George Harrison may have expressed the passing of Long Shot magazine best in his song, "All Things Must Pass." While the song provided a comfort to those who might be living through troubled times, it also posed a warning to those living through good times.
For the 21 years that the Hoboken-based Long Shot literary magazine was publishing, the local reading public and a national literary audience were graced with some of the best writers of our times.
"After 20 plus years at the helm, I am leaving Long Shot," said Danny Shot, one of its founders. "It's been a good run, but now it's time to move on."
Long Shot, as Shot points out in the last issue's editor's notes, was originally the dream of two young men. Both he and co-founder Eliot Katz were students at Rutgers University in New Brunswick in the early '80s when they came up with the idea for the publication. They were both artists who did not fit into the Reagan era and wanted to put out a publication that reflected their interests. With the help of poet Allen Ginsberg and Rutgers professor Alicia Ostriker, they managed to put out a product that has since evolved into a critically successful venture in the national literary scene.
Amiri Baraka - who as New Jersey's poet laureate has recently incurred the wrath of Gov. James McGreevey - was an inspiration to Shot and Katz, helping them raise money. Although money was always a problem for the publication, Shot said it was time for new writers with new visions to pick up the gauntlet.
"Perhaps fresher and younger dreamers will forge a new path to build a haven for the marginalized, under appreciated and left out, as well as provide a space where different writers from diverse background and interests can conformably hang out together," he said. "This has been Long Shot's mission, and I believe we have succeeded admirably."
Over the years, Shot managed to produce 26 issues, with the most successful issue released in 1995 titled "It's the Jews." Long Shot also took on AIDS, jazz and politics.
The last issue is a mixed bag of poetry, prose and art. It features a never before published work by William Burroughs and an informative essay about Burroughs by Vojo Sindolic, as well as nightmarish photographs by John Ranard of the sprawling Russian prison system.
For fans of Long Shot, this issue will be one to treasure, since we cannot look forward to another. In some ways, Long Shot takes its place among the fading icons of Hoboken, like the Blackwater Books store.
"I leave with bittersweet memories," Shot said. "But also a deep sense of honor for having had the privilege of working with so many outstanding people."
Partly as an effort to give people a chance to bid Shot good-bye and to celebrate the new issue, Long Shot has been holding public readings. The next event will be March 12, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe at 236 East Third St. in New York City and will include readings by Lois Elaine Griffith, Pedro Pietri, Nancy Mercado, Katz, Jesus Papoleto Melendez, Latasha Natasha Diggs, Jackie Sheeler, Jordan Davis, reg E. gaines, Clara Sala, Shot and surprising guests. There is a $6 cover. For more information call (212) 505-8183.
The Long Shot "Bon Voyage Party" will be April 12, at the Tribes Gallery at 285 East Third St. in New York City at 7 p.m. This is a free event. For more information call (212) 674-5576. q