Last week we added to the online morass of year-end lists, by naming four of our favorite literary magazines–journals we think will move American letters forward in 2014. That post was just the first four entries in our full list of eight. Here’s the second half. And, it goes without saying, that a subscription to one of these (or a copy of one of the books we recommended earlier today) would make a great gift for any reader on your list.
The New York Times called Pank a “raft” of experimental poetry and fiction–an interesting choice of words. Of all the literary magazines discussed thus far, Pank (along with Armchair/Shotgun) is perhaps the least concerned with name recognition, not to say it’s inaccessible. Pank has something for everyone, such as The Great Daylight in Pank’s 12/13 issue, a Breece Pancake meets Calvino-style coming-of-age short. On the other hand they also have poetry both experimental and more traditional. The Pank blog also serves as a nice book review blog ala The Rumpus. On top of it all, Pank is published by the omnipresent and very brilliant Roxanne Gay, and has featured the incomparable Sean H. Doyle. Also, Pank online has one very cool feature–the option to listen to the poetry and prose from each issue.
Edited by James Yeh and Lincoln Michel, Gigantic is a dependable powerhouse for fiction. Touting a respectable mix of big names and up-and-comers, Gigantic is the rather perfectly done. They give you just enough reason to go and buy it with names you’ll recognize like Sam Lipsyte, Anne Carson, Lynne Tillman and Tao Linn, and give you the chance to discover new favorites. Like perhaps you’re not yet familiar wit Michael Kimball, you read his piece in Gigantic and you buy his wonderful novel Big Ray. If you read a magazine to keep up on what’s already popular, and what’s soon to be what everyone is talking about, Gigantic is the perfect offering.
Probably the most established of our picks, Tin House has gone from lit mag, to imprint (they published The Revolution of Every Day, which we reviewed in our books round up today) to a cultural cornerstone ala Granta (at least it will be soon). Each Tin House issue is themed along with their recurring summer and winter reading issues and features an array of fiction, poetry and interviews with authors. Interesting theme examples include “Games We Play” featuring a short story by Karen Russel about tailgating in the arctic, or the “Beauty Issue,” featuring a piss up of the art world by Michel Houellebecq–a precursor to his novel The Map and the Territory. Tin House is simply a beautiful and always intriguing read. It kind of reminds me of early issues of Gargoyle.
Tweed’s (aka The Coffin Factory)
It was sad to see The Coffin Factory go but Tweed’s has picked up the remains and sewed them back together nicely. Tweed’s publishes less frequently then TCF did but they keep the spirit and tone just the same. Tweed’s may not be the place to go for new voices but it’s an excellent representation of what’s happening in the book world, not just the authors to read but the publishers, the editors and MFA programs. Tweed’s publishes mostly big names but there’s a range, from Justin Taylor to Lydia Davis, to Robert Bolaño. For twenty bucks you can get your hands on both issues of the bi-annual publication and be certain you’re firmly plugged in to the literary pulse.