Literary MagNet

by
Travis Kurowski
12.15.15

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an anthology is “a collection of the flowers of verse, i.e. small choice poems, esp. epigrams, by various authors.” In other words, it’s where we collect beautiful things—whether it take the form of the Norton anthologies, the Best American series, or even literary magazines. One such example is John Freeman’s new semiannual, aptly titled Freeman’s (groveatlantic.com), a literary magazine/anthology hybrid that debuted this past October from Grove Atlantic. The first issue of Freeman’s reads like great paperback lit mags of the past, such as New American Review and New World Writing—finely selected, exciting new writing in a highly readable format. The issue includes pieces from heavyweights like Haruki Murakami and Lydia Davis, along with work from new author Fatin Abbas. “We’re kind of thinking that we’re inventing a new form—the journalogy? the anthournal?” Grove Atlantic president and publisher Morgan Entrekin said in the Washington Post. The second issue of Freeman’s, which focuses on the theme of family and is due out in June, includes poetry, fiction, and essays from Aminatta Forna, Claire Messud, and Tracy K. Smith. According to Freeman, submissions to the journal will open soon.

If Freeman’s is a journalogy, one might call the literary annual Verse (versemag.blogspot.com) a chapthology. The journal, which was established in 1984 and is currently housed at the University of Richmond in Virginia, has been publishing issues comprising chapbook-length portfolios of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, translation, and criticism since 2009. “It’s like publishing a bunch of chapbooks, but in journal form,” says coeditor Brian Henry. The 2016 issue is a doorstop at four hundred fifty pages, and includes such curiosities as a forty-five-page excerpt of a poem by Natalie Eilbert, a series of prose poems by Eric Pankey, and two short stories by Aleah Sterman Goldin. Verse accepts general submissions in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and translation via Submittable; submissions will open this month.

Since 2012 the Portland, Oregon–based Masters Review (mastersreview.com) has published an annual anthology of short stories by new and emerging writers each October. Edited by Kevin Brockmeier, the latest issue, Volume Four, includes fiction from Courtney Bird, Adam Gardner, and Christina Milletti. Founding editor Kim Winternheimer describes the publication’s mission: “We try to expose our writers not only to readers, but to the editors, agents, and publishers that can help grow their careers.” To that end, the Masters Review will host two short story awards for new writers this year, with submissions open from May 15 to July 15 and November 15 to January 15, 2017; the first-place winners will each receive publication, cash prizes, and a review of their work by a participating literary agent. The Masters Review also publishes original fiction and nonfiction online; submissions are accepted year-round via Submittable. General submissions for the print anthology are open from January 15 to March 31; writers who have not published a novel with a major publisher are eligible. “There is always a free way to submit,” says Winternheimer, “and we always pay for our fiction.”

Since 2013, Boston-based triannual Ploughshares (pshares.org) has also included an annual anthology in its print lineup. Omnibus beautifully repackages long-form stories and essays from the journal’s digital-first Solos series in print format. The latest issue of Omnibus, Volume Three, was published in October and includes work from Anne Elliott, Kevin A. González, and Alix Ohlin. In her introduction to the current offering, Ploughshares editor in chief Ladette Randolph writes, “It will pay to read these stories with a dose of doubt about their narrators and the intentions of their authors. These are stories that reward rereading.” The new Winter 2015/2016 issue of Ploughshares, meanwhile, includes poetry by Julie Sheehan and William Logan, and fiction from Mang Jin. Solos submissions and general journal submissions in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction are open through January 15. The journal’s Emerging Writers Contest—which gives three awards annually to a poet, a fiction writer, and a nonfiction writer—opens March 1.

Travis Kurowski is the editor of Paper Dreams: Writers and Editors on the American Literary Magazine (Atticus Books, 2013). His website is traviskurowski.com.