As this seemingly endless year finally comes to a close, I realized that among the many things I will recall about this year, one unexpected positive of 2020 was that I rediscovered literary journals. They beckoned to me, drawing my attention away from the news and giving my mind something to contemplate other than the despair that accompanied this year. So in the last couple days of the year, I want to highlight some more new journals that came into existence during the past few months. I hope this post helps you find some interesting reading material for this holiday weekend, and maybe inspires you to send your work to one of these new journals.
Tunafish Journal just published its first issue this month. Their focus is on publishing light-hearted positive work, and they also include videos of some of their authors reading their works to increase accessibility. One thing I like about this journal is that they announce their themes well in advance of opening for submissions, so if you wanted to write something that matched the theme to submit to them, you could do so even if you aren’t someone who writes super quickly. They accept poetry, flash fiction, and flash nonfiction. From their first issue, which had the theme Celebration, I particularly enjoyed the flash fiction “I’ll Turn a Cartwheel For You” by Leah Holbrook Satchett, which is about the rituals of a summer barbecue. I also liked Linda McCullen’s retelling of Cinderella, “Stella,” which had a nice twist at the end of it. The poem “Happy Hour Luau at the Nursing Home” by Lynn Finger made me smile and remember when I used to volunteer at a senior home when I was in high school. There is also a video of the author reading it here. Finally, I also enjoyed the poem, “I’m Pretty Much an Expert at Showers, Except When I Fell and Got Three Stitches” by Matthew Miller which showcases the joys of boyhood innocence. They are currently taking submissions for their issue on Endings until the end of December, after which they will be looking for submissions for their issue on Growth.
The Aurora Journal is another new journal that published its first issue this winter. They are interested in surrealist work in particular. They publish both prose and poetry, although the current issue seems skewed more towards verse. Two poems I enjoyed from their current issue are “The Guns Are Hungry” by Joseph C.P. Christopher and “History” by Sophie Chiang, who is also the editor of the journal. One unique feature of this journal is that they have an inspiration page where they post inspirational imagery and words to jumpstart your writing process.
Five South’s name comes from the 5 highway (I cringed a little bit as a wrote “the” in front of the highway name, but since they are referring to the Southern California portion of the highway, it seems apt to say it in a Southern California fashion). They publish poetry, short stories, and flash fiction, and from reading their first issue, it seems like they value everyday realistic stories as well as stories with some speculative elements. I enjoyed the short story, “I didn’t know what to say, so I said thanks” by David Joseph, a classic short story about a high school kid who is longing to be cool. Another short story that gripped by attention was “Mountain Rats” by E.G. Rand, about mutant sewer rats poised to take over Los Angeles. I also liked the flash fiction, “Universal Days” by Jeanne Julian, which if I had not known any better, I would have guessed was non-fiction, since it describes the very believable and funny experiences of a retiree who works at Universal Studios in Florida. One poem I enjoyed was “Undiagnosis” by Jacob Nantz, which I found to be rich with detail and emotion. Five South currently has free submissions until January 7. They also are running the Ray Bradbury short story challenge in January, which is an event in which they challenge writers to write a short story every day for four weeks.
Lastly, I appreciated Biological Creatures’ minimalist set up, which I think allowed me to more fully appreciate the writing in their first issue. One poem I connected with, probably because I’m a teacher, was “an open letter for back to school night” by MEH. I also was entranced by “Eels (Never Apologize” by Joanna Vogel. While they don’t publish any explicit submissions guidelines, they accept both poetry and flash fiction, and they will open again for submissions on January 28.