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
Dear people who cross the digital expanse and pray their submitted work gets in,
You are the champions of the literary world. If you do not view yourself as “equal to” or “greater” than the literary magazines you support, then you are looking at this culture all wrong. What is a magazine without its submitters? What does it really mean to submit?
Let’s look at the definitions of “submitting” for a moment:
v. sub·mit·ted, sub·mit·ting, sub·mits
1. To yield or surrender (oneself) to the will or authority of another.
2. To subject to a condition or process.
3. To commit (something) to the consideration or judgment of another.
4. To offer as a proposition or contention: I submit that the terms are entirely unreasonable.
(Courtesy of http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Submitters)
If applied to writers, the first definition imagines the submitter as a small kingdom who yields to an empire greater than itself. So, by this definition, writers are lesser than and must abandon themselves and their values for what they perceive as the greater good. Of course, by obeying the empire, these writers can bring glory and fame to their name.
That’s a disgusting perspective to have, but we’ll continue.
The second definition is more appropriate, though it seems to waylay the emotional ability writers have and need to submit their work. It is not just a “condition” or “process.” This definition forgets that it’s a love for the work. It’s a respect for the work. Therefore, it’s a love, respect, and need for the writer.
As the fourth definition doesn’t seem truly applicable, the third definition ascends to be our best bet. Writers committing (prose or poetry or artwork or photography) to the consideration or judgment of a magazine. Consideration seems to have a more positive connotation than judgment. Yet, while this is the most salient definition of “submitting” for the writer to bear in mind, the question for all writers to consider is “Does this magazine have the authority to judge my work?”
I will be the first to say that literary magazines do not and should not carry the pomp they brag of. The word “magazine” comes from the French word magasin, which translates to “storehouse.” Does the word translate to “publication that reaps the benefits of its contributors and is more important than them”? No.
Moreover, a storehouse must be filled with goods to function. Without the goods, there would be no storehouse. However, without a storehouse, the goods cannot be distributed. Nonetheless, I believe the ones who share their goods with the world are the better people at the end of the day.
Do I contradict myself by posting a shameless advertisement of Yorick as the picture in this post? No. It’s my job to shamelessly advertise my magazine. It’s a storehouse for crying out loud. How else are Greek citizens going to know to come here for their oil and fleece skeins?
I’ve talked with several individuals in the immediate literary community who are committed to caring for submitters. Jeremiah Walton, of Nostrovia fame, is continuously working to create projects like The Traveling Poet so that writers have more opportunities to be heard. Brittany Wright and Richard Barnhardt at The Gap-Toothed Madness have created a newsletter for their submitters and contributors detailing new ways to submit work. It’s magazines like these that appreciate the writer.
So, submitters: you are not the worthless creatures you believe yourselves to be. You are not the mercenaries who struggle to make a living by providing service to an emperor. You are the artifacts that the acolytes struggle to collect. Some artifacts are undiscovered, some are found and made public.
Whether admitting it or not, the acolyte, a wretch in torn cloth, dreams only of finding the best.
Dear Storywriters, Storyhearers, and Pythonians,
The Summer 2013 reading session is over. To those who submitted, wonderful work so far. We’re still evaluating your pieces and will come to a decision. To those who didn’t submit, shame, forsakenness, misdeed upon your household! Or your wifi. Whichever affects you more.
You can always submit to our fine little literary magazine at email@example.com. If you missed the deadline for the Summer 2013 issue, why not submit for the Fall 2013 issue?
Do it. This is a warranted challenge. So is the following:
As we run from attack dogs and march in tune, we realize that submitting work is a tough process. It’s equitable to raising children and sending them off into the world to get jobs—except your children can get rejected and you have to revise them to make them perfect.
Sounds pretty dystopian to me.
But it’s what writers do. All storytellers need to strive to find their medium. We don’t all have the honor of telling our tales to a tribe by the fireside in the desert. We don’t all have enthusiastic grandchildren who honor us with their ears. What we do have is the Internet.
The first magazine I successfully submitted to, Postcard Shorts, is a sweet affair with remote flash fictions that take your mind away for a few minutes, roughly. It’s an enjoyable publication and a reminder of why we write. Escape. A chance to travel to a new world, one not too far away but not so subtly in an inaccessible dimension.
That’s a lie. We submit to become famous. You want to be in an echelon where strangers will glorify your work and your friends will say, “Wow, I grew up with that chick, and now she’s a famous novelist/ short story writer/ poet? I really suck.” However, you can always relieve non-writer friends by reminding them that your pay affords the pens and paper you write with.
So escape and fame. What else? Here’s a thought: we’re all writing to concoct the same dream with different pieces, chemicals, people. A complete story, with a beginning, middle, and end (unless you’re one of those absurdist-surrealist compatriots, and to you I say write on). Detective solves a mystery. Lovers solve the mystery of love. Gloomy poets solve the mystery of isolation with more isolation. It’s completeness we seek; passengers on the same boat, towards the same lonely island, we take up different cabins believing we’re original.
Can you submit before the vicious dog reaches the fence in three seconds?
Yes. Absolutely yes.
Remember that even though our songs sound different, they follow the same tune. Go buy yourself some caviar, you peasant. You’ve earned it.
Dear North Koreans, South Koreans, and other Balkanized Citizens of the World,
Yorick Magazine is winding up its first harvest of the year for its Spring 2013 issue, which will be due in some time in late March or early April. We’ve gotten dozens of lovely pieces from writers and poets from around the world. If you like to submit writing to magazines, now is your chance to add your story into the frothy broth of our submission soup.
Deadline for submissions is March 18th, 2013.
We take poetry and short story submissions. We also take novel excerpts. We also take clown memoirs, disco aftermaths, parade streamers, Hawaiian treaties, and constitutions from legitimate countries (and not those threatening to blow us the hell up!)(Even though we’d do the same to you, you scary world).
If you have an eye for aesthetics, or even if you don’t, please feel inspired to submit photography. The moments you capture will be released within the confines of Yorick, so if they’re incredibly dangerous, do not worry. We do have the technology for such fine work. If it’s revolutionary, we will make grilled cheeses for the partisan warriors of the resistance.
You should submit art, too. Yorick beckons for original artwork, as the menaces of the image scribe tend to delegate wonderful nuances in image councils, who bear good will to the image world. Did you detect the metaphor their? The image metaphor? No? Yes?
Are you quibbling? Don’t! You’re doing us a favor by providing our phantasmagorical magazine with your poetry, art, photography, and short story submissions, along with the other fancies that you hide in your trunk of work. We are looking for tales in words and images (aha!), stories within walls, people in places we never thought they could roam. It’s a challenging proposition, but we mean it. We want your best, and we’ll accept your best.
Fair warning: if Kim Jong-Un submits his poetry to us, we will accept it bar-none. Sorry folks.
Remember, March 18th! March 18th! Submit everything! All of it!
– Alex, Editor-in-Chief
We’re pleased and slightly sad to say that our call for submissions is over. We received some great works from budding artists, and we’re so excited to begin our reviewing process. Expect the final product within a week or two! Thank you all who believed in Yorick Magazine from the start—and those who are starting to believe now.
Dear Readers, Writers, and Fish Entrepreneurs,
The deadline for our Fall issue is approaching! Just in case Internet Trawlers don’t know who we are, or what we aim to do, here’s a little spam to fry in the pan:
Yorick Magazine is now accepting submissions for its Fall 2012 issue. The deadline is August 1st.
We’re a magazine for new writers, emerging artists, innocent dreamers. We’re interested in something fresh, with design and art at hand, but with sincere intentions at the forefront.
We accept short stories and novel excerpts of 3500 words or less, and we accept poems of a comparable length. We are also interested in artwork and photography (please submit pictures with high resolution).
We don’t care about genres. Just write. If your piece happens to take place in space, then make it so.
All submissions go to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re pretty quick with our response time, but if you haven’t heard back from us or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send another email.
Yes, we have the full social media gamut covered.
And in case denizens of the future question how we started, I’ll lightly mention that our magazine came into fruition from drunken ramblings on a dirty bathroom floor at 3:32am, November 11th, 2011. That’s how the best ideas begin.
photo credit: Brianna Ford