BY LISA MARIE BASILE
Great writing will always be the most important element for any journal, but being pretty also doesn't hurt. The below publishers have taken time to build an aesthetic world for their contributors and readers, making the read a much more meaningful and whole experience. Whether minimalist or colorfully elaborate, these sites are gorgeously bespoke, thoughtful and filled with talent.
From the publisher: "We love the fundamental business of being humanesque. Issues of identity, culture, belonging or lack, vulnerability, collectivism, the body, ritual–anthropological subjects from a generalist’s view, or, cultural moments from a messy, personal perspective. Tightly snuggled with visuals for each feature, we publish in collected issues and individual articles: ethnography & essays, experiential narratives, fiction & poetry, visuals, conceptual work, and genre-bending, from voices in the literary field, the humanities, and the sciences."
We recommend reading: Aura Girl, by Shannon Elizabeth Hardwick
From the publisher: "Paperbag is interested in presenting larger bodies of visual art, poetry, sound, experiment, and collaboration from established and emerging writers and artists throughout the world."
We recommend reading: Everything Will Be Taken Away, by Morgan Parker
From the publisher: "If our bodies are oppressed by an outside force, we are "written over." Rogue Agent wants to retaliate. Rogue Agent wants reconciliation. Rogue Agent wants to share your stories about the poem that is the body. "
We recommend reading: Blow Her Up, by Juliet Cook
From the publisher: "As with Tarpaulin Sky’s books, the magazine focuses on cross-genre / trans-genre / hybrid forms as well as innovative poetry and prose. The journal is not allied with any one style or school or network of writers; rather, we try to avoid some of the defects associated with dipping too often into the same literary gene pool, and the diversity of our contributors is evidence of our eclectic interests."
From the publisher: "Pith is an online journal that collects experimental bits. We define “experimental” as something akin to a deep breath of uncertainty; an inclination to remain lost when certainty is calling. Visual/written hybrids, multi-genre writing, erasures….that sort of thing."
We recommend reading: Deus Ex Machina/Rachel, by Jennifer Pilch
BAT CITY REVIEW
From the publisher: "Founded in 2004, Bat City Review is an annual literary journal run by graduate students at the University of Texas at Austin, supported by the English Department and the James A. Michener Center for Writers. We read thousands of submissions each year and publish only the best in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and visual art. "
We recommend reading: Afterwards, the boys stand in the kitchen, by Francine J. Harris
From the publisher: "We are looking for creative work, but only good creative work. Give us God, give us man, give us people & make us laugh. If you can make us cry, do so, if you want to lament loss of pets & family, do not. We enjoy pleasant nonsense & the deeply profound, the sharp little crack of things we don’t speak of in polite company. We want to feel, & we want to want, & we don’t want Cheap Trick jokes inserted here, unless they are awesome. We are strict & unbiased; aesthetic & craft are Queen; we want to read a good piece as much as our readers, so write one before submitting."
We recommend reading: Illness as Matador, by Michael Klein
THE BOILER JOURNAL
From the publisher: "The Boiler began in 2011 by a group of writers at Sarah Lawrence College. We publish poetry, fiction, and nonfiction on a quarterly basis. We like work that turns up the heat, whistles, and stands up to pressure."
We recommend reading: Poems by Sarah Ann Winn
PRICK OF THE SPINDLE
From the publisher: "We publish poetry, fiction (from flash to novella-length), drama, creative and academic nonfiction, articles, interviews, literary reviews, film, and visual art. Although we do not publish genre fiction, we are open to different forms. These may be more traditional, but infused with freshness and innovation; or experimental but not chaotic: if it is chaos in complete freedom of form you are aiming at, envelop it within some structure, even if only the structure of meaning. To submit, visit the submission guidelines page for the link to the submission manager."
From the publisher: "The Lana Turner Blog is edited by David Lau. Currently seeking essays or reviews of recent books of poetry, albums, literary criticism, films, film theory, and accounts of contemporary political economy. Accepting proposals for various kinds of journalistic reports. Electronic submission should be sent in one file to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions welcome all year."
We recommend reading: 3 poems from Trilce, by Cesar Vallejo
* Bonus points for publishing Vallejo
From the publisher: "Berfrois is a literary-intellectual online magazine. It is edited by Russell Bennetts. The site is updated daily. Berfrois is published by Pendant Publishing in London, UK."
We recommend reading: Doohickey: Vertigo's Elusive Homage, by B. Alexandra Szerlip
From the publisher: "Sporklet (est’d. 2015) is published quasi-monthly, features poetry & fiction, and occasionally includes solicited art, music, film…"
We recommend reading: Seven poems, by Alyssa Morhardt-Goldstein
From the publisher: "La Vague publishes eight female poets and eight works by a female artist under a set theme twice a year in January and July. La Vague intends to show the close relationship between poetry and visual art and how certain themes resonate among the contributors."