Loving Lit Mags: Laura van den Berg and G.C. Waldrep

In August, we publish Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine, a collective 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. But before we make history, it is only polite to introduce you to the literary magazines that most impress us — Atticus staff, authors, and associates.

Allow us the guilt-free pleasure of leading you to publications that have turned us into better writers and voracious readers and to hopefully, carry on the conversation.


In a world where online magazines seem to pop up everyday, it’s hard to remember the days when lit mags were only read in print and couldn’t be found or submitted to online. Literary magazines can have value in both their accessibility and their niche sensibility.

These two contributors to Paper Dreams, G.C. Waldrep, editor of both The Kenyon Review and West Branch, and award-winning short story writer Laura van den Berg, have chosen to share one journal with the aura of a secret and another that is primed and willing to show all.



You’re going to find a lack of direct links in this recommendation. In one form or another, Hambone has published culture revealing poetry since 1974, and has been called “the most important magazine of innovative poetry in the country to operate without a Web presence” in Andrew Joron’s post at the Poetry Foundation.  Interested in getting your hands on a copy? You can find several issues of Hambone for sale at SPD here.
G.C.: For those of us who care about innovative writing in English, I think one of the very best journals being published today is Nathaniel Mackey‘s Hambone.  It’s not as widely known as New American Writing, Denver Quarterly, Chicago Review, et al., probably because it doesn’t have a web presence.  It’s a bit of a secret, like Talisman used to be (before it migrated wholly to the web).  But it’s one of the very few journals I drop everything to read, when it arrives like a ghost in the mail.

A Public Space

This online/print magazine was born in 2006 with the goal to “Give voice to the twenty-first century.” It publishes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and translated creative works and is currently edited by writer Elizabeth Gaffney. Their website advertises what they find to be “Good Books”, only helping their goal of introducing a new generation of readers to their counterparts in the new generation of writers.
Laura: I would like to recommend A Public Space, a magazine I have long-admired for their beautiful design and the evocative, interesting work I’ve found in its pages.

 Post Contributors

Laura van den Berg’s stories have or will soon appear in One Story, Conjunctions, American Short Fiction, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008, Best New American Voices 2010, and The Pushcart Prize XXIV. Her debut collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, 2009), was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, longlisted for The Story Prize, and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Award. She is also the author of the chapbook There Will Be No More Good Nights Without Good Nights (Origami Zoo Press, 2012). She lives in Baltimore.

G. C. Waldrep’s most recent books are Your Father on the Train of Ghosts (BOA Editions, 2011), a collaboration with John Gallaher, and The Arcadia Project:  North American Postmodern Pastoral (Ahsahta, 2012), co-edited with Joshua Corey. He teaches at Bucknell University, edits the journal West Branch, and serves as Editor-at-Large for The Kenyon Review.

*Find more recommendations for fantastic literary magazines here.

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