A conversation came up this past Saturday involving literary journals, and the keeping of them for weeks, months, or even decades. It was mostly about the weeding out of one's library--opening up to the TOC and seeing a name or a story title (or poem or essay title) and thinking, Oh, this one stays, etc.
I'm not really one to speak on this as I rarely ever throw any old journals away, but if you are the type that doesn't keep many of them around for any length of time, is there a journal or two that you simply won't get rid of? Maybe you have all of them since issue one, or maybe you love their editorial style so much that every issue is still a great read years after it was published. Or are there authors that you won't throw away?
A few that I can't ever see getting rid of, even if I one day succomb to the idea that I need to make room to live in the house:
Hobart - I love nearly every single story and essay that this journal has published. I also own every issue which is something that will more than likely make it difficult for me to toss a title
Absinthe: New European Writing - I enjoy finding story, poems and essays from writers I'd most likely otherwise never heard of. The addition of the artwork focused on each issue a year or so ago has made this already great journal even better.
Conjunctions - One I'm late to the party on but digging my way backwards into owning. Great fiction, great essays and great reviews and nearly 60 issues edited by the same individual--another trait that helps greatly in this category.
The Quarterly - It took me a long time to track down nearly all of the issues and going through them one at time (very slowly, I know) has been a pretty amazing experience.
Unsaid - This annual brick of incredible writing would be almost impossible for me to toss or give away as it continually publishes authors I love and helps me find new authors to enjoy.
Authors? Man, that's a lot tougher I think. One reason I rarely get rid of any literary journals is that there's rarely a TOC without somebody that I think I should be holding onto, even in the many cases that the story involved is one that I own the book it eventually gets printed in. Some I can say I actively look for: Robert Coover, TC Boyle, Alyson Hagy, Matt Bell, Steve Yarbrough, Steven Gillis, Elwood Reid, Kellie Wells, Brian Evenson, Terese Svoboda and Dawn Raffel. If I'm fortunate enough to pick up a journal and their names are among those on the TOC, the journals not being set down until I reach the counter.