Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Granting AGNI More Room to Grow

Granting AGNI More Room to Grow

By Emily Pineau

    AGNI Magazine (located in Boston University since 1987) was founded in 1972, and has been dedicated to its history ever since. In fact, the editors are proud to note that the 2014 Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano was first published in English in AGNI 10/11, and last year’s National Book Award finalist Cynthia Huntington appeared in AGNI 7. This 42-year-old literary magazine publishes poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, interviews, and artwork twice a year in print and biweekly online. Now as 2015 fast approaches, AGNI has been given a chance not only to stretch its literary limbs, but to also, in a sense, be reborn.

    Recently The National Endowment for the Arts awarded AGNI with a grant of $20,000, which is twice as big as the grants received in recent years. Senior Editor Bill Pierce says, “In 2014 we were able to go up 50% from the prior rate [that we pay our writers] due to the [past] $10,000 grant, but we weren’t sure if we’d be able to sustain that.” Due to this $20,000 grant, the magazine is now able to double the amount they pay writers for their work. This substantial increase from past years also supports the magazine’s social media, which has helped it gain subscribers. AGNI has a considerable Twitter presence, is active on Facebook, and has digital versions of the print magazine available.

    During a time where the Internet is starting to dominate the publishing industry, AGNI is embracing this fact by upholding and improving their strong web presence. Pierce explains:

    "We are not scared of this new era—we publish as much work exclusively on the     web as we do on the print magazine. We are focused on making our digital     presence reflect our print presence. The idea is to not have the digital drain the  print. They feed each other."

AGNI is not trying to be something they’re not, and they do not want to stray too far from their roots. The goal is for their website to be accessible to the public and to be more like a companion to the print version of the magazine. So, to pursue this quest, AGNI Online is being launched with a new design in early 2015. This new design rebalances the site so that the print magazine and the digital content are equally visible.

    AGNI looks for ways to build their community, engage them, and make them feel like an intricate part of each issue. The new issue—AGNI 80—features Erica Funkhouser, Tony Eprile, Anna Journey, and many other notable and talented writers. Also, the art feature by Rosamond Purcell showcases chocolate Oscars hanging out amongst various landscapes and appearing to be quite human-like. This is just one of many examples of how this issue comes to life, and how AGNI continues to create new boundaries, move the soul, and make new connections. As Martin Rock writes in his poem “Portrait of a Sixteenth-Century Etching of the Body,” it is “Not the word that changes,/ but the chambers that move/ around it” (p.76). The heart of AGNI is still hand-stapled, but its digital windows are angled towards the future.

***** Emily Pineau is an intern at AGNI magazine, and an English major at Endicott College in Beverly, Mass.

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