In searching for new ways to expand my reading through new writers and genres, I found literary magazines.
Literature magazines are perfect for curating a love for different styles, topics, and ideas. I’d never picked up a lit magazine until some time last year when I was looking for something to read in an airport. I didn’t want a book for my quick flight, but also didn’t want to read through a trashy celebrity gossip magazine (although those can be fun). I saw The Paris Review and fell in love.
From there my interest in the genre of magazines took off. Here is a run-down of some of my favorites I’ve explored so far.
The Paris Review // quarterly $20
The Paris Review was founded in 1953 and is seen as one of the best literary magazines out there. I am obsessed with this magazine. Every season I eagerly await until I can go to the bookstore and grab the latest copy.
Over the years, the Paris Review sheds light on important issues and extremely talented writers. I love the interviews most. They make me feel like I’m in the room right there. My favorite interview was with the queen herself, Joan Didion. The Paris Review will remain one of the staples on my bookshelf.
From the last issue: https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/7423/lewis-lapham-the-art-of-editing-no-4-lewis-lapham
Tin House // no longer in print $15
Sadly I discovered Tin House on the tail-end of its life. After 20 years in publication, they said their goodbyes. The publisher, Win McCormack said, “I wanted to create a literary magazine for the many passionate readers who are not necessarily literary academics or publishing professionals.”
Tin House offers exactly that. This magazine is filled with fiction, non-fiction, poems, and interviews. My favorite aspect of Tin House is that while they showcase well-known authors, they give the opportunity to the unknown to readers. I’ve discovered so many talented writers through this magazine.
From the last issue: https://tinhouse.com/fuck-90s-nostalgia/
Poetry Foundation // monthly $3
This lil treat is known as the Poetry Foundation. They also publish a magazine, but this is a small collection released every month. The Poetry Foundation is an independent literary organization that is, “committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture.” This publication gave me the opportunity to read a great variety of poems and really expand my knowledge of poetry. I highly recommend this to anyone who is trying to dip their feet into poetry.
From the last issue: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/150389/perfect-orange
Zyzzyva // quarterly $15
To be completely honest, I’ve only read one issue of this magazine. What I have read from them, is quite good. Zyzzyva is based out of San Francisco, so very trendy. But really, they offer not only great writing, but gorgeous art too. From the website, “Every issue is a vibrant mix of established talents and new voices, providing an elegantly curated overview of contemporary arts and letters with a distinctly San Francisco perspective.” They introduced the US to Haruki Murakami (pretty cool). I can’t wait to get my hands on another issue of this magazine.
Ploughshares // quarterly $14
This magazine has been around since 1971. Ploughshares is based at Emerson College in downtown Boston. Each issue is guest edited, which I find to be pretty unique. This lit magazine is another great variety of fiction and non-fiction works.
I hope this little review of literary magazines can encourage you to go out and pick up a copy. They really are great for when you want a variety and are trying to discover some new writers.
Keep in mind, I don’t buy every single issue of these literary magazines, because 1. I don’t have enough $$. 2. I don’t have enough time to read all of these (which makes me sad). But when I can, I love to support these institutions because they ultimately support writers and their works.
Magazines I’d like to read in the future:
The Kenyon Review