In an age of “declining print” there is an abundance of literary magazines both in print and online. Hundreds of journals and magazines are in circulation today.
There are certainly reasons for the proliferation of these small literary organs. Be those reasons related to the increase of MFA writing programs (with their accompanying journals) or to the fracturing of the literary arts “scene” into myriad niches that parallel the niches created and demanded in the attention-loop of cable television, all of the reasons for the abundance of these magazines fall outside the scope of this article.
In the opinion of this writer, these magazines represent a set of causes that are universally positive. Whatever the reasons for their existence, these literary publications provide us with access to culture as it is being created, so to speak, as well as giving hope to all pen-men and pen-women in our little world. If we have to put up with the MFA writing program agenda sometimes, well, that’s ok. If our culture is showing signs of fracture, well…
The following is a look at the Tin House literary magazine’s website.
Tin House is a literary magazine publishing print and offering some content online at their website.
The print publication is released four times per year and features various literary writings: short stories, poetry, novel excerpts, and essays. The magazine chooses a theme for each issue and accepts manuscripts for about half the year, both related and unrelated to the chosen themes. (see below for submission details.)
Tin House is not affiliated with any university or college, which means it is not an MFA organ as so many contemporary literary magazines are.
The focus of the Tin House website strikes a pleasant balance between presentation of literary content and marketing. Of course, being an organization that produces a print magazine as well as books, the webpage has a partial focus on drawing viewers to the product.
However, there is also a genuine (successful) attempt to provide the viewer with whole sections of the current issue magazine. The issue on display as this article is being written offers five complete sections of the magazine for free viewing on line.
Admittedly, this amount of content only wets the whistle of the literary connoisseur but it is more than many upper-echelon literary magazine websites.
Most importantly, Tin House offers a look at high quality writing. Where so often the literature of the contemporary publications is self-involved, convoluted, and always so ethnic, the writing here is simply good. It is not pedantic. It is not overly erudite, It is not overly stylized.
The writing presented by Ander Monson and Deborah Landau is engaging, original, and fresh, conveying a sense of life as it is lived and life as it lives in the mind today, sometimes shattered, sometimes challenged by failed and failing relationships, yet anchored here, as for so many writers, in the act of writing itself – the pen becoming a balance point for the events of haphazard, emotionally chaotic living.
Quote: I’ve always thought of the writing life as a protracted action of the mind, supported by a body that does whatever it needs to do to pay the bills. But it’s rare anymore to hear of a writer scraping by on this sort of life-of a Kafka in his insurance firm or a Melville on his boats.
From J.C. Hallman’s essay, “Kenneth Patchet’s Journal of Albion Moonlight“
The Tin House reading period runs from September 1 through May 31.
Visit the submissions page of their website for more information (http://www.tinhouse.com/mag/mag_submit.htm).
Similar Websites to Tin House: Santa Monica Review and Conjunctions.