Hop in, as we head back to New York to explore the rest of the state outside the city! New York State has a long history of excellent literary institutions—and these magazines are a big part of why!
The state of New York has been publishing the nation’s finest short literature since at least 1850, with the foundation of Harper’s—but even outside the City, literary magazines are still thriving.
Vestal Review lauds itself as being the “longest-running flash fiction magazine on the planet.” They’ve been publishing fiction up to 500 words since 2000, and have featured stories from writers like Steve Almond, Aimee Bender, Stuart Dybek (all former TMR judges, by the way), along with Robert Olen Butler, Pamela Painter, and basically anyone you might associate with great flash fiction. Contributors are paid $50 for their work, and they are open for your submissions again beginning in February.
With its first issue published in 1998, Fence has been kicking for 25 years this year—and its mission remains the same: publishing innovative literature that seeks to “interrogate, collaborate with, and bedevil all the systems that bring new writing to light.” You’ll find scans of the table of contents and editor’s note from their very first issue (check out Rick Moody with a story there on pg. 22), which is a neat little window into the past. Fence is open for submissions of poetry, fiction, and “other,” so if your work straddles borders or might be too eclectic for anywhere else, check out Fence.
EPOCH has been publishing regularly since 1947 — housed at Cornell University, it is managed by the school’s faculty and MFA program and is a source of funding for their first-year MFA students. The current issues features new fiction from TMR contributor Carla Diaz (read “Mercy” here!). EPOCH is only open to electronic submissions in August and January, but is open for snail mail submissions between September and February (if anyone out there is still mailing their submissions). The journal is open for poetry, fiction, essays, comics and visual art, so there’s a home for all of your creative work here.
A newer journal among the long-standing literary institutions in New York is Pine Hills Review. Established in 2014 by The College of Saint Rose’s MFA program, Pine Hills Review publishes “artful, honest and compelling work from new and established writers.” The journal publishes its work online and is open for submissions of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art from September through April, and they are especially interested in hybrid or experimental works.
Nearly not making this list, Conjunctions was saved from being shuttered by its host institution, Bard College, after an outpouring of support from its readers last spring, just one day after EiC Bradford Morrow posted a good-bye letter on its site. Conjunctions is entering its 42nd year of publication in 2023, and continues to publish and celebrate excellence in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and the in-between, both in print and online. Submissions are open year round for mailed submissions, but only twice a year online through Submittable.
by Cole Meyer