Pack your things, we’re headed back west! Join us on the trip to New Mexico to explore the sights and sounds of the literary journals that make their home in the desert.
“Ah, the Land of Enchantment.” Just saying it makes you feel wise, otherworldly, and ethereal. This is the place for all things spicy (Hatch green chile!), weird (any other Meow Wolf fans out there?), and mysterious (the Taos hum)—doesn’t that alone sound like a recipe for great stories and confessions? You can almost feel the whisper in your ear from here. Well sunscreen up and simmer down, because we’ve got a lot of good high desert ground to cover today:
You’ve got to explain it to appreciate it: “sky island” is the term for the type of mountaintop that’s home to a whole hidden biome—think pine trees and bears—totally isolated from the tops of other mountains scattered around the desert. Sky Island’s goal is to send brief messages of that rich, lush life to whichever other sky islands might hear, listen, and call back. It’s about as lovely a metaphor as the work they publish. Fall 2020 submissions close on September 30th, so you’ve got about a month to submit. Keep it short, like a shooting star across the desert sky (under 1,000 words for fiction and nonfiction).
Santa Fe Literary Review
Santa Fe Community College’s lit mag is committed to empowering voices usually ignored or silenced in the media. In the same vein of inclusion, their 2020 theme is “Tapestry: Diversity, Culture, and Common Ground.” Magic carpets, golden thread, museum mysteries, fashion scandals, dirty things happening on living room rugs, families and communities weaving together or totally unraveling—what are we gonna write about, people? Figure it out and submit fiction, nonfiction, and drama or screenplay by November 1, snail mail only.
Puerto del Sol
Run by students at New Mexico State University’s MFA program, this title translates literally to “door of the sun” but is understood by at least this reader to refer to the path of light this lit mag opens into the world. We’re particularly loving their Black Voices blog series and their convicting, refreshing decision to cease publications this past June in solidarity with the BLM movement. Regular submissions run August through April.
Blue Mesa Review
We’d call it New Mexico’s “flagship” literary mag if it were anywhere near water, but we’re going to have to think of it as a dominant rock formation instead. A large mesa, perhaps? Tinted blue in the crepuscular dusk of the many writerly souls whose words have graced the pages in years before? All romance aside, this lit mag hails from the University of New Mexico and features a rotating student staff, meaning: keep submitting because you never know what each year’s crop of editors might fancy. Summer contest submissions just closed, but general submissions open October 1st—stick both on your calendar for this year and next.
A Room of Her Own
If you’re like us, you’ve definitely heard of this publication—or is it a press? Or a fellowship? A female-ish nonprofit? Or just a Virginia Woolfe title-quote?—but had no idea it was based out of New Mexico. Turns out it’s actually all that and so much more. AROHO publishes books, puts on summer camps, gives out fellowships, calls for action, and overall totally shifts the landscape for women through literature and art. To celebrate 20 years of AROHO-ing, they’re actively collecting submissions for a special edition called the WAVES Anthology. The submissions come in the shape of Submittable/Google Forms and are a must-submit act of solidarity and self-reflection for any female-identifying writers and artists out there.
This lit mag of Eastern New Mexico University keeps it simple: they have a “soft spot” for stuff about the American West, but remain wide open to anything that piques their interest. What we hear is: what does “west” mean to you? Riff on that and submit flash fiction, fiction, and creative nonfiction anytime via email.
Manzano Mountain Review
Founded with the goal of building literary culture in New Mexico outside the “typical centers,” this new-on-the-scene lit mag is well on its way to succeeding. In these trying times, we’re drawn to the bright yellow—just open their home page and stare at it, seriously—and the general feeling of hope for writing that doesn’t mind the mess of trying. If you miss their September 15 submission deadline, bookmark or like them on Facebook/Twitter and aim for the next one in February.
by Melissa Hinshaw