Read Harder

Read Harder Task #15: Read a New-to-You Literary Magazine (Print or Digital)

I am drawn to literary magazines for the range of writing styles they typically showcase. As a poet, I tend to move toward the prosaic, writing that interrogates, is sometimes playful, and that often blurs rigid genre lines. While I like to think that I read widely across the literary landscape, when it comes to magazines, as I take an inventory of what is stacked on my nightstand right now, most of what I currently subscribe to are publications where I have either submitted or been published (and thus received the requisite annual subscription).

So basically, much of what I read is in the style of how I write. At the moment, this stack includes the latest issues of the better known Ploughshares, a journal published by Emerson College, and American Poets Magazine, of which I am a member, alongside smaller publications, such as Ruminate Magazine, a beautiful contemplative magazine where one of my first poems found a home, and Fourteen Hills, the West Coast centered literary magazine out of San Francisco State University.

All that to say this challenge task is perfect for me! I’ve started out the list with some of the more popular literary magazines (which, admittedly, I consider new-to-me) and have also included other publications that have been on my radar. Enjoy!

Make sure to get your own Read Harder Book Journal from Book Riot to track your reading for the year!

Zyzzyva magazine cover


A longtime San Francisco-based journal with over 35 years in publishing that prides itself on focusing on West Coast poets, writers, and artists. I appreciate their editorial mission which includes “risk-taking and egalitarianism […] focus on inclusivity and excellence.” Notable contributors include Kaveh Akbar, Tommy Orange, Amy Tan, Rebecca Solnit, Adrienne Rich, Ursula K. LeGuin, and others.

Issue of Granta Magazine cover


One of the more “seasoned” literary magazines, Granta was founded in 1889 by students at Cambridge University and was named after the river that runs through the town. In its early days, the magazine published works by writers such as A.A. Milne, Michael Frayn, Stevie Smith, Ted Hughes, and Sylvia Plath. Its latest issue (at writing, Fall 2021) features a focus on travel writing.

Threepenny Review cover

The Threepenny Review

Don’t let its outdated webpage deter you; The Threepenny Review, based out of Berkeley, is according to Louise Glück, “as lively and original a literary magazine as exists in this country.” It is a quarterly magazine that, in its Fall 2021 issue, featured contributors such as Wendell Berry and Sharon Olds, among others.

Glimmer Train book cover

Glimmer Train

Best known as a short-story print journal, Portland-based Glimmer Train ended its nearly 30-year run in December 2019. But that doesn’t mean you can’t access its well-respected collection of curated stories. Archived issues can be found at the Library of Congress and select libraries. Definitely worth tracking down for literary buffs!

Prairie Schooner journal cover

Prairie Schooner

This journal has been publishing stories, poems, essays, and reviews since 1926, as part of the University of Nebraska Press and the Creative Writing Program of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln English Department. In addition to their print issues, Prairie Schooner has also started a new online series working with “interesting, innovative online literary entities from around the world that seek to create dynamic fusions in literature and art.”

Art by Catriona Secker (2021)

Southeast Review

Founded in 1979, the Southeast Review is a literary magazine managed by graduate students of the English department at Florida State University. They publish literary fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, book reviews, interviews, and art in their biannual print issues, as well as online. In the past, contributors have included *some of my favorites* Carl Phillips, Danez Smith, D.A. Powell, Denise Duhamel, and more.

Northwest Review cover

Northwest Review

Okay, I didn’t purposefully arrange the list by ordination (from southeast to northwest haha!), but I did want to mention this literary magazine, as they are, like me, also based in the PNW (Northwest Review is published by the University of Oregon). While I have been following their work for some time, admittedly, I have not had a chance to dive into the issues since their new inception in Fall 2020. I look forward to reading more in 2022!

Lantern Review cover

Lantern Review

As a writer who also identifies as Asian, I am drawn to work by writers across the diaspora, as it includes such a wide range of writing (style/genre, life experience, perspective, etc). An online magazine that publishes 1-3 “micro issues” per season, Lantern Review showcases poetry and art specifically written by Asian Americans… I’m eager to see what’s in store this coming year.

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If you’re looking for more literary magazine suggestions, check out the Read Harder task for 2020: Read An Edition of a Literary Magazine (Digital or Physical). Or this comprehensive list of 2021’s 20 Must-Read Online Literary Journals!

Click here for the full Read Harder 2022 task list, and for previous recommendations, click here.