Web Zines To Revive Your Sense of Wonder in Literature
These zines present opportunities for us to explore more talents in this world than quota focused publishing houses would allow
These online tales of tender hearts, cracked nails, wandering feet, and tensed jaws are almost obscene in their raw sentiment. And I think, rather than paying a subscription to a magazine that's lost touch with the common man, you should instead subscribe to these zines- your money goes farther, means more, and gives more opportunities to some of the best artists and storytellers the world has to offer. Click on the links in each description to get sent to their Twitter pages, where they have links to their respective websites!
1. The Forge Literary Magazine
What's great here is that on their Twitter page, Forge gives you a pick of the week, giving you the fiction/nonfiction piece that just really wowed the editors. The first story I read from them was I Ran Three Miles For My Boyfriend But He Says No You Didn't by Anju Sharma, and I've been loving their catalog- so to speak. There's all kinds of stories, confessions, adulations, and musings on here that I think could definitely hit several different nerves in you body in vastly satisfying ways.
Small shards of glass- that's the vibe of this publication. Versification focuses on micro works- poetry and prose- that are real and raw, straight from the author's soul. I've read through, I think, all their issues so far? And as soon as I'm not criminally destitute I'll be sending them some richly deserved offerings as thanks for putting out some amazing stuff. I can't even tell you what favorites I have because, Christ, they're all good. I think, though, that I might hold the October 2021 issue in my top 3 favorites issues . . .
3. Interstellar Literary Review
Their Twitter bio defines them as a "mag for the ceaseless wanderers and star-struck vagabonds" and I just dig that. Most, if not all of their submissions include something cosmic like the moon and stars. How each author does it though is something superb, truly, and if you like a little galactic grandness mixed with your human smallness, then this zine is perfect for you. I'm really liking Sinking by Yawen Xue in issue 3, and two pieces from issue 2: Escapist Playlist by C.T. Dihn, and 1992 by Addison Rahmlow.
4. Crow & Cross Keys
On their Twitter they describe themselves as "seeking the wonderful and the bizarre, the beautiful and the dark." And, reader, I do feel a fondness for the wonderful and the dark things in this world. The first story I ever read from them was this flash fiction piece called A Well-Adjusted Girl by Naomie Kim, and it was this beautiful piece about subverting expectations with a tinge of body horror to it. Their most recent piece, Nora Chases The Sea by Nick Tan is incredible as well, a cycle of pain and grief! Sink into their low, dark, comforting pieces and thank me later.
THEE cutest, grooviest magazine on this list! They've really worked on, and I think perfected, this very nostalgic, dynamo look that speaks to the tiny part of me that wants to be a little sparkly glamorous. Even their website is super cute, and their first issue "Lover Boy" is really lovely. My favorite things on there are Liquid Gold by Cora Hyatt, 06/06 by Siam Hatzaw, and The House Held Heavy By Your Smell of Warm Punch by Abril Rodriguez Diaz. Check them out, you'll love their peach sweet, vivid stories and pictures!
6. Taco Bell Quarterly
Some days they are singlehandedly the only thing that gets me through the hour. I follow them on Twitter and their posts of rebellion, free art, and the near salacious passion of writing for only yourself are top-tier. While they attempt to break down the Paris Review, their hints of impending future doom are doused in just enough spicy ranchero sauce to make it all fun. Currently they're on their fifth issue, newly released, and I myself have fallen to their ominous chants of "live más!" by submitting to them. I bet their rejection will taste better than their cinnamon twists. I can't recommend issue 4 highly enough, and my personal favorite sort of true story, Surfing The Purple Neon Light by Keith James.
Well I hope that this list can serve as a nice foundation to kickstart your journey through the literary zine scene, and please! Don't be afraid to come back here and comment some of the ones you've already been frequenting or happened upon while looking over the ones I've listed here. There are a ton of wonderful zines out there- some fallen, some burgeoning, and some roaring strong in the face of legacies. Happy reading!
Hi! I hope you enjoyed this list of online zines to try, and if you liked this one share it around, leave a comment, or even leave a tip if you're able to. Have a good one!