March 10, 2022

The Future of Literary Magazines

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First Tin House, then The Believer, and today Conjunctions. Bard College will no longer fund Conjunctions. Confirmation by Bradford Morrow, Conjunctions editor for three decades, was this morning’s sad literary news. Universities have always been places of fads and trends. Well, there’s a new trend of universities defunding their literary magazines.

“Long-standing literary magazines are struggling to stay afloat,” a recent CNN Style article recounts, asking: “Where do they go from here?” Electric Literature offers an answer: “Rather than waiting for benefactors to fund, defund, and then ‘save’ our favorite publications, we must support them now.” Must? Well, readers and writers certainly should support their favorite literary magazines. One can simply buy a copy. Or buy a few copies and give them to friends.

Whether one is solely a reader or mainly a submitter, there are facts to be concerned about. For instance, the submissions windows at many of the leading literary magazines have been shrinking—for some down to three months, two months, or even just one month.

The future of literary magazines is no doubt parlous. And now is a good time for one to act.

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