We’re making a quick pitstop in New Jersey this month to visit the outstanding literary journals the state has to offer. Pack your bags!
In our New Jersey, GTL stands not for gym-tan-laundry but for Get That Literature! (Look, it’s not my best….it’s been a long year). The Garden State is a great place for literature to grow—okay, also not great. Stop reading this intro already and check out these lit mags from the small-but-great state of New Jersey!
This biannual online publication is an independent lit mag founded by three pals who went through an MFA together (oh, the bonding!) and also offer editorial services. Fun plot twist: their annual contest reads poetry, nonfiction, and fiction submissions together, but selects whichever one best interprets that year’s theme.
This is a fun one for those of you whose writing leans sci-fi or otherwise weird-er: micropress Bards & Sages publishes a plethora of “unique speculative fiction titles,” including but not limited to Zombie Anthologies and a Society of Misfit Stories. Their technically-a-lit-mag publication, Bards & Sages Quarterly, showcases new and established fiction in a digital edition. Pro tip: this is a great resource for lots of stories we read and love, but don’t quite fit at The Masters Review.
Nassau Lit is Princeton University’s literary magazine. Its claim to fame as the second oldest literary magazine in the nation (second to Yale Review or North American Review, depending on whether you count publishing hiatuses or not) is impressive in its own right, and they host a regional literary conference that’s worth paying an actual visit to in PoCo (Post-COVID) years. Bonus: currently posting music recs and occasional calls for surprise microfiction contests on their Facebook page!
It’s not often you see a poetry journal that also publishes fiction—so feast your eyes on Paterson Literary Review and take it all in. It doesn’t hurt that their print editions are those lovely, thick, substantial volumes that make real readers drool. Connected to The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College and edited by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, this review is a cornerstone of both local literary efforts and the global poetry scene. Fun quirks: snail mail submissions only, and only flash memoir invited in the nonfiction category!
SQ actually became a New Jersey lit mag in 2008, when it was acquired by Rutgers University at Camden and moved from its previous life as an independent Illinois publication. Their vast network of writer connections lands some big names for writing contests (Garth Greenwell!) so bookmark their page for when they release their 2021 submission calendar.
Oh yeah, they got the name. Published out of Farleigh Dickinson University, they publish poetry and prose and regularly share work from other publications on their TLR Share page, building solidarity in the literary community and getting even more eyes on good work. Like many university publications, they are currently closed to submissions due to COVID-19 impacts—so take a leaf out of their book and find your own way to subscribe, share, and keep building solidarity as we move forward together as a literary world into 2021.
by Melissa Hinshaw