I love reading magazines like The Kenyon Review, Dogwood, The Indiana Review, and other well established literary journals just as much as any lit journal aficionado does. Magazines like that are well established for a reason: they have a proven track record of printing some of the best literary fiction, non fiction, and poetry our reading eyes ever have the opportunity to skim over. But, I also like branching out and trying new things. I’ve discovered several up and coming lit journals over the last few months that just keep me coming back for more and are well on their way to establishing themselves as magazine giants. These three magazines are some of my recent favorites. Enjoy!
Better Magazine—I stumbled across Better Magazine’s website when a friend I follow on Twitter shared a link to a poem by Janelle Adsit titled “Turn This Map Into Sky,” published in Issue #3, which you can read here. This is hands down my favorite poem of the year so far that I’ve had the pleasure to read. Better is a an online quarterly that publishes some of the most creative and experimental writing available on the web. They’re only a year old but they are quickly establishing themselves as a premier journal with some of the finest work I have ever seen.
elsewhere— Having only released their second issue in March of 2014, elsewhere is already making a scene in the lit journal community. They offer a unique publishing schedule releasing a new issue online every two months that features three poets and three fiction writers. So far (though we’re only two issues in to what appears to be a promising run) elsewhere tends to focus on flash fiction and prose poetry–all of which will either leave you breathless or force you to read and re-read the work again. One of my favorite flash pieces that they’ve published so far is Steve Almond’s “Courtroom Drama,” which you can read here. I partly enjoyed the piece because it takes place in the Southeast, given I have roots there, and I enjoyed the rest of Almond’s writing because of all the emotion he managed to convey in five short paragraphs. His writing is exceptional.
Mojave River Review–Mojave River Press & Review has already released two books so far in 2014: Leesa Cross-Smith’s short story collection “Every Kiss a War,” and Daniel Romo’s prose poetry collection “When Kerosene is Involved.” Both writer’s are exceptionally talented and big reason why Mojave River Review is so hot right now. But, the ambitious editors didn’t stop there. Mojave released the first issue of their ejournal in February 2014 with work that lit up the web with over 5,000 reader views for the inaugural issue. These folks know what they’re doing. Some of my favorite pieces from the debut issue (and boy was it hard to narrow it down to two) include Diana Lockward’s “How I Dumped You,” and Angela Cardinal Bartlett’s “The Big A.” You can read these fine works and others in the 200+ page debut issue here. I can’t wait to see what Mojave River Review has planned for the summer issue.
If you’ve got some free time this weekend and don’t currently have a book to stuff your nose into I highly recommend getting your creative writing fix from the previously mentioned magazines. You won’t be disappointed and you’ll be hooked for life. As readers, I think it’s important not to limit ourselves to only reading books. Read magazines, journals, note cards, the backs of cereal boxes, etc. and expand your horizons. You never know where some awe-inspiring, life changing poem or short story is waiting for you, so you have to go and find it.