The Daily Heller: The Plague Goes Viral

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(Author’s note: I promise, no more viral puns—at least not this week—at least in headlines.)

Last May, as the V-word was raging, my colleague Zachary Petit reviewed the first two issues of Detroit-based Rotland Press’ The Plague Review. Nine months and four issues later, we have a few vaccines available in most states to some of the at-risk populations, and The Plague Review: A Digest is also available.

The design of The Plague Review is modeled after the earliest issues of The Paris Review, publisher/editor Ryan Standfest told me. “I emailed the cover from a 1956 issue to my designer, Stephen Schudlich, and he developed The Plague Review series identity based upon that. For the guts of the issue, I felt if it were presented as straight and simple as possible, like a dry literary journal, then the content would deliver its maximum charge.”

Initially, Standfest intended to produce one issue. But the response to his call for contributions from artists worldwide was so great that after a single “ask,” he had enough material to last four issues, and then even more to fill out a 260-page book. “I remain grateful for the fervor of the contributors, and astonished at how quickly it all came together,” he says about this time capsule.