the informal nature of a coffee shop works better for a reception. Supporting the local monetary economy is just as important as supporting the economy of ideas.
Dylan: Are you involved in any other events in Logan Square? When we talked at the last reception you mentioned a music and literature fest sometime in the near future.
Daniel: Yes, Lynn Stevens, who runs the blog Peopling Places, and runs the Milwaukee Ave. Art Walk each year, is organizing what right now is being called a Rhythm & Rhyme festival. The idea is an outdoor spoken-word/music festival at the Logan Square Blue Line CTA stop. We are in the very early stages of organization, and is scheduled for mid-September.
Dylan: The Chicago Zine Fest is coming up next month and you’ll be there to spread the word on LSLR. How is an event like this important to Chicago and its writers?
Daniel: This event will be a reaffirmation that there is still a strong and vibrant community of independent, small-run publishing in Chicago and the rest of the country! There are well over 100 publications being featured and I think it will be a great place to meet people and revel in the creative atmosphere. I encourage anyone reading to come down to the downtown campus of Columbia College on Saturday (March 13) to say hello.
Dylan: Who should write for LSLR? And what do you want them to write about?
Daniel: I want anyone who feels like they have a unique perspective to write about what they feel will contribute to the community of ideas being bred in Logan Square. You never know how your words are going to affect somebody; inspiration can come from anywhere.
Dylan: When it’s not LSLR submissions, what do you like to read?
Daniel: I read a lot of periodicals, I frequent Harpers.org, BBC.news.co.uk, the blog of Naomi Klein, and I currently have Mark Twain, Albert Camus, Howard Zinn and J.R.R. Tolkein on my night stand right now.
Many thanks to Daniel Majid, my editor and neighbor. The Chicago Zine Fest will take place at Quimby's Bookstore, Johalla Projects and Columbia College next weekend, Friday and Saturday (March 12 and 13).
Buy a copy of the Logan Square Literary Review online, or at local bookstores (Myopic, Quimby's, G-Smart). All residents of Logan Square are encouraged to submit their original work to the Logan Square Literary Review by sending it to Loganliterary@gmail.com.