On June 1, Vagabondage Press will publish the inaugural issue of The Battered Suitcase, an online "literary magazine that promotes intelligent and imaginative art and fiction." And so it does, if the preview copy available is any indication.
Here's the important question, though: aren't there enough of these things - high art e-zines - orbiting each other in cyberspace, with, if they are lucky, more than 10 or 20 readers? Well, yes and no. The equivocation has to do with quality, not quantity so much. There surely are a lot of poor literary magazines posted throughout the web. Most of these, as far as I've been able to discern, are because they aim for the highbrow but land on the pretentious, instead, their likely goal all along.
Few things are as dreary as a website advertised as serious, with serious artistic intentions, only to come off as though its very existence is based on some editor's idea of "hip." Or pretentious; they are often one and the same, especially when "hip" is as elusive to these sites as objectivity is to, say, FOX News (not a great analogy, but you get the point).
There's reason to have hope for The Battered Suitcase. It is multimedia in the non-ironic sense of that term. The preview issue includes short stories (T.J. Cruz's "Dual Control" being particularly interesting), poetry, art, visual poetry (poem and image together, in the best of cases the one being inseparable from the other), and non-fiction or essay (in this first issue Vivian Wagner's "100 Reasons I Want to Go to Afghanistan" left me not so uninspired).
But really, these are small matters. The totality of The Battered Suitcase is quite promising. The editors, if one issue is an indication, seem to have a tangible vision of what they want this magazine to do, and they know how they want to fill it.
It is not meant to be conventional. Neither do I think it sees itself as avant-garde (a slippery term). Rather, I believe it aims at being original and unorthodox (absent pretension), and the first issue is both of those. As its editors say, it's "aimed at new directions in the exploration of art and literature, it is published online on the first calendar day of the month."
I believe you should bookmark this site and take it in; you'll either learn something or, better yet, feel something. And on the web these days, those experiences are, seemingly, in hibernation.
I think Vagabondage Press is suitably named for this undertaking, and would urge you to have a look.
I think you'll check in often.