literary journals Archive

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Centrifugal Force” by Jodi Angel

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People want to believe that Mark Twain once said, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt,” though there’s zero evidence to back up his authorship. While others have claimed to know the quote’s true origin, most likely it’s one of those anonymous aphorisms passed down through the years. But

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Lunar Facts” by Michele Finn Johnson

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Human beings are nothing if not list makers. Grocery lists. Chore lists. Listings of jobs, scores, events. Lists are a way in which we bring order to a chaotic world. The same could be said of stories, which is why lists can make such great story structures. Michele Finn

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Shifts” by Dan Reiter

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Aldous Huxley once wrote, “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” In Dan Reiter’s “Shifts” (WhiskeyPaper), we’re introduced to a character in conflict over how to accurately perceive a series of strange events, as shown through the narrator’s language

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Rain” by Ben Loory

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In her essay, “Fairy Tale is Form, Form is Fairy Tale,” (from The Writer’s Notebook, Tin House Books) Kate Bernheimer discusses how the psychological flatness of characters in tales and fables “allows depth of response in the reader.” In Ben Loory’s “Rain” (Journal of Compressed Creative Arts), we’re given

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Dead Mouse” by Caroline Macon

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Poet William Carlos Williams famously wrote, “Say it, no ideas but in things,” which speaks how objects have remarkable ability to bear and express ideas that otherwise might feel one dimensional, or altogether without shape or meaning. Caroline Macon, in her story, “Dead Mouse” ([PANK] 10.3), employs what the

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Persons of Interest” by D.J. Thielke

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“If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed,” wrote Sylvia Plath. Human beings can’t help but have expectations of each other and of themselves, even if those expectations are for nothing (which, of course, they never are). In D.J. Thielke’s “Persons of Interest” (Crazyhorse 87), the expectations characters

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “Cafe con Leche” by Joanna Lynne Ponce

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There are as many names for the sun as there are languages; it might be tempting to believe that each of those names, then, means the same thing. Joanna Lynne Ponce’s story “Café con Leche” (Clackamas Literary Review XIX) exposes how critical language can be in giving definition to

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Radical” by Brock Clarke

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A few weeks ago I wrote about the risky ending of Mary Helen Specht’s “Night Island,” and how her switching perspectives at the end turned a potentially good story into a great one. In “The Radical” (The Cincinnati Review 11.2), author Brock Clarke also take his story to another

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “This Place of Great Peril” by Mel Bosworth

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When we meet the main character of Mel Bosworth’s “This Place of Great Peril” (Hayden’s Ferry Review Fall/Winter 2014), he’s just beginning to suffer from acute oxygen deprivation, or as editor Dana Diehl puts it, the author “drops us on top of the 84th tallest mountain in the world,

Round-Down: A Look at the Crowded Literary Journal Landscape

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We all know someone who thinks it. We’ve all heard it, somewhere, before: There are too many literary magazines on the Internet and in the world. The argument goes something like this: No one reads those small journals anyway. They’re all the same; they all publish the same kind