Ploughshares is probably the best literary magazine in America. It certainly has received more than its fair share of accolades this decade. (It is way ahead of all other magazines in my ranking of literary journals: The Pushcart Prize Rankings.) I can't remember when it last changed its look, and I've been a subscriber for many years.
But the image at left is the Fall 2009 cover, a departure from the previous issue. Of course, the magazine has a new editor for the first time in a very long time, and so perhaps she wanted to put her mark on the magazine, and she's certainly done that. When I first unwrapped the package this afternoon, I didn't like it. I liked the old serif font of the title, and the glossy cover. But now that it's been sitting on my desk for a few hours, I think it has grown on me. The header is clean, the big P in the upper left corner is eye-catching. (Here's another change: the cover PRICE is now $14 as opposed to $10.95, and the annual rate has gone up as well. It's still worth it, especially if you subscribe.)
But wait! What's on the inside? I almost forgot. I haven't read any of the pieces yet, but I note that the issue is all nonfiction edited by Kathryn Harrison. And there are very few contributors whose names I even recognize. When I've had a chance to do some reading, I'll revisit the issue.