We’re back with a new list for Wisconsin! Follow us back to our editor-in-chief’s home state for another round up of Badger litmags you should be sending your work to!
If you’ve read the stunning Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler, you know there’s something about a biting Wisconsin winter that gets down in an artist’s soul. A deity’s too, if American Gods by Neil Gaiman is any guide. The point is, there’s more than cheese in the Badger State. In fact, it’s home to some sterling literary magazines, both young and old. So, bundle up for another stop on our litmag road trip!
In case you didn’t know (and really who did?) Milwaukee is known as “The Cream City” thanks to a locally made, yellow colored brick popular for building back in the day. Since 1975, this energetic magazine has been operating in its namesake city, currently in association with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Published twice a year, they are particularly drawn to form bending pieces, so long as the experimentation is purposeful. Above all, they prize tightly written and vivid pieces of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art.
Published by The Black Earth Institute, About Place seeks to strengthen the links between art and the environment. They curate a robust reading series to further their goal of forging an inclusive, free-thinking community. The journal is published in May and October with corresponding reading periods in winter and summer. They seek poetry, fiction, and audio/visual work, usually with a specific theme related to place and current concerns. The most recent one was “A Place for Peace.”
This student run journal from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been showcasing the best in contemporary writing for nearly fifty years. The rotating masthead ensures no two issues of the biannual publication are quite alike, though they all share a commitment to incisive, thought-provoking fiction, poetry, and art. An online edition is released in the fall and a print edition in the spring, with an annual contest for poetry and fiction running from Nov.-Jan.
Just over ten years old, this independent journal makes its home on the shores of Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, WI—“The Malibu of the Midwest”. They’ve recently transitioned to an all-digital format for their biannual publication. Their quirky, off-beat aesthetic might best be summed up by a title from the most recent issue, “You’ll Never Believe What This Woman Did in a Bagel Shop” by Celeste Hamilton Dennis. If your fiction, poetry, or graphic art is likewise unbelievable, this might be the journal for you.
Dedicated to women’s stories, HerStry has published feisty and insightful writing since 2015. They believe everyone has a story worth sharing and that it’s time for all women-identifying persons to bring their voices to center stage. They accept personal essays on any topic, while offering themed categories during the last week of every month. Mainly, they are interested in pieces that feel genuine and vital.
This venerable magazine is produced by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Since the mid-sixties, they’ve presented a broad range of writing intended for a “discerning public.” Whether traditional or experimental, they prize voice driven work in fiction, and commanding use of imagery and form in poetry. They also accept artwork and nonfiction essays for their biannual print publication.
Here’s another journal from the literary minded University of Wisconsin system, this one at Green Bay. With a bright, fresh, one might say spunky vibe, Sheepshead prefers the concise, the bold, and the human. Producing two vivid digital issues a year, they are open to fiction, flash, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art on various schedules.
Abraxas (currently on hiatus but still worth a read)
Named for an ancient gnostic Supreme Being (not the Santana album), Abraxas is one of Wisconsin’s oldest literary journals. Founded in 1968, it has long been a purveyor of the best contemporary poetry from both established and emerging writers. They have a particular eye for language and lyricism, and have also given great attention to poetry in translation.
by B.B. Garin