In August 2013, Atticus Books published Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine, a compilation of the continued history and conversations of the people who love new and interesting literature so much they spend their lives dedicated to sharing it with the world. As an ongoing effort to spread the word, it is only right for us to introduce you to the literary magazines that most impress Atticus staff, authors, and associates.
Allow Atticus novelist Eric D. Goodman the guilt-free pleasure of leading you to publications that have turned him into a better writer and a voracious reader and to hopefully, carry on the conversation.
Lit Mags: Beyond Academia
My first introduction to “literary magazines” came in high school. I spent a couple formative years in Sasebo, Japan, and discovered an annual literary magazine comprised of works from students across the Far East. After becoming involved with that journal, I moved to Virginia Beach where I became involved (as an editor and contributor) with my high school literary magazine. Then in college, I became aware of the larger world of lit magazines beyond academia.
Although I still have this nostalgic pull toward printed books and journals, some of the literary journals I enjoy most these days are online. Here are a few of them.
The Baltimore Review holds a special place in my heart, in part because it was the first non-academic, print literary journal to publish my fiction. The Baltimore Review began as a print journal in 1996, and when I began reading it in around 2004, it remained so. The journal was reborn as a quarterly online magazine last year.
JMWW is a quarterly online journal that publishes, fiction, flash, nonfiction, poetry, reviews, and art. It has also published print anthologies of online works. In addition to all that, the current issue features interviews with bestselling and award-winning authors like Jessica Anya Blau, Michael Kimball, and Marion Winik. Wow.
The Potomac is an online journal of poetry and politics that also publishes reviews and “quicktions,” or short works of fiction. The latest issue includes reviews of recent works by Nathan Leslie and Salman Rushdie, along with lots of poetry, prose, and politics to get readers thinking.
Lest you think all my lit mag interests rest in the Baltimore, Maryland region, Syndic Literary Journal is published twice a year out of San Francisco. LeRoy Chatfield founded Syndic in 1958 before there was any such thing as “online” publications, and he revived it fifty years later as an online journal with stories you can listen to or read.
Slow Trains is an online literary journal that celebrates great writing and offers fiction, essays, and poetry reflecting adventure and exploration. They also include a regular section on baseball. Slow Trains has been recommended by The Best American Short Stories and E2Ink-1. And now, me.
Coming back home, there’s Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore for those who enjoy edgy zines. Carried by bookstores like City Lights in San Francisco and Atomic Books in Baltimore, it is to zines what The Wire was to television.
And Scribble Magazine is another literary zine that publishes great fiction and poetry from across the country and around the world. It has a strong following in Maryland and sometimes works with the Maryland Writers’ Association.
So many lit mags, so little time.