New River Journal

This announcement of a new digital writing and art journal, from the Electronic Literature Organisation. Always great to see another space for digital writing, though claiming to be ‘the first online journal devoted exclusively to digital writing and art’ is a little unfair to Beehive, Turbulence, Kanonmedia and the now defunct Whalelane, to name a few… (I could also mention, but that would be a blatant plug, wouldn’t it?)


New River Journal, the first online journal devoted exclusively to digital writing and art, announces the release of its premier issue for 2007. After a period of dormancy, New River Journal has been redesigned and reborn, complete with exciting new works by some of today’s leading digital authors.New River Journal was founded by Virginia Tech English Professor Ed Falco in 1996, with the assistance of Len Hatfield, a computer guru then on the Virginia Tech faculty. The online publication has consistently tested the boundaries and rules of writing in a digital age. This new issue marks the first time the journal has been managed and edited by students participating in the MFA Creative Writing Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Managing editors for the inaugural launch are two graduate students, Laura Dulaney and Bryon Sabol.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to work as an editor on the New River Journal,” said Dulaney. “Digital writing has developed in astounding ways in the past decade, yet it is still in its infancy. Few schools in the country can offer their students the chance to be so involved with this medium on every level.”

The managing editors, with the help of Brent Jesiek of Virginia Tech’s Center for Digital Discourse and Culture, redesigned the New River Journal’s website to provide a user friendly interface and easier access to the journal’s archive. Beginning with this issue, the Journal plans to post new issues twice a year, in December and May.

The current issue includes works by David Herrstrom, Jason Nelson, and Dan Waber.

David Herrstrom’s “The Nicodemus Glyph” is a heady investigation of the ancient author and teacher, Nicodemus. Herrstrom has constructed the Glyph to taunt the reader’s desire for more definite knowledge of Nicodemus, while simultaneously signaling that we can never fully know a historical person or circumstance.

Jason Nelson’s work tests the boundary between “game-like” interfaces and serious poetry. “Poetry Cube” not only allows readers to reorganize Nelson’s words, but it also allows them to enter their own poetry and, with the click of a button, shuffle the lines into an array of possibilities. “Between Treacherous Objects” takes a form reminiscent of a video game flight simulator. Using the mouse, readers fly through the space of images and poetry, choosing to stop where they desire.

Dan Waber’s “Writing Through Time” examines and challenges the limitations and constructs of space and time as they traditionally apply to the written words. Words appear and disappear on the “page,” creating a layered fabric of text and meaning that can be further manipulated by the reader.

“It was an honor to have some of the leading digital writers from around the world contribute to this issue,” managing editor Bryon said. “New River Journal was at the forefront of the digital writing movement, and our goal when we took over the editorship was to reestablish the Journal’s place at the helm. I think with the new website and the excellent work from some of the world’s top digital writers, we accomplished that.”

The Virginia Tech MFA Creative Writing Program was established in 2005. New River Journal’s managing editors Dulaney and Sabol are members of the program’s first class. The New River Journal is currently hosted by the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture.


  • Bryon Sabol says:

    Sorry, we didn’t mean to ruffle any feathers with the claim of being the first online digital writing journal. It was a press release written by the university. I believe our initial statement to them was that “to the best of our knowledge we were the first.” I guess it sounded better to them to just state it as a fact. I apologize.

    Let me add that we would love for people to check out the site and to submit work in the future. We will be publishing an issue twice a year.



  • Chris Joseph says:

    Hi Bryon,

    thanks for your comment… and congratulations for getting New River up and running! As I said, new avenues for digital writing are always welcome, so I hope I didn’t sound too harsh by listing some of the others.

    I’ll post the call for submissions you have on your contact page here, if you don’t mind? And if you have any specific calls in the future please do send them over.