Archive for the ‘Publishing (zines)’ Category

Featured Magazines #17: The Bugle

Monday, May 5th, 2014

The Bugle

Most of the work I do is with “reluctant readers,” and I am used to having to warm up my audience, convincing them that poetry is not a scary thing and actually, anyone can write it. However, the Bugle team were way ahead of me – several of them regularly write poems for inclusion in the magazine, and reading the creative writing pieces intended for the Bugle’s pages is an important part of the editorial process. In a world where arts columnists are mourning poetry as a supposedly “dead” artform – while poets themselves bemoan the lack of dedicated readers – The Bugle is wonderful. Its editorial team are not only reading and writing poems – they’re also helping to keep this supposedly-dying breed of writing alive, by putting it into their publication and sending that publication out into the world for free.

I wrote a blogpost for the great social action blog Common Good Edinburgh last week, all about the amazing work being done by the team of The Bugle, Bethany Christian Trust’s Edinburgh-based zine-style magazine. It’s made entirely by homeless and vulnerably houses BCT service users and it’s brilliant. Click here to find out more!


Like shiny things? Check out Edinburgh Vintage, a totally unrelated ’sister site’ full of jewels, treasures and trinkets. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

Dear Poetry Newbies: 10 Commandments! What to AVOID when sending your poetry to magazines.

Monday, December 10th, 2012


An earlier version of this post appeared at One Night Stanzas in September 2008.

1: Thou shalt not lie.
I know I keep banging on about “being yourself,” but it’s important! So when it comes to sending off your work, not lying means not pretending that you haven’t sent your work elsewhere if you have, not making up imaginary writing credits or other frillies to spice up your bio, and not using other people’s material without crediting them or asking their permission. OK?

2: Thou shalt not be rude.
Do you want these people to publish you or not?! Always be polite and respect magazine staff and eds.

3: Thou shalt not be lazy about your cover letter..
Any kind of correspondence that informs your editor that you “hav sum poems 4u guys 2 read” (or the like) is going to seriously damage your chances! And no cover letter is basically just rude.

4: Thou shalt not be negative.
Assuming that your poems will be rejected is not the way to go, and saying as much in your cover-letter (e.g. “I’m guessing you guys will just reject these”) is even worse! Don’t put the R-word in the editor’s mind… and better still, keep it out of yours, too.

5: Thou shalt not be boastful.
Whether it’s in your cover-letter, your bio or your writers’ group meeting… it doesn’t matter how many publications you have to your name. Nobody likes a show-off!

6: Thou shalt not enter into any nasty or aggressively competitive stuff with other poets.
Sadly, the poetry world contains a fair few people who like to see others fail. Please, please don’t be one of them.

7: Thou shalt not question the editor.
Unless they’re unnecessarily rude to you (unlikely, I hope) or you need clarification about something, do not try and question the editor’s decision. Pleading, arguing and mud-slinging are unlikely to change their mind… trust me, I’ve tried!

8: Thou shalt not listen to bad advice.
e.g. “you’re too young to be published” or “I never read the submission guidelines” or “why are you bothering with this? You’ll never get accepted!” People who say such things are best ignored!

9: Thou shalt not ignore feedback from magazine editors.
It’s a rare commodity - use it wisely!

10: Thou shalt not give up.
Don’t let rejection / submission fatigue / writer’s block / negative criticism get you down. Keep writing, editing, improving, submitting. You can do it!

Disagree? Think I’ve missed a commandment? Got your own ideas? Let me know!


You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Dear Poetry Newbies: a checklist for submitting work to magazines

Monday, May 21st, 2012

An earlier version of this post appeared at One Night Stanzas in August 2008.

Last week I wrote a post designed to help you start submitting your poetry to magazines. Avoid missing out a vital step in the process by reading over this checklist - print it out and stick it on the wall if necessary; that way, you’ll stay in the good books of every editor you submit to!

1: Choose your publication.
Read any info you can find about your chosen magazine, journal or anthology carefully. Consider: does your work belong there? Would you be happy for your name to appear in the publication?

2: Choose your poems.
Make sure you’re not sending too many (most places specify a limit which could be anything from 3 to 15) - and if you don’t know how many is too many, limit yourself to 4 or 5. Also to bear in mind - have your poems been sent off to or published in another place? If so, is the publication you now want to submit to OK with this? If you’re not sure, ask.

3: Read the submission guidelines…
…and read them carefully! Make sure your poems are presented and sent to the publication according to their rules. You should ALWAYS read the submission guidelines - and not only because editors love you for it - the guidelines often give you a wealth of information about the place you’re sending your stuff to as well.

4: Write your cover letter.
Your cover letter should always include your full name (or pen name), and a return email or mailing address… at the very least! It’s also a good idea to drop the name of the publication you’re submitting to. This sounds weird, but it’s not unheard of for editors to use submission email addresses for multiple projects. Also, naming the publication shows eds that you’re not just cold-calling every literary magazine you can find.

5: Check for typos and spelling errors.
Better still, get someone else to cast an eye over your submission. I’m really bad at spotting typos - after a while you can just stop seeing them. Make sure you check your cover letter, too!

6: Send your submission with care.
Make sure the editor will be able to contact you if they need to (this is particularly important for those of you submitting by post). Remember, it is YOUR responsibility to provide a SAE if you want your poems back - it is NOT the job of the magazine staff to buy sufficient postage for you (even if you do send them the money - go and get the stamps yourself, lazy)! With email submissions, make sure your return address is fully functioning, and be sure to add the publication’s email to your safe list or address book to prevent any replies from disappearing into your Spam folder.

7: Be patient.
After you’ve sent your work, there’s little you can do - just cross your fingers and wait. Bear in mind, you may need to wait up to 3 or 4 months. While some people like to send nagging emails to try and find out what’s going on with their work, I’d strongly advise against this. Generally, if you haven’t heard anything after 3 months, you can send your work elsewhere - and if a magazine wants to publish you after that point, just be sure to let them know if you’ve since sent elsewhere any of the pieces they want.

8: Deal with the fallout.
Rejected? Feel miserable for a bit, have a cup of tea, then chalk it up to experience, and try again. DO NOT EVER EVER email the editor back in response to a rejection. EVER.

9: Alternate your poems.
So, you’ve painstakingly sent a bunch of poems to a magazine, having chosen carefully, and read all the guidelines… hopefully you’ll get a positive response! Now you just need to give those poems a rest for a while - if you’re submitting to other magazines, try to avoid submitting the same poems simultaneously until you know the outcome.

10: Take the critique on board.
Very few editors take the time to write even a couple of lines about your work when they send their response. However, on occasion you will get a bit of feedback, usually in the form of suggestions for possible improvement if your work is rejected. If an editor suggests that perhaps your linebreaks aren’t so hot, for example, don’t be angry or offended - chances are they’re only commenting because they can see you have potential. Put their advice into practice and it could mean the difference between rejection and success next time!

Good luck!


You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Dear Poetry Newbies: how to start publishing in magazines.

Monday, May 14th, 2012

foam mag

An earlier version of this post appeared at One Night Stanzas in August 2008. Please note, Read This Magazine is no longer an active publication.

About six months ago, I organised a small-scale poetry event to raise funds and awareness for Read This, and was delighted when a famous poet showed up to lend his support. Unfortunately, one of the young poets who’d come along to read ended up a couple of red wines past her bedtime, and accosted said famous poet while he was outside having a sneaky cigarette. She went in for the kill with something along the lines of “tell me how I can be a poet like you!” and – clearly rather startled, the famous poet could only respond with: “well… send your work to magazines. That’s about it.”
In throwing caution to the wind, the emerging poet voiced an anxiety that plagues many young writers. You want to produce poetry, and get that poetry ‘out there’ to be read – but how the heck do you do it? Where do you start?
Technically, the famous poet is right: the best way to begin, the best way to eventually become ‘established,’ is to get your poems printed in magazines. Magazine publishing – coupled with other poem-honing activities like poetry readings, retreats and workshops – can really help you climb the ladder… but I’m sure even the famous poet would admit that getting into magazines is often far from easy!

Be ready.
The very first thing you need to do is address whether you’re actually ready to send your work to magazines or not. It’s a big step up, to go from just writing for yourself to sending your stuff out into the world for editors – and potentially a whole load of readers – to see. It’s essential that you feel confident your work is good enough, so that when you eventually get that inevitable first rejection letter, you’ll be ready for it – and, most importantly, you’ll be able to grit your teeth and carry on with the process! Unfortunately, no one else can really tell you whether or not you and your work are ready to face the general public – it’s something you have to gauge totally on your own. “Being ready” has nothing to do with age, gender, nationality or anything else – at Read This, we’ve received and published fantastic work from 13-year-olds, but had writing from 33-year-olds who were just not quite ready for magazines yet – and vice-versa! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it because you’re too young, too old, not good enough, etc. And at the same time, don’t let anyone else push you into it before you’re ready. Mainly, it’s about feeling comfortable and confident in your work and yourself, and being prepared for what is sometimes a long and hard road to publication.

Learn about the process.
Knowing what happens to your poems after you release them into the world can really help you to decide whether or not you’re ready for the world of magazines or not. Of course, every magazine is different, but generally the selection process for poems is roughly the same. When your poems land in the magazine’s mailbox, chances are they’ll be surrounded by many, many others. (Even Read This, which has a print-run of only 150 per month, receives submissions by the hundred.) When your poem is read, it will be held up to the magazine’s personal benchmarks - see ‘Do Your Research’! - as well as being considered alongside the many other hopefuls. In some cases, poems will be rejected outright because of factors like length or subject matter, but most of the time, the editors really will sift through all the poems, reading each and every one before deciding what will make it into the issue. As you can imagine, this can take absolutely ages, so expect a delay of anything up to three or four months before they get back to you. (Some magazines don’t respond to the people whose work they’re not using, but you should still wait at least eight weeks before sending the same poems somewhere else.) Also, most magazines can only publish a very small percentage of the poetry they receive (as little as 2% in the case of some larger publications), so if you do receive a rejection letter, you have to be aware that space is a massive deciding factor.

Learn to love rejection (if you can!)
Because of the huge numbers of submissions that most magazines receive, you do have to accept that rejection may well become your new best friend as you delve into the submission process – that’s something that even established poets have to learn to live with! Don’t get me wrong, that “we will not be using your work this time” line really stings, no matter how many times you hear it – and no matter how many times you’ve been accepted in the past, it’s guaranteed to knock the wind out of your sails just a little. However, it’s important to find a way of dealing with it, so you can move on, get back to the grind, keep writing, and hopefully get published! (Need some Rejection Therapy?)

Do your research.
OK, so you’re sure you’re ready to send your work to magazines, you know all about the process and you’re totally ready for rejection to come along and bite you on the ass. Can you start addressing envelopes yet?
Well… not quite. First of all you need to do some research, which might sound boring, but it’ll pay off. Obviously, you need to choose which magazines you want to send your work to – some will be better for you than others (check out my list of featured creative writing magazines). Once you’ve chosen (and here’s the important bit!) read the submission guidelines for every publication very carefully, and - unless you have a really damn good reason not to - follow them to the letter! Nothing gets an editor’s goat more than someone who wants their poems to take up valuable space in a magazine, but who can’t even be bothered to read or follow that magazine’s system for submitting. Each magazine has its own guidelines and they vary greatly – some ban adult content, some refuse science fiction, some only take work in translation, some reject single-spaced poems. Although Read This just says “send us ANYTHING!”, most magazines are very specific about their requirements, and for this reason, you need to check the guidelines every time you submit. It’s time-consuming, but it’s a must!

Send your work wisely.
So, once you have the reading-guidelines-obsessively thing down, you can finally start sending your work out to editorial teams far and wide! The final thing you have to remember is just to send your work wisely – for example, while the occasional zine or two are cool with it, most magazines prefer you not to send work that has been published elsewhere, or that might be under consideration by another magazine (this will probably be somewhere in the submission guidelines, but if it isn’t, it’s best to assume they don’t accept simultaneous submissions). Send all your poems in one email or envelope rather than flooding the poor editor’s mailbox, and if you do email, make sure all attachments are in a standard file-type and will open at the other end. If you’re sending your poems by post and want the poems back, include a SAE with enough stamps on it – do NOT send cash or cheques in the post and expect the magazine staff to buy the postage themselves! Always be sure to include your contact details with your submission, and be courteous and lovely in all your correspondence – karma might well reward you!

Other stuff to read from elsewhere:
A quick cautionary note: there are LOADS of sites all over the internet which claim to help you publish your work. Be viligant! A lot of these are scams or money-making exercises. You should always be able to publish your work without paying anyone, so NEVER part with “reading fees” – if a magazine’s submission process is not free, it’s not worth getting involved with. Also, even the free and legitimate poetry-publishing-advice sites often leave a lot to be desired. For example, the first four my search-engine found were these: are a massive, corporate and non-poetry-specific site, but their guidelines are actually OK – though they don’t really take email submissions into account, so I suspect they’re a bit outdated. Also, I do NOT agree at all with what they say about cover letters – read their views, then check out this to get a balance.

Empty Mirror Books’ advice seems to be one big ad for a writers’ directory book, which makes me suspicious – they reckon it’s essential, but only part with your cash it if you think you’ll really use it. A lot of the info the book provides is probably available online for free.

There’s nothing wrong with SoYouWanna’s suggestions per se, but again, they’re a massive corporate site and they don’t specialise in poetry or publishing at all. The tone of the article is rather aggressive and they resort to mass generalisations like advising all poets to edit their work down to “the fewest words possible.” Altogether now… ARGH!

The best of the lot is probably Tim Love’s guide to publishing in the UK – its biggest flaw is obviously that it’s UK specific. Also, the advice is coming from a long-standing, plain-speaking poet who has weathered a fair few rejections – just don’t let the cynical tone put you off, young ‘uns!

Basically, if you want advice, click around. Read up. Don’t part with any cash unless you’re totally sure. Don’t be intimidated or put off. Take everything with a hefty pinch of salt. Follow your instincts. Go for it.


You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Call for submissions: “Article-8″ mixed media magazine project

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

the plague

Today I had a very exciting and highly informative meeting with one Mr Nic Cameron, a graphic design student at Edinburgh’s Telford College (full disclosure: for my sins, I work here). Nic is a music enthusiast and former scribbler of poems, and for one of his big course projects, he’s decided to do something very ambitious and pretty darned innovative: create his own hybrid poetry/spoken word and music magazine.

In our meet-up, Nic outlined his reasons for choosing this particular path. Although he hasn’t written poetry himself for a while, he is still very aware of the question, “why don’t more people read poems?” Like many youngsters, he’s bugged by how inaccessible the poetry world sometimes seems. He’s also aware that music magazines can and do attract the kind of people who might like poems, if they only had the chance to see and hear some. His project aims to kill all these problematic birds with one stone. Music magazines have the ability to pull in loads of readers — why not add some poetry into the mix? That way you’d introduce poetry to a new, young audience — and vice-versa.

Personally, I think thought this was a great idea — even more so when I heard a few more details. Article-8, as the magazine has been dubbed, will be a long way from your standard print poetry journal. Nic showed me examples of concrete poetry that had got him fired up, and then talked to me about the potential for changing the way poems interact with the page. In short, he wants to put his graphic design skills to use when editing the magazine together: he’s looking for poets who’d be cool to have their words snaked across the page or ribboned through videos in weird and wonderful shapes… shapes determined by a graphic artist’s eye.

Nic is also looking for poets who’d be willing to supply audio recordings of themselves reading their poems. As well as a print magazine, Article-8 will also become a website and a smartphone app. Performance and sound are two things that link poetry and music, and it seems they’ll be integral to this publication. Nic can help you record good quality audio if you’d be willing to meet with him — or if you’ve already got your own clean recording, you can send it to him with your written work.

In short, Article-8 is looking for brave, open-minded poets who are willing to put their words into the hands of a smart, ambitious graphic artist and see what the results might be. This is a great chance to collaborate and learn about how the shape of your poem changes how it’s read and seen. It’s also a chance to get involved in a conversation about how we make poetry more relevant and interesting to young people — a conversation that really needs to be had. If you fancy offering up some of your work (and, if you’re willing to meet for a recording session, a wee bit of your time) for this excellent cause, then read the blurb below, and submit some stuff to nicholas[dot]cameron[at]

I’m Nic Cameron – a graphic design student from Edinburgh’s Telford College and I have this mad idea… as a working title I’m calling it ‘Article-8 Magazine’ and here’s the gist:

What would the birth-child of a spoken word/poetry journal and a music magazine look like? Could clever typography and design let words speak in the absence of a voice – would bold features, useful articles and engaging content allow the format to reach out to a new, younger and broader audience?

These are questions I’m trying to answer in my final project but I need writers on board to help generate content and volunteer their work for this venture. If you’d like to see a visual interpretation of your writing - now’s the chance. For the project I’d be looking to produce 8 double page spreads, 2 front covers, 2 kinetic type videos, a website and a smart phone app and I need relevant writing/performance for all of these. I’d ask that those who want to donate audio for the videos could arrange with me to be recorded on a good microphone - I’ll take care of the technical side, you just need to read into the machine!

Unfortunately - because this is to a limited timescale there is a chance that not all the work submitted will be used - that said, if this prototype receives positive reviews it may become a much larger beast in the future. I had completely underestimated the excitement this would generate.

This would be non-profit and unreleased. However, if I use your work, you will be able to use the visuals wherever you see fit.

Interested in this idea? Please email a short bio (150 words or so) and two samples of work to nicholas[dot]cameron[at]”

I’m sure Nic would be more than willing to answer any questions you might have about the process, too! Happy submitting, and GOOD LUCK to Nic for what I’m sure will be a great project!


You can also visit Read This Press for more poetry (and typewriter paraphernalia!). Alternatively, check out Edinburgh Vintage, our sister site. If you want to get in touch you can follow OneNightStanzas on Twitter, or email claire[at] I reply as swiftly as I can!

(Photo credit)

Featured Magazines #16: Words Dance

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

Retro Vintage Colorful Purple Shoes on Green Grass

Words Dance
Editor: Amanda Oaks
Established: 2003
Based in: USA
Submit via: wdsubmissions(at)gmail(dot)com

I first heard about Words Dance via the sadly-no-longer-functional Verve Bath Press, which published Heather Bell (one of my all-time favourite poets) with her first pamphlet collection, “Nothing Unrequited Here“. Back then the magazine was a beautiful, handmade quarterly print zine that I yearned to place work in, but by the time I discovered it, submissions were closed. Amanda is a super-busy lady — now a mama of two gorgeous boys, she also runs Kind Over Matter, a site full of free, happy-making craft ideas, writing prompts and general positivity. Recently, she decided that she wanted to re-open submissions for Words Dance, but that she could no longer devote the time and energy to hand-making an entire run of zines every quarter.

Therefore, in keeping with the ethos of Kind Over Matter, Words Dance has now become a totally free, all-access e-zine, widening its reach and spreading its good work across the globe. The magazine has recently featured work by poets I’m already a fan of — Audrey Dimola, Rebecca Schumejda — as well as introducing me to some great new voices. Amanda was also kind enough to take one of my own pieces a few days ago, with another to go up soon.

Words Dance is a seriously friendly, welcoming, laid-back e-zine. Amanda doesn’t care where else you’ve been published or what credits you have to your name. She edits 100% from the heart — if she likes your work and she thinks it fits with the publication, she’ll take it, and that’s it. That’s very refreshing, and makes Words Dance an eclectic and surprising online journal. Submit, and you’ll get an auto-response immediately, which also acts as a potential form-rejection. This may seem lazy, but Amanda’s time is precious — and she goes to the trouble of telling you exactly what will happen with your submission, and what to expect: “If you don’t hear from me within 3 weeks, it’s safe to say that your submission was not accepted. That doesn’t mean that your work was not good enough, & it certainly is nothing personal, it just means that I felt, in my heart, that it wasn’t the right fit at this time. Don’t be discouraged to submit at a later date.” Can you really argue with that?

The submission guidelines are pretty straightforward, too:

Submissions will be accepted based on the quality of the work.

I welcome a broad range of work, any style or form, formal or informal, experimental & conventional. [...]

Does it move me? Is it well-written?

If the answer is yes to both of those questions then the possibility of your work appearing will be greater.

Amanda’s approach to running an e-zine is just totally sane. Being an editor is hard, time consuming work — submitting poetry to publications can be a nerve-wracking and disappointing endeavour. Somehow, Amanda has managed to remove the hassle from both ends of the equation. What’s left is Words Dance — a simple, clean, brilliant e-zine that deserves as many readers as it can get.


Know a publication that deserves a feature? Email me! –> One Night Stanzas loves mail. Say hello via NB: I am physically unable to reply to non-urgent stuff unless I have a free afternoon and a cup of tea in my hand. Please be patient!

(Photo credit)

this collection zine-making workshop: the results

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for any amount of time will know that I am a huge fangirl of zines. From late 2007 to early 2010 I ran my own, Read This Magazine (currently in the process of being dismantled in order to make way for something new, by the way); I am a follower/subscriber of many other small independent literary zines (including The Letter Killeth — see work by Chris Lindores in their latest! — and Words Dance) and will always encourage others to follow my lead. About eighteen months ago I was gifted a huge stack of vintage music fanzines by local Edinburgh zinester and blogger, Nine. All of this somehow led to me leading a zine-making workshop at Tollcross Community Centre on behalf of this collection on Tuesday night.

I just want to say a huge thanks to everyone who came along — not least my sister and Lovely Boyfriend who didn’t have a great deal of choice in the matter. Thanks also to Sean Cartwright, Sue Steele, Julie Logan and Dave Forbes for your attendance and enthusiasm, and thanks of course to Stefanie Tan and everyone at TCC for the inspiration/organisation side of things.

Overall, the workshop was a massive success. I introduced six total zine virgins to a brand new artform, and we created seven beautiful Xeroxed and hand-bound creations to promote poetry, crafting, recycling and counter culture. It was such a success I might even run more! Give me a shout — — if you’d be interested in such a thing. Some photos and a fab timelapse from the evening below…

Assembled zinesters: Steve, Dave, Sue, Julie, Sean, Stefa, Helen and myself.

Organ: Issue 42
Sean checks out some old 90s music fanzines for inspiration.

The cutting and sticking begins!

Steve's zine
Steve, aka Lovely Boyfriend, working on some (rather fabulous) blackout poems

My zine
My zine coming together — this collection needs you!

Dave's zine
Dave’s finished zine — complete with glitter!

Print media is dead: long live zines!

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Make your own poetry zine: workshop

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

5pm — 7pm

Calling all poets!

Come and learn about the awesome art of zine-making: find out a bit about zine culture, read some classic fanzines, and use our resources to create your very own zine — a compendium of your own work that you can give to friends, sell at readings or turn into a series.

You’ll need to bring:

* yourself
* at least one of your poems (printed/typed/handwritten/whatever)
* enthusiasm
* OPTIONAL: stuff to decorate your zine — anything 2D that will stick to a bit of paper. Photos, drawings, newspaper clippings, locks of hair, random scribblings, stickers, ticket stubs –anything that inspires you. We will supply a whole array of this stuff too, but the more you bring, the more original and personal your zine will be!

Come along and meet fellow poets and zine enthusiasts, use our resources and create something cool! All we ask is that you bring along three shiny pounds — this will cover the cost of making copies of your zine for you to take away!

Claire Askew is the Editor in Chief of Read This, a literary zine founded in 2007, based in Edinburgh and printed with assistance from the Forest Free Press. Read This has to date produced twenty issues showcasing the best in poetry, prose and drama from brand new writers worldwide. The zine is due to re-launch soon after a year-long hiatus. Claire is currently reading a PhD in Creative Writing and Contemporary Scottish Poetry at the University of Edinburgh and lectures in Literature and Communication at Edinburgh’s Telford College. Her poetry has been published by The Guardian, Poetry Scotland and The Edinburgh Review, among others, and she also runs the writing blog One Night Stanzas.

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Featured Magazines (meets Things I’m Reading Thursday!) #15: Anon

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Anon Magazine
Editors: Colin Fraser, Peggy Hughes
Established: 2003
Based in: Edinburgh
Submit via: this link

Anon is a very different kind of creative writing magazine. The ultimate experiment in unbiased editing, this publication is all about anonymity, as the name suggests. Writers who wish to submit their work must do so via a top-secret electronic ninja submission form, which means that when the editors receive the poems at the other end, the writer’s identity is totally hidden. Anon pride themselves on judging the submissions they receive on merit alone, but they’re also interested in maintaining a dialogue about the wider concerns that surround editorship in general. Indeed, the magazine has divided opinion. However, although the anonymous approach is not to everyone’s taste, Anon has made quite a name for itself with a new editorial team and a run of successful recent issues that were chock-full of brilliant stuff.

As well as the magazine, the Anon team also produce poetry-related podcasts and are actively involved in a huge variety of literary projects in the wider lit community. The latest issue of Anon is the magazine’s seventh outing, and would be an excellent place to start for anyone wanting to find out more about the magazine. You can buy a copy here. Alternatively, the team are currently running a package deal where you can buy Anon 1 and Anon 6 together — a good way to get a feel for the magazine’s origins but also how it’s changed and developed over the years. Anon is also reliant upon funding and donations, so if you have a few spare pennies and fancy donating them to a very deserving literary cause, head in this direction.

Anon has published some of my favourite upcoming poets including former ONS Featured Poets Christian Ward and Juliet Wilson, former Read This Magazine editor Dave Coates, and in the current issue they’ve also published articles by Alastair Cook of this collection, and DISSIMILAR, and even little old me. A highly recommended read and a great wee magazine to appear in — send them some submissions!

Know a zine, journal or other publication that deserves some recognition? Let me know in the comments box or by emailing!

(Photo by OdeToJoi)

Don’t forget to visit The Read This Store, and its sister store, Edinburgh Vintage!

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Featured Magazines #12: Form.Reborn

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Editor: J S Graustein
Established: 2009
Based in: USA
Submit via email:

I learned about Form.Reborn, a brand new online zine, from poet Christian Ward. At first I was unsure if it was right for me: Christian said they only accepted poems short enough to fit into a text message, and as those of you who have read any of my poetry will know, that’s not really something I do! However, I became much more interested when I discovered that Form.Reborn is so named because these short poems need to be re-works of accepted poetic forms.

Basically, the word-limit is a meagre 140 characters (yes, characters), which is fine for a haiku… but the editor of Form.Reborn is really looking for you to be creative. The F.R twitter feed recently stated: “we’re serious about wanting sonnets!” How can you condense the sonnet form down into 140 characters? That part is up to you!

Jessi (the aforementioned editor) is a very cool customer: incredibly friendly and running a seriously tight ship. Form.Reborn is a threefold project — if your work is accepted, first of all it is published as part of the Form.Reborn Twitter feed, and then on a more permanent site for all your friends and admirers to bookmark. And eventually, Jessi is hoping to collect up enough contributions to create a series of Form.Reborn anthologies, the first of which will be published in February 2010. Heaps of work, but there is a great wealth of fantastic pieces already in the F.R vault… and it’s only been up and running a short while!

There are a few specifications if you want to submit, as you can imagine… but don’t be put off! This stuff is very far removed from what I usually write, but putting together my submission proved to be a really interesting and rewarding exercise! Firstly, each piece needs to be 140 characters or under… short enough to fit into a text. Secondly, it must be in an accepted poetic form: haiku, tanka, sonnet, heroic couplet, blank verse… any form, as long as it has form! Thirdly, Jessi’s main goal is to produce snippets of enjoyable, accessible poetry. She says: “We want vibrant images and concise thought that readers will enjoy whether they’re in a doctor’s waiting room, in line at the grocery store, walking to class…” This formula makes for some unusual and amazing poems… give it a try!

About Form.Reborn: “Form.Reborn is an experimental poetry journal that seeks to boil the essence of form poems down so that they can fit in a mobile phone text message. Some forms can be tweaked easily to fit within the 140 character limit… Others, on the surface, seem to defy the bounds of possibility: villanelle, sonnet, sestina, etc. Can they be done with text-speak? Should they?”

Submission guidelines: “we want digestible poems written in present tense that mobile phone users will enjoy to the point of forwarding. Submissions should be sent in the body of an email to with “submission” in the subject line. Due to the unique formatting we need to use for posting on Twitter, please use your word processor’s wordcount tool to check character count. If your poem contains more than 140 characters (including spaces and punctuation), revise. Be sure to include the title of the poem, its form, your name & pen name, and a link to your bio in your email.”

Know a journal or zine that deserves attention? Drop me a line and tell me about it:!

(Photo by Houseoftext)

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