Literary magazine Open City is closing


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Open City, a New York literary journal, is closing its doors after 20 years. Co-editor Joanna Yas told The Observer that multitple sources of funding had pulled out.

Open City was founded in 1990 by Thomas Beller and Daniel Pinchbeck. They were soon joined by editor Robert Bingham in 1993, who was a key figure in shaping the magazine’s early voice.


‘The Open City people were from an earlier time — the mid-’90s,’ novelist Sam Lipsyte told the Observer, which reports on the magazine’s demise. ‘The last time you really felt an understanding that the man was inherently bad. A distrust of the official discourse was what bound people together — and a distrust of hippies.... I remember Bingham called me up and said, ‘Don’t sell out to the majors.’’

Bingham died of a drug overdose in 1999, after which Pinchbeck left and Yas, then managing editor, joined Beller as co-editor.

Poet and Silver Jews singer Dave Berman, whose work had often been found in the magazine, told The Observer, ‘I feel a tremendous amount of admiration for Joanna for squeezing an extra decade out the magazine.’

Open City’s issue No. 30, which is available now, includes work by Sigrid Nunez, Ed Park, Ann Packer, Yusef Komunyakaa and more. It will be the magazine’s last.

However Open City Books, its publishing arm, will continue. Open City Books has published fiction by Jerry Stahl, Berman’s poetry, nonfiction by the Times’ Meghan Daum and Sam Lipsyte’s novel ‘Venus Drive.’

-- Carolyn Kellogg