Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Printed magazines with poetry and fiction

"The Interpreter's House" still prints the odd story. So does "Tears in the Fence". And of course there's "London Magazine", "Stand", "Lighthouse" and "Under the Radar". I sometimes wonder how popular the poetry and fiction mix is. Will fiction writers subscribe to a magazine that only has a story or two per issue, if that? The fewer stories published in such magazines, the less likely it is that stories will be submitted. There seems to be a trend for mixed magazines to squeeze fiction out -

  • "New Welsh Review" aren't currently accepting fiction (submission overload) though they're not overloaded with other genres
  • A few issues ago, "The Next Review" justified the lack of fiction on the grounds of submission quality
  • The current (Spring/Summer 2015) issue of "New Walk" contains no fiction this time.

From the editors' viewpoint it must be tempting to print poems rather than stories - contributors are likely to turn into subscribers if they aren't so already, and several poets' work can be squeezed into the space a story displaces.

My impression is that story-writers are less likely to appreciate poetry than poets appreciate stories. Consequently, story-writers are less likely to subscribe to mixed magazines. And more poets turn to story-writing than vice versa. Flash fiction (and especially microfiction) can bridge the divide. Interestingly, "The Next Review" sets a minimum fiction word-limit of 1500, blocking that route, whereas some other magazines don't label the texts published, leaving readers to classify short texts as either Flash, prose-poems or poems if they wish. But that flexibility risks putting side by side texts whose style differs only in their use of line-breaks and white-space, inviting comparisons that may be uncomfortable, particularly when the white-space is extravagant.

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