There are lots of magazines out there. Ones you might be more familiar with are the ones you can buy at the grocery store check-out aisle—Elle, Vogue, People, Cooking Light. You know, that stuff. But most of these magazines publish work that is along the lines of journalism, or occasionally creative non fiction (CNF) and criticism (reviews). Magazines you might not be as familiar with are literary journals. You probably won’t find these at the grocery store. You might, but it’s probably just The New Yorker. The Paris Review if you’re at some schmancy place. These are some of the oldest and most celebrated literary magazines in the world, and they publish creative nonfiction, criticism, fiction, poetry, and other in-between-y type pieces. But they’re just drops in the ocean of the lit mag establishment.
So what is a literary journal?
Let’s go back a bit. Literary journals — or literary magazines — have been around for quite a while. The first literary magazine on record was a French periodical called Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres, established in 1684. Of course, we’ve done a lot since then. The oldest literary magazine in the United States is the North American Review (formerly The Monthly Anthology), which began publication in 1803 (though the Yale Review, begun in 1819, is the oldest literary magazine with continuous publication, as NAR suspended publication during WWII). And the oldest magazine dedicated to poetry is thought to be Poet Lore, which began publication in 1899.
History! So much of it. We could be here all day — the old establishment of literary magazines in the US, Canada, UK, and around the world is vast and long. So let’s move on and see what else there is to know about literary journals.~ read more ~