First City Review
If you think about Philadelphia the way some natives do, you might not think it's the best place to start a new literary magazine. But Michael Pollock, editor of the stellar new First City Review, out of Northern Liberties, thinks differently. "Philly is a great place to start a magazine," he says. Pollock moved to Philadelphia from New York eight years ago, and he found the literary community here very supportive. "The romantic vision of working artists living here isn't a myth," he says. "It's what first inspired me to move here. Reading venues abound, bookstores support burgeoning literary communities, and writers, poets and editors are always looking to help one another." That might sound utopian to those who aren't involved in arts in Philadelphia, but it's demonstrably true to those in the scene. There's even a flutter of karmic optimism in Pollock's enterprise: "Hopefully First City is good enough to offer a new perspective, to which readers and writers will respond, to give back some of what I got." Issue No. 1 is certainly good enough to merit some loving return. One representative entry is by Irish writer Billy O'Callaghan--a provocative short story about a painter who befriends a village hunchback on an island. Other strong entries come from Paula Bomer, Brooke Comer and Johannah Rodgers. "To me," Pollock says, "good writing is uncorrupted by advertising, marketing or personal motives. You enter it like you're walking into a movie you know nothing about and suddenly you're transfixed. I think literary magazines offer that experience pretty consistently. All you have to do is pick one up."