Welcome to Electric Literature’s New Website

Like any self-respecting ten-year-old, we've gotten a facelift

Self-employed androgynous lightbulb

Welcome to the new Electric Literature website! No, you’re not lost. This is the same Electric Literature you know and love, only with a new outfit designed by the talented folks at CMYK.

Yesterday I told a writer we were launching a new website and he said, don’t you already have a website? I said we do, only now it looks different. Anyone who has ever gone through a web redesign knows that this is both true and an oversimplification. To prepare the new site to be as reader-friendly as possible, we’ve sorted through over 5,000 articles dating back to our first post (September 2009), considering what we’ve offered readers in the past, what we want to offer you in the future, and how we can arrange everything in an intuitive way. (It should be pretty intuitive! Weekly literary magazines The Commuter and Recommended Reading under Lit Mags, essays under Essays, etc. We also have a much-improved search function and author pages if you’re looking for something specific.)

Relaunching the site has given us an opportunity to contemplate all the different faces of Electric Literature over the astonishing ten years we’ve been around—from our self-described “ragtag” lit blog The Outlet (get it?), to our literary events coverage blog The Dish, to the first days of Recommended Reading and, last year, the addition of a second weekly lit mag, The Commuter.

To prepare the new site to be as reader-friendly as possible, we’ve sorted through over 5,000 articles dating back to our first post in September 2009.

What we’ve learned from this trip through the archives of a (knock wood) long-lived literary website is this: It’s not enough to be smart, or committed, or scrappy, or any one of a number of laudable traits that haven’t saved other great sites from oblivion. You also have to be extremely adaptable—and at least a little bit lucky. We’ve been incredibly fortunate in our devoted readership, which has grown from a couple thousand to hundreds of thousands. You’ve seen us through any number of changes we’ve made in order to stay on top of the times, the technology, and the needs of the community. This new site is the most recent, but if our luck holds, it won’t be the last.

(One more note on that storied history: We’ve imported thousands of pieces of content to the new site, some of which date back to several websites ago. If an older piece looks a bit weird, please keep it close to your heart as evidence of our evolution, and assume we know and are working on it.)

If you are going to be at AWP in Portland next week, please join us for our 10th birthday party with fellow 10-year-old The Rumpus: It’s My Party, I’ll Cry If I Want To. We’ll have cake, free drinks courtesy of our sponsor Aevitas Creative Management, and readings on the theme by Kaveh Akbar, Marie-Helene Bertino, Ryan Chapman, Bonnie Chau, R.O. Kwon, and Talin Tahajian.

EL and The Rumpus 10th Birthday Flyer

The White Owl
1305 SE 8th Ave
Portland, OR 97214
Friday, March 29th
6:30 – 9 PM

So what will we be doing for the next ten years? In many ways it seems we are approaching, or have reached, peak internet. On the other side of that peak, I hope the frenzy of our lives online will reach an equilibrium, and the internet will become (or go back to being) a place where we can find what we are looking for, rather than one that takes over. That’s the dream: a more reader-friendly version of online. An internet that looks more like what Electric Literature has always tried to be: thoughtful, well-read, irreverent but not cynical, and interested in a better world.

But people have been wrong about the online future before. Even if the internet doesn’t slow down, we’ll be here, adapting—finding ways to deliver that thoughtful experience in the midst of the digital din. Whether it’s settling into absorbing, long-form fiction, being amused by an irreverent comic, or having your mind changed by an intelligent and personal piece of criticism, I want Electric Literature to be a place where you can stick around for a while. We plan to.


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