5 Literary Magazines for 2015

5 Literary Magazines for 2015

by Kristin George Bagdanov January 20, 2015

If you’ve resolved to read more, be better, or explore something new this year, then you’re in luck. Just like last year, I have another clutch of literary journals to recommend for your reading pleasure (other than Ruminate, of course). If you missed last year’s post, you can check that out here and add those journals to this year’s list. In no particular order: 

Fugue  First of all, what’s not to love about this name? The musical (think: Bach) and psychiatric definitions (“a fugue state”) of this word offer a window into the deep, exploratory, and sonically invigorating writing offered by this journal, which is based out of University of Idaho. Though it offers a variety of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, this journal is slim enough (around 100 pages on average) to read over the course of a weekend, which is good news if you’re like me and have a stack of literary journals waiting to be read. The editor’s notes are also thoughtful and demonstrate that the editor-in-chief, Eric Greenwell, has thought through the issue as a whole with care and insight. Of Fall 2014’s issue, Greenwell meditated on the theme of apocalypse:

What I love most about this issue is each writer’s willingness to linger in the moments after the apocalypse, after the Hero returns home from the fight, defeated and living with him or herself and the knowledge of a place far better than this meatcase of a gravity-prone, frictionful body. And the reseeking of that place.

Pleiades  Based out of University of Central Missouri is Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing. This journal holds true to its name as it not only publishes but also promotes contemporary voices and writing of all kinds. One thing that distinguishes Pleiades from the rest is that about half of each issue is devoted to a series of micro book reviews. It’s impossible to stay up with all of the incredible books that come out each year, and these 1-2 page reviews help the discerning reader whittle down which books seem worth their time.   Also, this: (An excerpt from Allison Benis White’s poem in their recent issue, 35.1)


Dear world, I want now what I have always wanted: scissors and someone to write to.

Matches and someone to write to.

I mean the bowl I’m carrying is broken and filled with feathers.

Whatever God is, something gentle inside something ruined in the mind

—from Please Bury Me in This


Mid-American Review  How could you not love a magazine that has a series called “Pets with MAR”—basically a blog devoted to pets posing with (“reading”) the most recent issue of Mid-American Review. We at Ruminate love our AIR (animal in residence) Dolores, so this impulse makes total sense to us.  But on top of that, I really admire MAR’s dedication to translations. Most journals will occasionally have one or two translated poems, but the most recent issue of MAR devotes over 20 of their 200 pages (10%!) to an outstanding translation of Luis García Montero’s chapbook, To Be Left Without City. Below, a translated excerpt from section II: “It’s true: The city that made us unmakes us and in the debris it builds us up again”


Tupelo QuarterlyI have always admired the books published by Tupelo Press, but I have to admit: I was a bit skeptical when I learned last year that they would be starting a quarterly online literary journal. Shouldn’t they just stick to what they do best? I thought. Well, apparently they can do several things best, and the first five issues of TQ provide clear evidence of this fact. Here’s an excerpt from JoAnna Novak’s prize-winning story, “Laps,” from issue 2 (read the rest online):

The pool was a rectangle, bordered in white and green hexagonal tiles. Hairline cracks veined the bottom. The pool meant depth. It was Deep End. Gutters. The presence of moisture: things got wet, dried off, got wet again. The pool was still until she dipped in a hand. The water was grace. Ablution. She knew the sound of waves thrashing in the ocean or the roaring stream of the tap could bring great minds to focus, but for her, looking was enough. Her mind a stone sunk to the bottom of a glass.


BOAAT This new (founded in May 2014) literary journal is already making a big splash. First of all, Shane McCrae is their Managing Poetry Editor, which bodes well for the quality of their poetry since McCrae’s own work is beyond incredible (if you haven’t read Mule you are really missing out). So yes, their poetry section is outstanding (read C. Dylan Bassett’s poem “Against Creation” in the most recent issue), but I also love the personality of this journal, which is especially conveyed through Matthew Burnside’s interview series. In his latest interview with poet Candice Wuhele, he asks:

If I were to say every poem is a haunting, would you agree or disagree with that?

She answers:

Every successful poem is a haunting, but some poems just die.

They also publish chapbooks and photography prints, which you can check out here.   So, that's your assignment for 2015, should you choose to accept it. Did any of you take my advice for 2014? And if so, what did you think of my recommendations?

Kristin George Bagdanov
Kristin George Bagdanov


Kristin George Bagdanov earned her MFA in poetry from Colorado State University and is currently a PhD student in English Literature at U.C. Davis, where she studies 20th century and contemporary ecopoetics. Her poems have recently appeared in Ninth Letter, Denver Quarterly, Cincinnati Review, The Laurel Review, Mid-American Review, and other journals. Her manuscript, "Fossils in the Making," was a finalist in the 2017 National Poetry Series. She is the poetry editor of Ruminate Magazine. Follow her on Twitter at @KristinGeorgeB.

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