Top 40


I like to save both the trees and my own money, so most of these are online.  Exceptions are noted.

[This is a purely subjective list, updated periodically.]

The criteria are, in order of importance:

1. Content.

2. A unique or “best of” factor.

3. Style or usability of the site.

4. The editorial tone or lack thereof.

Agni  From the folks at Boston University who prove that academic doesn’t have to mean dull and elitist.

apt  Unusual poetry and mercifully short, interesting prose.

Ascent  “Read the Best Writing…after 32 years in print form.”

Autumn Sky Poetry  “Simple pages, simple formatting, exquisite poetry.”

Brevity  “A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction.”

Broome Review  “seeks to bring further local and national exposure to the Broome County, NY arts community….”

Bust  “[A]n uncensored view on the female experience. BUST tells the truth about women’s lives and presents a female perspective on pop culture.”

Callalou  “The leading academic journal featuring Arts & Letters of the African Diaspora.”

Centrifugal Eye  If you like vibrant visuals with your poetry, and like to watch the computer turn pages (which I do), you’ll love it.  (from Canada)

Chattahoochee Review  “Each quarter, we publish the best in creative writing, essays, fiction, literary criticisms; everything you’ve come to expect from Atlanta’s oldest literary magazine.”

Cimarron Review  “Esquire has called Cimarron ‘one of America’s literary roots’.”

Drunken Boat     Interesting, varied.  Check out the Native American women’s poetry, then keep going to the nonfiction, fiction….

Exquisite Corpse  Frankly, the site is ugly and a tad snooty, but push past that to find well-written stories and solid poems.

Fraglit   “An online magazine of fragmentary writing.”

Georgia Review   You have to buy the hard copy to get a full issue, but I just read the excerpts and fantasize instead.  PRINT

Green Mountains Review   Scroll down the homepage to past-issue poetry samples, and this might be one to splurge on.  PRINT

Hawai’i Review  is “a student run bi-annual literary journal featuring national, international, as well as regional literature of Hawai’i and the Pacific.”  PRINT

Mad Hatters Review  Call me goofy, but the current issue eludes me.  But click on the archives for splendid or strange poetry.  The site is so crazy-looking it makes me happy.

Minnesota Review  Simple, straight-forward but interesting poems.   Archive of samples.  PRINT

Missouri Review  Check out their contests.

Muddy River Poetry Review  I’m biased.  I love that muddy water and the editor is a friend.  Yes, he has excellent taste in friends and poetry.

Orange Room Review   “Accessible poetry of substance.”

Painted Bride Quarterly  “is one of the country’s longest running literary magazines, established in Philadelphia in 1973.”  Like Philly, straight-forward, not stuck-up, full of personalities. Online/PRINT

Ploughshares  Emerson College’s award-winning literary magazine.

Poemeleon    Nothing fancy, just “a journal of poetry.”

Poetry Magazine   Claims to be “the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world.”  An infusion of serious cash has amped it up in recent years.  PRINT

Poets & Writers    “Information, support, and guidance for creative writers since 1970”

Prairie Schooner  Nice samples PRINT

Rattle  Consistently good work; true diversity; wonderfully talented and human editor.

The Richmond Review   The UK’s first exclusive web literary journal?

Seattle Review  “Throughout our history and our growth, we have kept our faith in the common and uncommon word.”  PRINT

Shine Journal  Refreshing spiritual vibe minus preachiness; the editor’s warmth shines through.

Spoon River Anthology  The site is ug-lee!  Now that you’re prepared, read these interwoven narrative poems [“Unconventional in both style and content, it shattered the myths of small town American life” in 1915.]

Sweet  “A literary confection of poetry and creative nonfiction.”

Tar River Poetry  “A nationally ranked magazine of verse [that]  publishes interviews, reviews, and poetry by emerging writers as well as Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners.”

Threepenny Review  Very smart without being oh-so dull.  Link is to the “lesser blog” online version.  PRINT also available.  “breaking news about books, authors, and more.”

Verbatim   “Language and linguistics for the layperson since 1974.”

Word Riot  Amusing as heck.  Online snippets as well as PRINT.

[No, there are not quite 40 yet.  I got tired.  If you seriously counted them, please go outdoors for some Vitamin D now.  Literature will wait for you.]