Regarding Poetry: Part 1 – Best Independent Magazines

by Sam Levenberg, Staff Writer

Genuine Eskimo Pie

Genuine Eskimo Pie, by Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose

Hello out there!

While looking on the World Wide Web and in a bunch of bookstores (both big and small) for interesting literary magazines, I realized that it was a daunting task. Considering that Duotrope, a service for writers and magazines alike, hosts over four thousand magazines, anthologies, and contests of its own, I could only assume that there were thousands of different independent publications in existence, of which I needed to choose only a few.

I want to note the two precedents I set for myself to help narrow down this range to only a few publications. I didn’t pay much attention to undergraduate student-run magazines (especially those that only publish student work) or niche publications (e.g. a review of food poetry) because I wanted to consider those magazines with broader audiences and contributors as well as more diverse tastes.

And so, in no particular order, these are five literary magazines which I really liked and why I liked them:

  • 32 Poems: I liked this magazine because of its premise – all their poetry is 32 lines or shorter. This singular restriction makes it so that you don’t get bogged down reading the journal. It was refreshing, to say the least, and I particularly loved the way that a lot of the authors creatively found ways to tell an entire story in such a short amount of lines.
  • vox poetica: More than their actual publications, which I think I should probably have read a few more of, this magazine’s defining strength is in its website. In their mission statement, this publisher says they are interested in, “…art that pushes, or rather forcefully shoves, the boundaries.” and their website strives for this hand and foot. One of the favorite sections on their site is the “Prompts” page, where the editors post some form of prompt and ask viewers to write a poem based off it. It was a definitely a treat reading what people came up with.
  • Eskimo Pie: Ohhhh kay, the first thing I liked about this magazine, before I even got into its pages, was its name. I mean, I personally love Eskimo Pies as much as I love Mallomars, so the name itself made me think of those. With a focus on all kinds of poetry, but with an abundance of haikus, this magazine was definitely and interesting read. The haikus especially made me happy for the same reason that 32 Poems’ works made me happy – it was interesting to see what people did with such a small amount of space.
  • The 22 Magazine: The greatest thing about this magazine is that every edition has exactly 22 authors, no more no less. That’s what I loved about it. By confining themselves to such a specific number of authors this publication gives great focus on the work of said authors. Some of the pieces are really lighthearted and fun, some are dark and reflective, and some are indescribable. But all of it is unique, and all of it was enjoyable to read.
  • Circus Book: This one I have to say I am a little more biased about because I did some work for them a little while back, so I got to know the editors and what the kind of work they put out. What I ended up liking so much about the Circus Book was that I could spend hours reading and looking through the archives on their website because they have works of fiction, non-fiction, all kinds of poetry and a plethora (yes, plethora) of artwork, almost all of which is interesting.

Please, dear readers, keep in mind that this is my opinion and is therefore heavily biased. If you know of other magazines that you feel are better than the ones I listed, feel free to tell me about them so I can check them out, because there is a very good chance they are better than the ones I listed.

With great amounts of fondness,

Sam Levenberg
Yorick Magazine

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Posted on July 9, 2013, in Cool Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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