It should by now be obvious to all seven readers of this blog that I am insanely, over-the-moon in love with literary journals. It's a new love. For some reason I was previously put off by some of the tweedy names, earnest covers, and a faint but unmistakable whiff of pretension. Plus I didn't much care for the handful of people I knew who submitted (an arty girl in my high school who played guitar in minor chords only; a guy in grad school who had a habit of slyly and poetically insulting his friends; any number of twits who name-dropped all the poets they met for five minutes at public readings), and I mistakenly thought that meant the journals themselves were amateur-ville.
I was completely wrong. Now that I have subscribed to several and actually read each one, issue after issue, I'm deeply impressed with the quality of the writing, the astonishingly good taste of many of the editors, and the consistent caliber of already-successful authors who don't need to publish there but who choose to because of the readership and the credibility. Receiving these journals is like receiving a valentine from the literary world each time they appear. Thank you, editors and staffs, for creating these gems. I believe journals will be the keepers of literary fiction and poetry during tough economic times for books, and that the good ones will survive.
Here is a partial list of those to which I have subscribed. There will be more in the future: Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, Indiana Review, New England Review, Missouri Review, Threepenny Review. Any suggestions for others?
PS: If you love fiction and/or poetry, please show it by subscribing to literary journals. Yes, you can read them at the library, especially if you work at a university, but do consider going that extra step and buying actual and ongoing subscriptions.