What the fuck is a minetta?

Minetta Review Fall 2012 - Front cover

The Minetta Review is a literary and arts publication managed by undergraduate students at New York University: Washington Square. Established in 1974, it is the oldest literary publication at the university. Now, if you are wondering, “What the fuck is a minetta?” then you’re in luck. The newly-released Fall 2012 issue began with this very question and ultimately released its selections under the theme of (re)awakening. In my editor’s note, I endeavored to paint for you the atmosphere of adventure and ambition that characterized the quest for an answer.

The flint first sparked on a Thursday in Greenwich Village, out in the quiet-too-quiet that knocks at three in the morning. Conscious suddenly of the asphalt beneath my feet, of how little I knew about its name—the name of this lane, the street, the theater, the tavern, the garage, the square, the triangle, the publication for which I’m composing this note—I looked up at the street sign. “Hold up. What the fuck.. is a minetta?”

My search for an answer began in our Publication Lab, where I hoped to unlock a passageway into some telling repository by shifting objects in various sequences.

When I found out that, one building over, there really was such a thing—the University Archives—I dragged the previous editor Emily to the tenth floor of Bobst Library. A graduate student answered the doorbell and led us down a corridor lined with shelves of historical records. After submitting a request to access the Minetta Review archive, we found ourselves seated in a reading area among weathered statues, architectural models, and cabinets of artifacts. My focus came to a copper bust, whose verdigrised left eye consigned me to a stupor. All of eternity, contracted to an instant, elapsed before I broke the hold—maybe only a minute had elapsed, but I couldn’t be sure: the grandfather clock in the corner insisted that it was always 6:20.

As I raised an eyebrow to a preserved cigarette-butt receptacle, the first of three archival cartons was presented to us, and our fingers flipped gently through everyMinetta Review ever published. Within the inaugural 1974 issue, we stumbled upon our creation story and an answer to the question, “What the fuck is a minetta?” Now, if we were face-to-face, you might ask, “But, Josh. Don’t you suppose a Google search might have done the trick?” Um.

Not since the 2009 Dinosaur edition had the Review given its readership a themed issue, but our prose editor Diana suggested that a theme should come of the rediscovery. And now, this assemblage of writing and artwork is sent forth under an ambitious banner: (re)awakening. This issue marks the spirit of exhuming the Minetta corpus and brings some New York City history back to life. You’ll find Greenwich Village archival pieces, an essay that recounts the awakening of sexual discourse, another that tackles the awakening of social media, a collection of illustrations that bring us to the moments before bedtime, and excerpts that herald the opening of our submissions inbox to playwrights. We didn’t require all contributors to submit according to the theme, but I’m sure that, with enough stretching, all the content exhibits a hint of the appropriate subtext.

As are most other Minetta issues, what you hold in your hands is an intermingling of New York University students and those situated beyond the hipster bubble. It is a selection of both seasoned artists and tomorrow’s writers. I pray that somewhere in these pages lies enough verve to ignite within you a quiet brightness. In defiance of continual grogginess, here’s to breathing anew and—whether by emotional endurance, by setting your alarm, by hopping on one foot, or by the propulsion system of your superhero outfit—to facing all the gravity that Fortune puts before us. Regain consciousness, stretch a bit, and come out into the atmosphere.

The Fall 2012 issue is accessible through the free Issuu service: click here to flip through the magazine!

If it turns out Minetta is your kind of magazine, you should know that the submissions inbox for the Spring 2013 issue is now open! While we are a student-run publication at New York University, we consider writing and artwork from all over the country, and we have even published international submissions in the past. If you are a poet, proser, prose-poet, playwright, painter, sculptor, photographer, digital illustrator—otherwise an experimenter of combining word and visual art—we encourage you to submit your creations for consideration into the Review. Check out the submissions guidelines!

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