Introducing Insight

Our op-ed department, reimagined.

As the executive editors began planning The Offing, we made a conscious choice to feature exclusively creative as opposed to critical work. There are so many stellar venues online for literary and cultural criticism — our mothership The Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, The Millions, Racialicious, NPR’s Code Switch, Bitch, Dame, to name a very, very few of our favorites — that we decided to focus on poetry, fiction, personal essays, creative and experimental prose.

But as the weeks passed, issues arose in the world around us, from a high-profile editorial about “The Great American Novel” that failed to interrogate the genre’s erasure of race, gender, and sexual orientation, to the increasingly visible state-sanctioned violence against and murder of Black citizens by police officers. And gradually it became clear that, from the intersections at which The Offing had located itself, it would necessary for us to address these issues, and offer a platform for others to address them.

For this purpose, we created the Insight department, which we conceived as a place for occasional op-eds, public responses to public events that related to the magazine’s aesthetic, political, and ideological concerns. And so we debut the department as a space to initiate conversations as well as join them, to speak up as well as to clap back.

As often as we can, we’ll publish a “proactive” essay  — something like the one we’re publishing today — that broadly addresses a particular issue. And when the occasion calls for it, we’ll publish a “reactive” essay, one that responds directly to an event, article, or creative work (literature, art, film, television). In each case, we will invite responses from readers, and will publish those responses in a Letters to the Editor format.

If you have an idea for a proactive Insight essay, please submit a piece, or a proposal, to our Submittable account’s Insight category. If you have an idea for a reactive Insight essay, or a response to anything in the Insight department, please contact us via Twitter or send an email to [email protected], and include the words “Insight Essay Submission” or “Letter to the Insight Editors.”

We look forward to hearing your voices — and to sharing, centering, amplifying them.

To the work,

The Offing Editors