During my blogging hiatus, I took a writing class through The Loft in Minneapolis, MN. It was a really great experience, one I highly recommend to anyone living in and around the Twin Cities. During one class my teacher mentioned how non-fiction and short fiction were starting to gain momentum, and expanding their formats to include some literary freedoms previously reserved for poetry. As an example, she mentioned the short non-fiction journal called Brevity. Intrigued, I did some googling and spent a good deal of my off-blogging-time reading and/or subscribing to literary journals. This entry is dedicated to three of my favorites.
Brevity describes itself as “a journal of concise literary nonfiction”, publishing works of 750 words or fewer. The best parts about Brevity? First and foremost, you can read current and past issues online for free! Secondly, Brevity focuses on publishing new writers; I love that! And last but not least, the short format is awesome in and of itself; the narratives are boiled down to their essentials and each sentence has power and meaning. It’s a terrific format. In fact, the magazine has become so popular that they are suspending submissions between May 2011 and September 2011 to give their poor staff a break. My favorite essay so far, White Guy by Steven Barthelme, is a mere three sentences long, but I laugh every time I read it.
Glimmer Train was founded by two sisters, who read and hand select each piece for their magazine. Many of their short stories come from sponsored monthly competitions. And like Brevity, Glimmer Train also focuses on publishing works from emerging and new authors. I subscribed to this magazine ($36 for 4 issues) after seeing an issue in my library, and I have not been disappointed. In fact, my renewal is coming up in a few months and I may re-subscribe for the next two or three years. Not only are there eight to twelve short stories per issue (enough stories to skip around based on your mood, or breeze over any that don’t suit your tastes), but each edition is gorgeous! Beautiful cover art, matching bookmarks with quotes from the featured works and author signatures, and childhood photographs of the authors. It’s a very homey publication. And just look at how lovely the editions are:
I am very proud to support this publication and encourage you to check it out. You can buy single issues online (though they sell out quickly), or subscribe for one to three years. Glimmer Train also has a related newsletter called Writer’s Ask where accomplished writers or teachers talk about writing techniques and offer advice to other writers.
One Story is a literary magazine featuring just that, one story. It’s really quite a clever format, as it allows the reader to really focus on the short story. Each edition has three parts: the short story, the author’s biography, and a Q&A with the author interview that focuses on the writing process for the published work. I absolutely love it! And I would imagine that it is perfect for commuters. Perhaps my favorite thing about One Story is that they never publish the same author twice–each edition introduces you to a new author. One Story is published every three weeks, and at $21 for 18 issues, it is a bargain! Not only that but for $1.49 a month, Kindle users can have it delivered wirelessly to their device; this is how I receive my subscription. And let me tell you, I am always so excited to see a new edition pop up in my Kindle, that I (usually) read it immediately upon delivery. After all, as the website says “there is always time to read one story”.
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So often we only focus on novels or published anthologies centered on one theme or year. In fact, I’m sure there are many readers out there who aren’t even aware that literary magazines exist, aside from The New Yorker. Having only recently discovered these magazines myself, I feel proud to support these smaller publishing efforts. I highly recommend checking out these or other literary magazines, especially for voracious readers. There is enough material to keep you entertained until the arrival of the subsequent editions. Plus these literary magazines are like tiny little treasure boxes and an absolute joy to read.