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Happy 10th Anniversary, Big Other!

 

Ten years ago, I launched Big Other, introducing it as “an online forum of iconoclasts and upstarts focusing its lens on books, music, comics, film, video and animation, paintings, sculpture, performance art, and miscellaneous nodes and sonic booms.” It would be a place where great minds with big hearts could “explore how we are made and unmade by images, language, and sound; examine computer-mediated worlds; and dance along with various tumults, genre- and other border-crossings, trespassings, transgressions, and whatever, nevermind.”

It’s far exceeded my hopes and expectations, to say the least.

Big Other‘s blogging years included many of this country’s finest writers as contributors, among them Danielle Adair, Gabriel Blackwell, Paula Bomer, Mel Bosworth, Ryan W. Bradley, Jeff Bursey, Matty Byloos, Elaine Castillo, Kim Chinquee, Luca Dipierro, John Domini, Nicolle Elizabeth, Molly Gaudry, Paul Griffin, j/j hastain, Christopher Higgs, Lily Hoang, Tim Horvath, Kristen Iskandrian, A D Jameson, Jac Jemc, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Aya Karpińska, Paul Kincaid, Brian Kubarycz, Michael Leong, Sean Lovelace, Edward Mullany, Stacy Muszynski, Nick Francis Potter, Shya Scanlon, Davis Schneiderman, Amber Sparks, Rachel Swirsky, Andrew Taggart, J. A. Tyler, Curtis White, John Dermot Woods, and Leni Zumas.

Our transformation into a full-fledged literary journal has also featured some of the country’s finest writers, among them Harold Abramowitz, Roberta Allen, Will Alexander, Osama Alomar, Gary Amdahl, Louis Armand, Rae Armantrout, Matt Bell, Margo Berdeshevsky, Charles Bernstein, Sarah Blackman, Gabriel Blackwell, Erika Bojnowski, Andrew Borgstrom, Daniel Borzutzky, Laynie Browne, Jeff Bursey, Matty Byloos, Grace Campbell, Tobias Carroll, Olivia Kate Cerrone, Alexandra Chasin, Jimmy Chen, Kim Chinquee, Jane Ciabattari, Elizabeth Cohen, Lynn Crawford, Laura Cronk, Renée D’Aoust, Shome Dasgupta, Nik De Dominic, Samuel R. Delany, Shira Dentz, Debra Di Blasi, Elaine Equi, Jared Daniel Fagen, Forrest Gander, Ted Greenwald, Paul Griffin, Tina May Hall, Jefferson Hansen, Alissa Hattman, Lily Hoang, Karen Heuler, Christopher Higgs, Steve Himmer, Tim Horvath, Jamie Iredell, Jessie Janeshek, Andrew Joron, Michael Joyce, Roy Kesey, Michael Kimball, Brian Kiteley, Joshua Kornreich, Babak Lakghomi, Karen An-hwei Lee, Michael Leong, William Lessard, Eugene Lim, Norman Lock, Robert Lopez, Brendan Lorber, Sean Lovelace, Peter Markus, Michael Martone, Cris Mazza, Miranda Mellis, Joe Milazzo, Albert Mobilio, Pedram Navab, Lance Olsen, Danielle Pafunda, Joe Pan, Ted Pelton, Nick Francis Potter, D. A. Powell, Aimee Parkison, Dawn Raffel, Victoria Redel, John Reed, David Leo Rice, Doug Rice, Paul Kincaid, Lisa Russ Spaar, Davis Schneiderman, Peter Selgin, Rone Shavers, Gary Sloboda, Ken Sparling, Ben Spivey, Laurie Stone, Stephanie Strickland, Terese Svoboda, Cole Swensen, Kailey Tedesco, Edwin Torres, Tony Trigilio, J. A. Tyler, Joanna C. Valente, Laura van den Berg, William Walsh, Marjorie Welish, Curtis White, Derek White, Joshua Wilkinson, Tyrone Williams, John Dermot Woods, Angela Woodward, John Yau, Micah Zevin, and Zoe Zolbrod.

And if that weren’t enough, our podcast, Jamming Their Transmision, has featured Rikki Ducornet, Samuel R. Delany, Debra Di Blasi, Norman Lock, Dawn Raffel, Eugene Lim, William Lessard, and many others.

Here’s some recent praise from stellar writers for Big Other and my work helming it:

Big Other [is] one of the very best online innovative arts & culture magazines out there.”

—Lance Olsen, author of My Red Heaven, Dreamlives of Debris, Theories of Forgetting, and others

 

“John Madera is passionate about good writing and the ideas that good writing spawns. Moreover, he is a great friend to the writers of literary fiction who are lucky to have merited his attention.”

—Norman Lock, author of Feast Day of the Cannibals, The Wreckage of Eden, Love Among the Particles, and others

 

“John Madera’s beautiful project, Big Other, [is] always the source for writing that troubles and views from offside.

—Angela Woodward, author of Natural Wonders, End of the Fire Cult, and more

 

“When my cowardly first publisher dumped me, and I was down on my luck, two men picked me up and dusted me off. The first was Ryan W. Bradley, who published two of my books at Artistically Declined. The second was the founder of Big Other and its eternally renewable source of energy, John Madera, who actually found reviewers for those books, which meant that they were read. That’s all any writer really wants. But I don’t want to imply that Big Other is good only because it was good for me. Novels and stories and essays don’t have to be social melodramas with characters you are encouraged to love because you can relate to them and characters you are encouraged to hate because they’re cartoon people—but they are incontrovertibly social. e are who we are and write what we write because of the people around us; that we are independent geniuses succeeding on our own terms is pop-culture bullshit. Big Other is an emphatically social endeavor. It’s a community not of yards and cars and apartment doors and media platforms and dogma, but of minds and and ideas and work. And where else can you celebrate Wallace Stevens these days? The man was a Taft Republican for Christ’s sake!”

—Gary Amdahl, author of The Daredevils, Across My Big Brass Bed, I Am Death, and more

 

Thanks to all of the abovementioned writers, for writing the best words in the best order, for creatively and intelligently contributing to the critical dialogue about art, literary and otherwise. Thanks, too, for your many acts of literary citizenship, the many ways you help build and sustain community.

Finally, thanks to all the readers and supporters of Big Other and its writers.

Here’s to another ten years and beyond!

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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