Trying to describe The Sun using conventional terms and definitions really won't work, because it defies what one would normally expect from a magazine. When I go looking for a magazine, I expect to find a lot of articles that are informative about something in particular, and generally follow a theme. In some senses, The Sun follows these guidelines, however, in so many more ways it just defies them completely.
The big difference between The Sun and your conventional magazine is that this one doesn't dedicate itself to one form of expression. The typical issue will contain many different forms of expression, from straight out prose, to an interview, to a piece of poetry, to some pieces of beautiful photography. I must give some massive amounts of credit to the editor's of The Sun because they are able to take pieces of different forms and bring them together quite well to form a hauntingly beautiful magazine.
The pieces of the Magazine
However, though there are so many different things in each issue, there are a few constant things. One of these is the interview at the beginning of every issue (which is perhaps my favorite part of the magazine). This interview is usually with someone who expresses ideas and ideals which are very different from mainstream culture. For instance, the interview this month is with former Attorney General Ramsey Clark (Attorney General under President Johnson) who now represents "unpopular" clients in the name of social justice. Some of his more recent clients have been the Branch Dividians in Waco and Leonard Peltier. For someone who was once part of the government, he expresses views on our foreign policy that are just a bit different from what your average American thinks/believes. Likewise, last month's interview was with Martin Prechtel, an exiled Shaman from a Central American village (he grew up in Arizona).
Another section that you are going to find in every issue is the Reader's Write section where, as the name suggests, the readers of the magazine submit pieces that they had written that were based upon a theme. The editors then go through the submissions and pick the best ones and publish them in the magazine. The ability of some of the writers in this section is amazing, and I find it hard to believe that they are not professional writers.
A bevy of literary booty...
The rest of the magazine could be considered "filler" if you so chose to use that word. However, the problem is that these parts are so strong that you really can't consider them filler. There are pieces of poetry by various poets, there are usually sections of photography showcased as well. You will invariably find much entertainment interspersed among the various articles and pieces of prose, you honestly never know what you are going to come across on the next page (well, unless you actually look at the table of contents, but that would just be too easy now wouldn't it).
This magazine is just filled with literary and artistic bits of greatness. Every page is filled with something that you want to spend some time reading and digesting. One thing I'll warn you of is that this is not a magazine to be taken lightly... to want to read a few little snippets that highlight what is going on and then think you'll be able to move on. You are going to be giving time to it in two senses. First, you will give it by reading the articles themselves, and then you will give it time when the thoughts are coursing through your brain and you can't stop them.
Lastly, I will leave you with a couple bold disclaimers. This magazine is very artistic, so if you're one of those that wants to push anything artistic out of your life, then this is not the magazine for you. Also, this magazine if very literary, so if you're not going to be appreciating things for the literary merit that they have, then you probably won't be interested in this magazine. Finally, the views of this magazine tend to fall on the liberal side of things. In some circles, it would be known as a "hippy rag" or something to that effect. However, even the most staunch opponent of the views expressed would have to be impressed with the amount of work that goes into each issue.
Finally... if I haven't said it before or enough, this magazine is beautiful. Not only in the fact that I like it alot, but in the fact that it is presented wonderfully and aesthetically. From the moment that you look at it to the point where you put it down, you will have a hard time disagreeing with the fact that it is beautiful.
Primary Reason for Buying: Articles
Accepts Freelance Submissions: Yes
Recommended For: Anyone
Every slim, noncommercial issue of The Sun arrives quietly cloaked in an understated mostly black and white cover, ready to inspire and often move the reader in ways no other publication can.
The Sun addresses, through essays, poems, photographs and letters, issues that although universal in basis inspire controversy and often anger. In the past year the writings have touched on euthanasia, miscarriage, pollution and dark futurism, and mental illness, to name a few. Often the material can be troubling, and sometimes cathartic. On more than one occasion I have found the writings contained here have helped me sort out my own feelings on an issue or event.
My favorite section, "Readers Write", showcases the work of readers who in dense, often haunting prose will share personal experiences, sometimes funny, often raw and wrenching. These little gems can contain O. Henry-esque twists. Frequently they contain searing personal revelations. Some upcoming themes include "Cheating", "The Bathroom" and "Staying Awake."
Each issue concludes with "Sunbeams," flavorful nuggets gleaned from the writings of others. One example: "Many who have spent a lifetime in love can tell you less of love than the child whose dog died yesterday." (Thornton Wilder)
In keeping with its non-commercial tone, The Sun contains no distracting advertising.
I recommend this publication to writers, would-be writers, thinkers and dreamers, and especially to those with wide open minds. The Sun challenges its readers, and often offends, which is inevitable when taking risks.
The Sun is the best literary magazine I have ever seen. The authors change with each issue, other than the editor's contributions, but the quality stays the same: Great!
There's a good mix of long and short works, and b & w photography, and my favorite part of the magazine is called Readers Write. They choose a subject for each issue (several months ahead of time) and all sorts of people send in their short pieces written with that topic in mind. They publish a good number of these, and it's always really engaging, fascinating, and human stuff. The Sun is one of the only magazines I've consistently read from cover to cover, every time.
The Sun is like a dear friend who comes to visit once a month. Make a pot of tea, sit down in a comfortable chair with a good reading light, stay there for the next few hours while you read it cover to cover. You might want to have a tissue or two handy: in almost every issue there is something that moves me to tears. (This month's Readers Write section on Apologies, for instance.) You might have a hankering to write an impassioned letter to the editor, arguing with the latest interview with some activist or teacher, or take a stab at your own Readers Write piece. (The upcoming subjects are listed several months in advance.)
There is nothing like The Sun. It's not for everybody. It may not be for you. It's certainly left of center politically. It's often dark - many have accused it of sometimes having a sad or depressing tone. And sometimes it does. But life is sometimes dark. The Sun isn't afraid to look at all of life: darkness and light, peace and violence, birth and death, the spirit and the flesh. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, interviews, memoirs and essays, beautiful black and white photography, and not one single word of advertising. I've been a subscriber for the past fifteen years. I hope to keep renewing my subscription for another fifteen, and beyond.
I was introduced to this magazine several years ago by a like-minded poetry-writing friend, and have had a subscription ever since. There is a variety of different types of literature and topics, and every contribution is of the highest quality. I've never read a magazine "cover-to-cover" but I read each of my issues of The Sun this way, and do not skip a word. It's the best magazine you can buy!
No advertisements, only substance, wit, humor, sorrow, and humanity. Every month, the Sun is the most fulfilling, down-to-earth thing I read.
This magazine is wounderful. It is quality embodied. Consistantly excellent writing about interesting things. The excellence of this magazine is in it's words. Graphically it is unremarkable. Black and white art type photos. No fancy graphic elements.
I was introduced to The Sun through one of my old college professors. I took the magazine home and devoured every word from cover to cover. I then odered a subscription to the magazine, and have enjoyed and looked forward to each and every issue for the past two years. I enjoy reading the "readers write" section first and then the rest of the magazine. The magazine has served as a introduction to other authors that I have sought outside of the perameters of the magazine itself. If you enjoy reading thought provoking interviews in addition to well written short stories, then you should take a look at this magazine,it would well be worth the effort.
Sy Safransky's literary magazine is a monthly source of interesting fiction, poetry, photography, essays, memoirs and true stories, including a featured monthly interview. In black and white, with no advertisements (save in-house promotions), two years ago I would have given The Sun five stars, certainly, when I first subscribed and for years afterwards. I anxiously awaited each month's copy, which I read from cover to cover. The quality of writing is superior, the subjects topical and relevant and Safransky's devotion to this endeavor admirable. However, over the last two years I haven't been able to sustain the same level of interest, a fact which may have more to do with my reading preferences than the magazine. After eight years, I am sensing a lack of innovation in the stories. But for anyone who has not yet discovered The Sun, this format is refreshing, the concerns of the common man and an interest in our society and the world a breath of fresh air.
Another very popular feature is "Reader's Write", each month introducing a different topic, where readers are encouraged to send in their personal stories. Often this feature is the most provocative segment of the magazine, slices of everyday life without literary pretensions. Most, but not all, issues have a page of Safransky's personal notes, insights into the thinking of the man behind the scenes and a page of "Sunbeams", quotes relevant to each issue, also submitted by readers. Although the magazine is sometimes criticized in Letters to the Editor for its preoccupation with problems in the modern world, this is one of the few venues where readers and writers have such freedom of expression, the commonality of difficulties often a bridge to understanding. Beset on all sides by intrusive advertising, disguised agendas and the pandering to self-indulgence, The Sun's conscientious participation in society, fostering more fulfilling lives, is a forum that should be enthusiastically supported. Luan Gaines/ 2005.