Monday, July 22, 2024

The Printer's Devil Literary Review featured Robert McCann's 2006 painting "Ghosts & Zombies" on its spring issue cover. But the journal's official launch is tonight at Middlesex Lounge.

A printer’s devil is the errand boy or press hand that assembles work for print — exactly as Thomas Dodson and his team of amateur publishers do with The Printer’s Devil Review, a Cambridge-based literary journal getting a launch party tonight at Middlesex Lounge.

The lushly produced journal is full of names you may know, such as Franz Wright, winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, and ones you should, such as writers Norah Piehl and Kate Racculia. Poets Chris Hall and Kendra Decolo, as well as visual artists Jarrod McCabe and Sean Flood, are a few among many in the brilliantly crafted, recently released first issue.

The journal is independent and noncommercial, not to mention free, and its staff understands Cantabrigians are busy: Reading time is reserved for the T ride to work, browsing headlines while waiting for our latte or Googling between projects, so accessibility is important. That is why it has a unique model for distribution focusing on mobile devices. The full journal can be read on or downloaded from and Scribd, a literary publishing website and forum. (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBookstore insist on a $1 fee for distribution through their resources; just think of it as tipping the delivery boy.)

The journal acts as a gateway for artists to debut the way they deserve, as well as presenting a compilation of striking work to those with a love for art and a discerning eye. It’s an open-access publication, free of most copyright and licensing restrictions, because, editors say, “We want to eliminate any barriers that might separate writers and artists from the communities that form around their work. That’s why access to PDR is free of charge to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.

“Although copyright stays with the author or artist, the magazine’s content is available to everyone under a Creative Commons license. That means that, with a few practical restrictions to protect contributors’ rights, anyone can reproduce the content of the magazine for any noncommercial purpose.”

Its roots in Cambridge are deep. Dodson, the editor, is a librarian at Harvard and Tufts universities. Fiction editor Kate Estrop is a writer, editor and tutor with an MFA from Lesley University. Nonfiction editor Chris Willard is a Cambridge resident. One of the poetry editors, Bonnie Rubrecht, is manager of the immigration and refugee clinic at Harvard Law School, and one of the visual arts editors, Joshi Radin, includes the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government among her clients. And Timothy Gager, the city art institution behind the decade-old Dire Literary Series at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery, is an editorial consultant.

To meet the image-takers and art-makers, as well as the Printer’s Devil team of wide-eyed, art enthusiasts-cum-contemporary publishing talents, hit the launch tonight at Middlesex. The Printer’s Devil lures its audience out for fiction and poetry readings, music by the Boston brass band, Factory Seconds, and even more free goodies.  Don’t worry, we have to work in the morning too, so party starts at 5:30 p.m.

Middlesex Lounge is at 315 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge.