Reviewed by: Cheryl LaGuardia, Research Librarian, Widener Library, Harvard University
The editors of Profane are eager to publish writers “who present us with challenging material.” They seek submissions of “good writing” – their definition of which is, “Writing that's surprising or difficult, emotionally and/or intellectually, in even small, subtle ways, [with] the potential to leave readers changed as a result.” Profane is an annual that’s available in print, online, and with audio, and it features poetry, creative non-fiction, and fiction. Each poem and piece of prose here is read in the author's own voice.
Published each winter, there are two issues available so far: Winter 2014 and Winter 2015. Each issue is presented listing the poetry, non-fiction, and fiction that’s available in that issue by author name. If there is only one work for an author listed, when you click on the author name, a paragraph about the author displays at screen left, while a window appears at screen right, with a picture of the author topping an audio player, which, when you click the play button, plays a recording of the author introducing themselves and then reading the work. If there is more than one work listed for the author the works will be read sequentially in the audio player. The process is explained in the Submissions section of the site, where the editors note: “One of the things that makes our journal unique is the focus we place on audio. All submissions should be text only. However, if we accept your work, we'll record you reading your work aloud, and interview you about it and your writing in general (a brief 5 to 10 minute interview). This will be conducted in our studio via phone or Skype, at your convenience. We only accept work that stands up to scrutiny on the page, but we feel the audio adds texture to our journal, and that it makes for an even more exciting product for our contributors and readers to share. It also makes it easier to ingest and digest an entire issue in the midst of hectic schedules.”
I couldn’t agree more: I love hearing the work in the author’s own voice, and it sets this journal apart in an excellent way. If you or any of your users are interested in experiencing somewhat unusual writing, this is a good bet for you and them. Highly recommended; I hope they produce many more issues of such high quality.