Written by A Guest Author February 22nd, 2021

34 Journals Publishing Very Short Prose & Poetry

By Zebulon Huset

“For Sale: Baby Shoes, never worn.” This is one of the most widely known microfiction pieces, often attributed to Ernest Hemingway, though that attribution is tenuous. William Carlos Williams’ poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” would be an example of one of the best known very short poems clocking in at a debatable 17 words. And while these masterpieces are quite settled in the zeitgeist, minimalist writing in general doesn’t have an easy time finding a place amongst more expansive and fleshed out works that inhabit most literary magazines. Sure you’ll find one or two short prose poems or maybe some linked haiku in your average journal, but a six word story or five-lined poem won’t as often be found just anywhere.

Following are a number of journals that are either dedicated to minimalist works, or who dedicate a fair amount of the space in their journal to the pursuit of the iceberg, the gem—writing that is small in word count but large in impact.

Air/Light, Not exclusively minimalistic, Air/Light has featured numerous short poems in their limited history, especially their first issue. A Los Angeles-based journal that “approaches the literary arts from a Southern California perspective” and is looking for “new and innovative works of literary arts across all mediums and genres.” They read all year.

Blue River Review, An eclectic electronic journal from Creighton University. They certainly don’t only publish short work but their prose tops out at 2000 words maximum, and they frequently publish poems that are shorter than ten lines. They read all year.

Bluepepper, Bluepepper publishes a couple pieces a week at their online blog-style magazine. Not exclusively for short work, their prose limit is 1500 words and they frequently feature poetry that is under ten lines.

Brazenhead Review, Featuring a unique design, Brazenhead Review is an online journal of new writing that emphasizes that seeks “open dialogues on a myriad of topics” and “especially those texts that are uncategorizable, boundary-breaking, and multiplicitous.” They read all year.

Dead Fern Press, Dead Fern Press is a relatively new online journal, they publish a wide variety of work with their prose limited to 3000 words and under, and their newest issue features a number of very short poems and a 400 word story. They read most of the year, closing for April, August and December.

elsewhere, A self-styled ‘journal of prose poetry’, elsewhere is looking for short prose pieces that “that cross, blur, and/or mutilate genre”. Published roughly biannually in both print and online versions, and while their limit is 1000 words, in the newest issue six of the nine pieces were under 300 words. They read all year. (no submission guidelines page, clicking submit takes you to their Submittable page)

Eunoia Review, Eunoia Review publishes new writing every day from one or sometimes two writers at their blog-style magazine. Eclectic, they publish very short and very long work (15,000 word maximum for prose). They DO NOT read simultaneous submissions. They read all year.

Hoot, A ‘postcard review of {mini} poetry’, they publish poems under 10 lines and prose under 150 words monthly, one piece in print and 1-4 online. They read on a rolling basis.

Impossible Task, The online journal of short works from Chicago press Another New Calligraphy, they want “connected in its exploration of conflict, a term open to interpretation though ever present in these increasingly challenging times.” They read all year.

Lucky Jefferson, They say Lucky Jefferson “isn’t your typical literary journal—we generate constructive and interactive conversations around poetry, art, and publishing and redefine the way journals are produced and shared with readers and writers.” They frequently publish very short poetry and in their prose guidelines say “Microfiction is what’s up”. They read for issue deadlines, the current deadline for no-fee ‘early bird’ submissions is February 28, 2021.

Microfiction Monday, Publishing only stories under 100 words on the first Monday of every month, Microfiction Monday believes in the possibilities of tiny texts saying “If done right, microfiction can pack a big punch in a small space, allowing the busy reader the ability to absorb a fantastic story in under a minute.” They read submissions all year.

Minnow Literary Magazine, Publishing minnow-sized works, Minnow Literary Magazine is looking for micro-poetry (under 150 words), flash fiction (under 500 words) and personal essays (under 1500 words). They read for issue deadlines, the current deadline being April 16, 2021.

Monkeybicycle While the journal reads stories up to 2000 words for their website, they also have a ‘One-sentence stories’ category where they publish, well, stories that are only one sentence. They read all year. (clicking submit takes you to their Submittable page)

Nailpolish Stories, A ‘Tiny and Colorful Literary Journal’, publishing only stories that are exactly 25 words, Nailpolish Stories expects “emotional impact, wants to be knocked off kilter momentarily by your work, and to enjoy the language along the way.”

Nanoism, A weekly publishing journal of ‘twitter-length fiction’ which is under 140 characters including spaces, with no titles. They encourage short, funky bios, and they read submissions all year.

One Sentence Poems, They discourage semicolons but want your one- sentence poems to have at least one line break and be a grammatically correct sentence—but just one! They read all year.

Press Pause Press, Published online in issues, and averse to social media, Press Pause Press publishes all types of writing, but their newest issue features many short poems and flash/micro fiction pieces. They read all year.

Red Eft Review, This is a blog-style (individual pieces published as opposed to issues) an online publication dedicated to accessible poetry. They DO NOT read simultaneous submissions but they do read all year.

Shot Glass Journal, In the Muse Pie Press family, Shot Glass Journal is an online journal that publishes issues of poetry under 16 lines. They read all year.

Spartan, An online quarterly journal of minimalist prose, Spartan is closed one month every quarter and while their word limit is 1500, much of what they publish is far lower.

Star 82 Review, While Star 82 Review allows pieces up to 750 words for fiction, the average word count of fiction in their newest issue was 227, and that’s with a 600+ word piece throwing the curve. They publish poems as well in their ‘hidden gems’ section. They read all year.

Tiny Molecules, An online quarterly of flash prose, their word limit is 1000, but many of the pieces they publish are under 300 words. They say “We love flash, we love experimental, we love saying something big in a small space” and read on a rolling basis.

Trouvaille Review, Publishing individual poems frequently in the blog-style journal, Trouvaille Review frequently features poems under ten lines. They also almost always respond in under 24 hours and read all year.

Unbroken, A quarterly online journal of prose poetry and poetic prose (“the block, the paragraph, the unlineated prose”), they aren’t looking for ‘ordinary’, indicating “We want dark and disquieting, we want fanciful and funny, we want surreal and surprising.” They read for six weeks and then take a six-week break, with their current deadline being March 20, 2021.

Versification, A journal of punk microworks, Versification publishes poetry under 5 lines and fiction under 100 words. They aren’t looking for pretty flowers, “we want the grit under your nails. We want to hear about your struggles, your dark, your haunting, or your disturbed.”

Visitant, A blog-style online literary journal with “the goal of nurturing experimental writing and art”, Visitant has a maximum word count of 1500 words but they do publish a fair share of very short work as well. They read submissions all year.

Currently Closed

Alba, A semi-annual journal dedicated to poetry (mostly) under 12 lines mostly free verse, but also forms like cinquain, tanka, haiku and others. They only read submissions during June or December.

Frost Meadow Review, This print journal out of the upper north east region publishes all sorts of writing, but that includes a good amount of short poetry. Their preferred themes include “natural world relationships, New England living, small farms, coastal communities, ecology and hope through darkness”. They read just in January.

Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Publishing “micro fiction, flash fiction, prose poetry, compressed poetry & visual arts, and whatever other forms compression might take.” Their reading periods are 3/15-6/15 and 9/15-12/15.

Molecule, Their word limit including title is 50 words. Molecule is an online journal publishing poetry, prose, plays, interviews, reviews, and visual art of tiny things twice annually. They read submissions from December 1st through January 15th.

The Gravity of the Thing (Six words), They publish short stories up to 3000 words, flash and poetry up to 500 words, but they also have a “Six Word Story” category that minimalists will definitely be excited about. They read on a rolling basis, next opening on March 1, 2021.

50 Word Stories, Publishing one 50-word story every day and then featuring one of those stories as a ‘Story of the month’, 50 Word Stories is for exactly what it says—no more and no less. 51 words, thou shalt not write, and 52 is right out. They read from the first through the fifteen of every month.

Sonic Boom, Publishing three times a year as digital issues, Sonic Boom is looking for “Japanese short-forms of poetry, avant-garde, conceptual, and postmodern works of culture and art.” Their next reading period will be in October, limiting general poetry submissions to under 25 lines and prose under 500 words.

Bonus plug

Coastal Shelf, While the journal itself isn’t dedicated to very short works, their Ceiling 200 Contest is for prose pieces under 200 words which has no fee for the first piece entered and a $250 first prize. Deadline is March 5, 2021.

Zebulon Huset is a teacher, writer and photographer living in San Diego. He won the Gulf Stream 2020 Summer Poetry Contest and his writing has appeared in Meridian, The Southern Review, Fence, Atlanta Review & Texas Review among others. He produces the writing prompt and publishing blog Notebooking Daily, edits the journals Coastal Shelf and Sparked, and recommends literary journals at TheSubmissionWizard.com.


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