Issue two of literary and arts quarterly, The White Review has arrived. Edited by Benjamin Eastham and Jacques Testard, and under the continued art direction of Ray O’Meara, No.2 strengthens their resolve to “stay close to new writing and emerging art” in a journal format, refined aesthetically and collected within chapter-like sections. The range of writing and sharp interviews, extended and unapologetic, include William Boyd, Richard Wentworth and JH Engström, whose accompanying photographic series Back Home is beautifully delivered with as much weight as the texts that flank it…
We spoke to editor Jacques and deisgner Ray to find out more…
Hi Jacques, how and who have you approached for content in hindsight of issue one?
One of our main concerns with the second issue was to strike a better balance between the forms and genres that we set out to publish and the generations of writers and artists that we were publishing. Some of the content came through random submissions or pitches, but most of it was commissioned or at least sought out from people whose work we admired, like Joshua Cohen for example.
Without ever willing it we ended up with a poetry-infused issue, largely because many of the good writers who wanted to get involved were either poets or writing about them. As we wrote in the editorial: ‘We resist the imposition of a theme on each issue. Nonetheless connections emerge, organically, in the compilation of a journal. This second issue seems to have poetry at its heart.’
In your editors’ letter you spoke of an emotional stake in print, how does this translate to your online content?
Our website serves as a corollary to the print issues and serves several purposes beyond the necessity of staying visible in between issues. First of all, the website is a place to engage more with current affairs than is possible in print. We won’t publish reviews, but if someone wants to write a personal account of their time at, say, the Venice Biennale, and it is an unusual type of review, we will publish it online. Similarly, we’ll publish smaller interviews with writers and artists that need the immediacy of online publication to stay relevant.
Our website also enables us to give untested writers and artists a chance. In a sense, everything we do is geared towards the print issue – from raising our profile to nurturing young talents to keeping in touch with current affairs – with the idea being that we will eventually be able to increase our print-run and start publishing books too.
Hello Ray, what can you tell us about how you have developed/refined the design since issue one?
We’re interested in the journal as a platform for experimentation and (Lewis) Irvine’s cover and JH Engstrom’s images were both exciting to work with and gave the second issue a different tone to the first with Viktor Timofeev and Marcus Leatherdale.
The White Review is a series that is building. Issue 1 was the foundation of a visual theme that we’ve expanded and elaborated on in Issue 2. The design and the structure of content, the pace, imagery and typesetting – all of these go hand in hand, and it’s those subtleties in the reading that define the object issue to issue, Joshua Cohen being one example.
The editors stated this issue had “poetry at its heart” – is the design a concretion of this?
The White Review avoids themed content – and likewise I try to avoid designing towards an overall topic rather than working with the actual content. What’s happening in the text and imagery itself is what becomes the visually beguiling factor for the object, and that’s what’s most enjoyable.