Let’s Talk about Literary Magazines

20 Feb

Hanging out at home on this lovely Sunday night (quiet as a usual Sunday, and with a day off tomorrow– what could be better?), I’ve decided to work my way through my daunting backlog of literary magazines. I subscribe to a few, and I’ve also got an assortment of samples from magazines and journals where I’ve submitted my own work. Here are a few of my favorites.

Granta magazine is wonderful. It’s a mix of fiction, nonfiction, and photography. As its website says, the Granta staff has “a belief in the power and urgency of the story, both in fiction and non-fiction, and the story’s supreme ability to describe, illuminate and make real.” Their issues are themed– much like Syllable’s evenings– and my favorites lately have been “Horror,” “Going Back,” and “Sex.” Granta also has the added bonus of being beautifully printed and bound, and feels like a good, hefty book. And for serious word nerds, I will point out that the fonts used are gorgeous.

I also am a subscriber to Creative Nonfiction. CNF (as they call themselves for short) is a meeting place for all kinds of ruminations on the genre. There are essays, of course, but also timelines of the history of nonfiction, advice on craft, and lots of other goodies for nonfiction nerds. It used to be more of a journal, but the new magazine format seems to be working out well for them. CNF also themes its issues, and is currently on “Anger & Revenge.” I like their tagline: “True stories, well told.”

Other magazines in my stack are Gulf Coast, a Public Space, the Paris Review, and the ubiquitous New Yorker. Each one attempts to have its own voice and literary point of view, and I believe they succeed. I used to subscribe to the Believer, but I let it lapse– perhaps I’ll re-subscribe, though, because this month they’ve got a Joan Didion interview. And I have some Tin Houses lying around somewhere, read to death.

Over time, I’ve learned that I prefer literary magazines and journals that present a variety of genres, with a strong point of view. Other than that I’ll pretty much read anything. The problem is, there’s just so much great stuff out there to sink your teeth into. The stacks climb higher and the days get shorter.

That’s it. I’m getting off the computer. I have some stories to read.

Any magazines or journals you adore that you’d care to share in our comments section?

— Syllable



One Response to “Let’s Talk about Literary Magazines”

  1. Becky February 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    A great list! You’re definitely starting with some terrific journals here. You might be interested in some of our reviews and interviews with these editors. Check them out at http://www.TheReviewReview.net.

    And good luck with your literary endeavors!

    Editor, The Review Review

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