by Sam Levenberg, Staff Writer
Sadly, my knowledge about literary magazines is very limited. While I have a few that I can definitely say I enjoy more than others, whether or not they are credited as being “good” almost always eludes me. So, I did a little Google search about the top ranked magazines and found this little article on www.everywritersresource.com, titled “Top 50 Literary Magazines.” Pretty convenient, no?
Anywho, I tell you a little about the top five magazines they listed. (A little side note: I excluded the number 2 ranked mag because it is a college publication, and I want to tell you about the commercial ones instead)
- The New Yorker – This is the most well-known literary magazine out there. I mean, if you haven’t heard of The New Yorker, you have to have been living in a cave since the 1920s. From its trademark comics (the caption on the one posted is “Makes you proud to be an American, doesn’t it?”) to the articles on everything from art to politics, to its in-depth literary reviews, I don’t think I need to say much more about this one.
- The Atlantic – As with The New Yorker, this is one magazine that is very well established. While it lacks as many defining characteristics as The New Yorker, The Atlantic makes up for it by having a highly diverse article base that makes it transcend being a simple literary magazine, and has made it a valuable critical source.
- Harper’s Magazine – Coming directly from their website’s “About” section: “Harper’s Magazine, the oldest general-interest monthly in America, explores the issues that drive our national conversation, through long-form narrative journalism and essays, and such celebrated features as the iconic Harper’s Index. With its emphasis on fine writing and original thought Harper’s provides readers with a unique perspective on politics, society, the environment, and culture.” I wish I could say it better, but I can’t. Take a look-see through their website and archives, and you’ll understand why.
- Tin House – Compared to the other magazines on this list, Tin House is a baby, barely a toddler. Having been founded in 1999 it is just over a decade old, but has proven that even though it is small, it is formidable. If you are looking for good art coupled with interesting articles about the state of the world, take a look at some of the older magazines. If you are looking for good art plain and simple pick up a copy of Tin House.
- The Paris Review – Despite being ranked sixth on the list provided by Every Writer’s Resource, it should be noted that The Paris Review is the only mag on this list which is from overseas. The other four are all based out of somewhere on the continental United States. That in and of itself should be enough to show how good of a magazine it is. But it’s when you take a look inside an edition of The Paris Review that you truly understand how significant this is. From its wide range of poetry, to its beautifully written literary reviews, to its presentation of only the best established and up-and-coming writers in the business, The Paris Review doesn’t need to prove that it is one of the best—it simply is.
So that’s everything. If you have some spare time, you should pick up a copy of any of these magazines. Not only will it (hopefully) brighten up your day, but it will most likely expand your mind.
With more affection than I may seem to be showing,
P.S. – If you want to take a look at the full list of “Top 50 Literary Magazines” here is the link: http://www.everywritersresource.com/topliterarymagazines.html