Literary MagNet

by Travis Kurowski

News and Trends

Posted 7.1.13

July/August 2013

The best introduction to any given city or community may be found in its literary magazines, and the biannual Windy City–based MAKE: A Chicago Literary Magazine (makemag.com) is about as place-specific as publishing gets. Taking its name from the 12,000-word lyric essay on the city—Nelson Algren’s Chicago: City on the Make, published in 1951—MAKE was founded in 2004 by Ramsin Canon, Sarah Dodson, and Mike Zapata in order to create, Canon says, the most “Chicago-y” publication possible. Although the content isn’t always about Chicago, the city’s influence looms. “The Chicago theme or Chicago style is whatever the people who live and work and write here make it,” says Canon. Issue 14 is themed “Visual Culture,” and features art portfolios from John Sparagana and Jennifer Sullivan, fiction from Mexican author Daniela Tarazona Velutini, and a collaborative call-and-response piece from fiction writer Kyle Beachy and comic artist Anders Nilsen. MAKE considers poetry, fiction, and essay submissions year-round through its online submission manager.

Some magazines—like the bicoastal quarterly Tin House (www.tinhouse.com)—tell a tale of two cities. Published by Win McCormack since 1999 from offices in Portland, Oregon, and Brooklyn, New York, Tin House reflects the politically and aesthetically charged atmospheres of both locales. The Fall 2012 “Portland/Brooklyn” issue demonstrates this explicitly, with essays by Jon Raymond on Occupy Portland and Salma Abdelnour on Brooklyn’s Arabic food culture. This year’s annual Summer Reading Issue includes new fiction from Stephen King; Kevin Barry’s (London) Sunday Times award-winning story, “Beer Trip to Llandudno”; a craft essay by Robert Boswell; and interviews with Margaret Atwood and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Essay, interview, and flash fiction queries for the Tin House blog can be submitted by e-mail; poetry, fiction, and essay submissions for the print magazine are considered year-round via Submittable and by mail. 

Founded in 2000 and published twice yearly by the Department of Medicine at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, Bellevue Literary Review (blr.med.nyu.edu) is based in New York City’s Bellevue Hospital—the oldest public hospital in the country—and publishes works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry “that touch upon relationships to the human body, illness, health, and healing.” The Spring 2013 issue is BLR’s first publication since the hospital was closed due to damage from Hurricane Sandy—the first such closure in the building’s 276-year history. The new issue features accounts of the disaster by NYU physicians, along with work by the 2013 Bellevue Literary Review Prize winners and an essay about art and the body by Megan Kimble. The forthcoming Fall 2013 issue will explore the theme of multiculturalism. The magazine is newly available on the iPhone and iPad through LitRagger, a free app that allows readers to browse and subscribe to a variety of literary magazines on mobile devices. BLR considers poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction submissions from September 1 to June 30 annually through its online submission manager. 

According to its charter of 1650, Harvard University is “devoted [to] the advancement of all good literature, arts, and sciences,” and the Harvard Review (hcl.harvard.edu/harvardreview) reflects a similar mission. Established in 1986 as a small campus newsletter dedicated to Harvard College Library’s Woodberry Poetry Room, the biannual magazine has since grown into one of the most intellectually rigorous literary periodicals on the newsstand, each issue representing the multidisciplinary nature of the Harvard campus. Issue 43 features an Arctic theme, including an essay by author Anne Fadiman on “The World’s Most Southerly Periodical”—explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s South Polar Times; planetary scientist and Harvard fellow Sarah Stewart Johnson’s reflections on O-rings, written while conducting research in Antarctica; and photographs from the Ziegler Polar Expedition of 1903 to 1905. The newly updated website features a classics column by poet and translator J. Kates, selections from the Harvard Review archives, and the newly launched Harvard Book Review. The Harvard Review considers poetry, fiction, and essay submissions from September 1 through May 31 online through the submission manager Tell It Slant or by mail. 

Travis Kurowski is the editor of Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine, forthcoming in August from Atticus Books. His website is traviskurowski.com. 

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