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Top 10 Online Lit Mags for Poetry

February 13, 2017

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Remember the crisis in legitimacy that poets and writers underwent when the physical print journals typically associated with “quality” literature decided to embrace the web? Many gave up the husk of permabound or spine-stapled physicality to live online, amidst all those zeros and ones raining down from the Matrix onto your poem now wearing obligatorily dark shades and trench. These days, few would doubt the authority of a venue based solely on its status as an online journal when so many of them kick ass while the action stops and the camera pivots.

In fact, some of the very best journals are online–only online, without the perfunctory small-run printing of its work to be found anywhere other than that Glorious Nowhere known as the digital.

Thus, with all due caveats, qualifications, admissions of biases, and full disclosures of subjectivity aside–though they are blinking as brightly as the red pill that let’s you stay in Wonderland–I give you a list of a few of the very best places online to send your poetry.

10. BOAAT

boaat.png

Why Boaat? Because, as RAQUEL SALAS-RIVERA tells you in

“WORK IS THE FATHER AND EARTH THE MOTHER”

or each scalpel you bury
a triceratops conch is born,
umbrella screw, celestial octagon.
for each scalpel you bury
a dollar goes to
the governmental development bank.

9. DIAGRAM

diagram.png

Need another sketch? Try

FOOLPROOF HUMAN TEST

Ryan Dzelzkalns

Here is an excerpt from a schematic-poem:

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8. Thrush Poetry Journal

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I’m partial to the opening lines of

Hala Alyan

Aleppo
 
I talk back to the videos. Someone ate paper. Someone isn’t eating anymore.
 
Mornings like this, I wish I never loved anyone. What is it to be a lucky city, a row of white houses strung with Christmas lights.
 
There is no minute.
 screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-6-23-54-am

7. The Collagist

coll

For more incontrovertible claims, take a gander at the first line of this poem, which wants us to imagine a future that is also weirdly knowable in terms of the precise scientific stuff we (certainly) won’t be thinking:

When We Dead Awaken

Kathryn Nuernberger


When you look at a long wave of kelp stretched out
as it if were a mess of some drowned girl’s hair, you won’t
be thinking of the functionality of the ovoid bladders
like tiny buoys holding the flat wide blades toward
the sun for maximally efficient photosynthesis.

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6. Diode Poetry Journal

diode

The resonant, the tuning-fork-off-the-knee-so-hard-it-hurts kind of resonant, ending found in:

Wild Fire” by Michael Broek

but I’ve been ready all along. How to say
I left a lifetime ago. How to say I want to burn

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5. Muzzle Magazine

muzzle

I’m particularly fond of the ending of My Grandpa Emails Me Regarding My Plans to Return to Kurdistan

by Tracy May Fuad

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4. Sixth Finch

sixth-finch

Molly Brodak’s poem “Friendship” ends with an image of a beautiful alternative to love:

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3. Memorious

memorious

To begin our navigation through the verdant wellspring of poetic excellence here, you’ll need a serviceable Field Guide. Happily, the editors have arranged for one to be provided.

A Field Guide to the Moths of North America
Promethea

Midsummer vibrato. Nightfall of yellow
poplar, spicebush and sassafras. Sex
at altitude will end in the underbrush.
Our next subject: the moon.

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2. Waxwing

waxwing

Who enjoys ekphrasis? Those in the know, know what I mean, or shall I paint you a picture and then write a poem about that picture and spell it out for you? No time for elementary instruction, the master class is in session in this poem

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1. Blackbird

A favorite of mine there is by

LENA KHALAF TUFFAHA, whose My English Teacher Tells Me

stirs with its relentless investment in the idea that words contain portals as well as barriers–no matter what English teachers will have you believe!

blackbird

3 Comments
  1. Thanks for sharing! I’ve been getting braver with some of my poems and sending them out. I might try a few places on this list. 🙂

  2. Whatever bravery you glean here is yours for the taking, Sara!

  3. nonnieaugustine permalink

    Thank you, Michael. I’ll make use of your list. Cheers, Nonnie

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