Journal of the Day: Paperbark

From the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in collaboration with the School of Earth and Sustainability, the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and the UMass Libraries comes Paperbark Literary Magazine. It has a very clean and modern-looking website and a compelling mission:

Paperbark Literary Magazine is an expression of the intellectual and artistic currents working to shape collective consciousness about issues of sustainability in the information age. Born in New England, Paperbark draws on the unique heritage and culture of the region to support and stimulate creative engagement with progressive ideas. Rooted in themes of stewardship, innovation, and possibility, Paperbark’s content is motivated by a desire to trace the connections between science, culture, and sustainability. Paperbark lives at the confluence of imagination and critical inquiry, and is an integral tool for the promotion of sustainability initiatives on the University of Massachusetts campus. The magazine strives to illuminate the impacts of human society while nurturing our intrinsic capacity to catalyze positive change.”

Check them out. Send them love!

Discovering New Poetry and Fiction Markets

If you have the time, resources, energy (or general privilege) for self-improvement during the pandemic, you may be looking to get some writing done. You may be looking to get some writing submitted. You may be looking for some new journals to read and reach out to.

Creativity may be an essential way you interact with the world, and you may be frustrated because there’s not a lot of time or energy for that right now. You may be experiencing trauma. You may be exhausted, even though it feels like you’re not doing much.

But you’re probably doing a lot. This is what trauma feels like. It’s real, and it’s important to recognize.

I have a dozen tabs open, a dozen journals I’m going to submit to. At some point. At some point today. Maybe after I finish this post. Maybe after I take a walk. Maybe after I take a few minutes.

Here are some I have discovered recently:

Cream City Review

Midway Journal

Blood Orange Review

Contrary

Little Fiction Big Truths

Alien

Kissing Dynamite

Orange Blossom Review

Porter House Review

The Stinging Fly

Salt Hill

Jellyfish Review

Submit yourself to staying home. Submit your work if you can.

Where to Submit Short Stories in 2020

“In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you’ll dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it to the grindstone again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused.”

-Ernest Hemingway

It’s romantic, maybe, or idealistic (perhaps), or naive (probably) to think that getting published was so much easier back then. Fewer literate people, after all. No MFA programs. No teeming ranks of well-read, well-educated, would-be writers, all very talented, all very good, all very hard-working, all with great ears. All dulling their instruments, all competing. It must have been, after all, a matter of picking the right Parisian cafe. Ford Maddox Ford, Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein…they would have championed your work, too, if you’d been around then.

For the sake of this post, I’m going to assume we’re all very dutifully dulling and sharpening our instruments. And after?

Every Writer has a very good top 50 list here. I’m sad to note that since this list was created in February of this year, both Tin House and Glimmer Train have ceased to be.

I’m not sure what to make of this contraction. Certainly, there is no shortage of good work in the submissions queue. It could be that most of the people who read literary journals are people who want to be published in literary journals, and that we’re so busy, after the writing, with managing the massive numbers game of getting published that we have very little time left to support the market. I don’t think that’s it, but it’s interesting to think about. Of course we buy the journals (although we can’t afford to buy all of them), and of course we pay the submission fees.

And it’s only two journals. But they’re two of the most celebrated. They’re two that consistently appear on everyone’s list. And they’re two of the more recently-established heavy hitters.

It’s a little disheartening. But, thankfully, there are still plenty of whetstones.

Alright. Back to work.

Story: The Insult

This was originally published years ago at Six Sentences.  I have slightly revised it since then, but I think the revision makes it more of story and less of a prose poem. 

The Insult

There are no bakeries outside San Marco in 1968, no fish markets or butchers, only tobacco fields and salted meats between Carmine’s and the piazza.  Dirt roads spread like long brown leaves from my cousin’s to the church-square and we ride to town on ox carts and warping wooden wheels.
      I give my aunt a big roast in the cool dirt kitchen where summer meats are hanging. At dinner there’s a small cut roasted and I ask about the rest. Three quarters of my trophy, cured, turns above the table. Flies land on the slivers Zizi portions, oblivious and greedy.  Li mericani! she says, forgiving my abuse.

***

All rights Chris Cocca, but do feel free to share, and, please, do comment.