Quirky, Funky & Strange—94 Awesome Literary Magazines with Odd Names

Written by A Guest Author

Zebulon Huset

Over the years I’ve developed a soft spot in my heart for journals with quirky titles. There are thousands of ‘this region’ Reviews, and ‘this river’ Magazines or ‘this college’ Journals, and while I certainly love a lot of the classically titled journals as well, there’s just something endearing and intriguing about a journal with a name like Monkeybicycle or Kissing Dynamite or A Velvet Giant or Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit.

Also, there is an interesting confluence of journal names despite the huge variety, so sometimes it can make you wonder if the matrix is glitching when we have Hedge Apple and Menacing Hedge magazines, as well as both The Gravity of the Thing and The Thing Itself? Both a Bad Pony and an Okay Donkey.

However, there’s often a lot you can tell about a journal from its name aside from just the region where it’s located. I’ve noticed a lot of the journals with more ‘fun’ names also dig more adventurous writing, and are often more amenable to using pop culture or blue language or more marginal content than the standard college lit mag.

Most, but not all, of these are open for submissions now.

The Journals:

(mac)ro(mic) is an online journal of very short prose (under 1000 words) that reads email submissions all year. They are looking for “pieces that tell a (mac)ro story in a (mic)ro word count.”

‘Pider is an online magazine of experimental poetry that reads email submissions year round. Reading the newest issue is the best way to get a feel for what they want, they describe themselves as “A place of work that lets.”

A Public Space is a very popular print magazine that reads submissions via Submittable and is frequently featured in year-end ‘best of’ anthologies, they pay authors an ‘honorarium’.

A Velvet Giant calls themselves a ‘genreless’ magazine, and are looking for work that “breaks everything down so that it can build.” They read email submissions all year and pay authors $20.

After the Pause is an online journal of experimental poetry, flash fiction and art, with strong ties to the Midwest. They accept emailed submissions year round.

Always Crashing is a journal of experimental writing that appears both online and in print that wants to “watch you break things”. They read email submissions all year.

Bad Pony is a quirky online journal that reads no-fee email submissions during a spring window.

Belle Ombre is an online journal that is beginning a print component in 2021. They read all genres via email submission all year round.

Birdfeast reads no-fee submissions via Submittable (a limited number per month). They are looking for “work that doesn’t fit neatly into boxes”.

Biscuit Root Drive is an eclectic online journal that reads all genres via email submissions all year. They’re looking for “art that explores setting (nature, city, home) but then evolves & goes into unexpected territory”.

Bitter Oleander is a long-running print journal and press that is often found in year-end ‘best of’ anthologies. They seek “works whose imaginations open our eyes to a world we thought we knew but were mistaken” and read no-fee submissions via Submittable.

BOAAT is an online journal that publishes really interesting work.

Cacti Fur is an online poetry journal that says they “celebrate accessible work. We celebrate meaning before style”. They publish weekly, and read email submissions all year.

CALAMITY is a journal of experimental poetry and art that reads email submissions all year. Not looking for standard fare, they want “something new, something urgent. Send us something that will wreck us.”

Cease, Cows is a journal of poetry and short fiction that reads (mostly) year-round. They’re looking for offbeat pieces and “just plain weird fictions”.

City. River. Tree. is an online journal of flash fiction that publishes roughly once a week and reads email submissions all year—they pay authors $.02 a word.

Clade Song is an online journal that is looking for “the literary examination of the animal world and all of its behavioral niches” and reads email submissions all year.

Claw and Blossom is an online journal looking for work that is “touched by the natural world”. They read no-fee submissions via Submittable and pay their writers $25. They are currently reading for their theme “Water”.

Coastal Shelf is an online journal that reads a limited number of submissions for no fee each month and has two contests they’re running in 2021 with no-fee entry options. They pay authors $30. Full disclosure, the author of this article runs Coastal Shelf.

Cosmonauts Avenue is an online journal with a slick new design that is looking for adventurous work, or as they put it “we want to see your guts. Send us your rage, your rapture, your far-out and witty thoughts”. They read no-fee submissions via Submittable in all genres.

Cotton Xenomorph is an online journal that reads email submissions of poetry or flash fiction September through May “with the mission to showcase new, and ecstatic art while reducing language of oppression in our community”.

Counterclock is an online journal that is “attracted to experimentation, innovation, and beauty”. They read email submissions of poetry and prose in irregular windows.

Crack the Spine is an approachable online journal that publishes ‘year end’ print anthologies also. Looking for “Chip-your-teeth-on-it writing. Punched-in-the-throat writing,” they read Submittable submissions in all genres year round.

Deep Overstock is an online and print journal that publishes issues of all genres themed after different categories you might find in a bookstore. They have rolling issue deadlines, for Mystery the deadline is February 28th, after which they start reading for the next issue.

Dodging the Rain is an approachable online poetry journal based in Galway, Ireland. They read email submissions all year.

Doubly Mad is an online journal based in New York that reads email submissions year round, “with an emphasis on people working and living in Central New York, though not to the exclusion of our neighbors throughout the U.S. and around the world.”

DREGINALD is an online journal that is “not particular when it comes to form/genre”. They read no-fee submissions via Submittable all year in poetry or prose.

E·ratio is an online poetry journal of adventurous work, or in their enigmatic words, they want “poetry in the postmodern idioms with an emphasis on the intransitive”. They read email submissions all year but do NOT read simultaneous submissions.

Empty Mirror is an online journal that publishes nonfiction and poetry weekly. They read no-fee submissions via Submittable all year.

EX/POST is an online journal of experimental writing that accepts no-fee submissions via Duosuma.

Fleas on the Dog is an online journal “for those who are on the avant garde and outside the box”. They publish massive issues and read email submissions.

FRiGG Magazine is a uniquely-designed online magazine published twice a year. They read no-fee submissions in all genres via Submittable all year.

Ghost Parachute is a monthly online journal of flash fiction that wants “writing that is unapologetically bold. We wish to lose ourselves in fresh and vibrant imagery.” They read no-fee submissions of flash fiction via Submittable all year.

Ghost Proposal is an online journal that is looking for writing “that is aware of its own topography. We like work that engages with thought process”. They accept submissions of poetry, hybrid and post-genre work via Submittable.

Gigantic Sequins is “happy to be your favorite black & white print literary arts journal”. They have a unique design aesthetic and read all genres for no fee via Submittable.

Gone Lawn is an online journal of fiction and prose poetry that wants “sincere, well-written, imaginative, unusual and/or innovative works that charm and displace us”. They read no-fee submissions via Submittable all year.

GRAVITON is an online literary magazine “committed to exploring the sacred connection between science &  poetry & visual art”. They read email submissions of poetry or art all year.

Harpur Palate is a long-running print journal from Binghamton University. They read all genres via Submittable.

Hedge Apple is the online journal of Hagerstown Community College. They read all genres year round via email submissions.

Indefinite Space is a print journal of experimental writing. They want poetry “from minimalist to avant-garde” and as well state that “guidelines do not exist.” They read email submissions all year.

Into the Void is a Canadian lit journal that “pushes the boundaries of comfort and vulnerability” and they read a limited number of no-fee submissions via Submittable every month that they’re open.

Jam & Sand is an online Canadian literary journal that publishes prose and poetry of all types, including “Prose poems and experimental styles are completely fine – and encouraged”. They read email submissions all year, just don’t use Courier font!

Jelly Bucket is slang for a miner’s lunch box, as well as the print journal out of Eastern Kentucky University. They read no-fee submissions via Submittable from July until December 1st.

Jet Fuel Review is an online literary journal out of Lewis University that reads submissions of all genres via Submittable. They can accept a limited number of submissions during their reading periods.

Juke Joint is an online poetry journal out of the American south that wants “your lyrical, your narrative, your found, your erased, your not-quite-sure-it’s-a-poem poem(s)”. They read email submissions all year.

K’in is an online literary journal out of Longwood University. They’re looking for “Experimental, traditional, playful, prayerful, celebratory, challenging: human—try us. Show us a new way to tell one of the millions of stories under that glorious sun.” They read no-fee submissions via Submittable.

Kissing Dynamite is an online poetry and art journal that reads email submissions the first ten days of every month, and each month publishes an issue with 12 poems around a rough theme.

Lake Effect is the well-regarded and long-running print out of Penn State Behrend. They often appear in year-end anthologies and read no-fee submissions via Submittable all year.

Lost Balloon is an online journal of flash prose that looks for “work that entertains and challenges, that pushes boundaries and breaks hearts.” They’re open for email submissions the first 7 days of each month, excluding breaks.

Lotus-eater is an online journal of English writing based in Rome. Their “aesthetic is dark, eclectic, often experimental. We are interested in daring, unusual writing and striking images.” They read email submissions all year.

Lucky Jefferson is a literary journal that is both print and online and prints ‘themed’ issues. They read all genres for no fee via Submittable for ‘early bird’ submissions then allow tipped submissions following that.

Maudlin House is an online journal that considers themselves “a bridge between new form fiction and experimental lit that takes on mainstream pop culture through the lens of 21st-century indie art.” They read poetry and prose submissions for no fee via Submittable all year.

Menacing Hedge is an online journal “committed to fostering access to emerging and experimental poetry and prose”. Apart from original work, they accept pieces which had previously been published in print only, and read no-fee submissions of poetry and short prose via Submittable all year.

Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit is an online lit mag elegantly designed broadsides. They are  “looking for prose and poetry that is exciting, incinerating, inclusive, accessible, and audacious.” They read no-fee submissions through Submittable.

Miracle Monocle is the print journal out of Louisville University looking for “work that enlivens us. Remind us why we love to read.” They read no-fee submissions in all genres via Submittable.

Monday Night is an online journal that began in print and is celebrating their twentieth year in publication in 2021. They look for writers “who are often overlooked by mainstream literary culture”.

Monkeybicycle is a journal of short fiction whose tastes are as funky as their name. They also publish “One-sentence stories” and read no-fee submissions all year via Submittable.

new sinews is an online journal of experimental writing that wants “generally: striving to make unexpected juxtapositions; especially: seeking writing that is historically keen”. They read email submissions all year for fiction and poetry.

Okay Donkey is an online lit mag that publishes a poem every Monday and a flash fiction every Friday. They read email submissions most of the year and want “to read both literary and genre-bending work, but no gratuitous sex or violence”.

Otoliths is a place for adventures in experimentation. Published out of New Zealand for over a decade, this journal gives writers room to explore. They read email submissions all year with issue deadlines.

Oxidant | Engine is an online journal of poetry that leans experimental, or as they put it they have “eclectic tastes.  It’s not that we don’t have aesthetic preferences; it’s just that we can’t settle on what they are”. They read email submissions all year.

perhappened mag is a bi-monthly themed online journal of poetry and prose. “Perhappened” is a portmanteau of “perhaps” and “happened,” which highlights its focus on those peculiar experiences that make you wonder: “was that real, or did i just imagine it?” They read email submissions all year with rolling deadlines for their themes.

Petrichor is an online literary journal of experimental poetry that really embraces the avant-garde. They read email submissions all year.

Pigeonholes is an online literary journal that reads no-fee submissions via Submittable from 1st to 10th of every month until they hit 600, when they close until the next month. They want work that is “Literary, speculative, experimental, or absurdly unclassifiable, just make it bold and beautifully written.”

Pithead Chapel is an online journal of art and prose looking for work to “make us feel something. We want to reach the last word and immediately crave more. We want your work to leave a brilliant bruise”.

Prairie Schooner is the long-running print literary journal from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that often pops up in year-end ‘best of’ anthologies. They do NOT read simultaneous submissions, but they do read all genres for no fee via Submittable.

Qwerty Magazine is the University of New Brunswick’s graduate student-run and artistically designed print lit mag. The Canadian journal reads a limited number of no-fee submissions each reading period via Submittable in all genres. Their current issue deadline is 2/14 for the theme Food x Identity. This is a special issue, the call is for 2SQ+BIPOC artists only.

Redivider is an online journal from Emerson College that dubs itself “A Journal for New Literature”, published twice a year. They read no-fee and tip-jar submissions all year via Submittable in all genres.

Riddle Fence is “a vehicle for fast-paced literature from Newfoundland and Labrador, across Canada, and around the world”. The Canadian print journal publishes three times a year and reads email submissions of all genres year-round.

Right Hand Pointing is an online journal of short poetry and flash fiction. Their tastes are for pieces that are “Short, of course. Generally minimalist as a result. Highly imagistic, yet often containing an implied plot or at least a first- or third-person character. They revel in ambiguity but aren’t ever deliberately obscure”. They read no-fee submissions via Submittable all year.

Rumble Fish Quarterly is an online literary journal out of Virginia. They want “your coolest, deepest, most fun, most emotionally power-packed prose, poetry, or hybrid genre-bending triumph of autotheory” and read no-fee submissions all year via Submittable.

Rust + Moth is an eclectic online and print quarterly journal that’s been around since 2008. They’re looking for work that “errs on the side of immediacy, strong images, and heartfelt innovation.” They also pride themselves on their “quick turnaround time from submission to publication”.

S/Word is an online journal of experimental writing. (Note, the name being crossed out is part of their deliberate name.) They are seeking “impossible expressions of beauty and power in language” and “the dissolution of language, its breaking point, so that we may know the Word through apophasis”. They read no-fee submissions of poetry or prose all year via Submittable.

Simple Machines is a new online journal of poetry that reads for issue deadlines. They see “Language as a lever, a wedge, or a screw, an elemental human instrument of magic modifying motion and force to perform the most difficult of labors, love—itself a simple machine.”

Sixth Finch is an online quarterly journal of poetry and art that reads no-fee submissions with issue deadlines. Their poetry is frequently featured in year-end ‘best of’ anthologies.

Slippery Elm is a print journal with an online supplement from the University of Findlay in northwestern Ohio. They have issue deadlines, and they read no-fee submissions in all genres via Submittable.

SOFTBLOW is an online journal of innovative poetry. Unapologetically about their taste, they tell us “This journal does not pretend to exist for a general reading audience. It is for unswerving lovers of poetry who also appreciate how far poetry has come over time” and they read email submissions all year.

Soundings East is an annual print journal from Salem State University. Established in 1973, they are one of the longer running print journals and read no-fee submissions via Submittable from September 1st through February 15th.

Steam Ticket is a print literary journal produced by students and faculty at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a small online sampling. They read email submissions of all genres for individual issues with the current deadline being March 15th.

Storm Cellar is a print journal with an online supplemental. Not looking for safe writing, they call themselves “a journal of safety and danger. We want your prose, poems, chimeras, and ideas penned on envelopes in buses and train cars.” They read no-fee submissions via Submittable all year.

Streetcake is an online journal of experimental writing that’s been publishing for more than a decade.

The Cafe Irreal is an online journal of fantastical flash fiction that reads email submissions year round. They do NOT read simultaneous submissions and pay authors $.01 a word.

The Collidescope is an online journal that publishes frequently and looks for work “that is subversive in nature, that is art for art’s sake.” They read email submissions in all genres year-round.

The Felt is an online journal of experimental writing from the Pratt Institute’s MFA program that states they “strive to publish disobedient and daring work that invites departure, resistance, engagement, and the collaborative, tender-hearted making of new knowledge.” They read no-fee submissions via Submittable all year.

The Gravity of the Thing is an online literary magazine that publishes on a rolling basis which is “dedicated to the publication of innovative and defamiliarized writing.” They read email submissions in windows.

The /tƐmz/ Review is an online Canadian journal looking to “reflect a wide variety of editorial perspectives and publish an eclectic mix of writing”. They read no fee submissions for individual issues through the Moksha system, all genres. The current deadline is April 1.

The Thing Itself is the saddle-stitched print literary journal out of Our Lady of the Lake University’s MFA program in San Antonio Texas.

tiny molecules is an online journal of flash fiction that says “We love flash, we love experimental, we love saying something big in a small space”. They read email submissions, normally all year.

tiny spoon is “a bite sized experimental literary magazine” which appears in print with themed issues. They’re looking for writing that “pushes the boundaries of conventional genres; work that is daring, experimental, innovative, quirky, thoughtful, vulnerable, electric, eccentric.”

What are Birds? Is a quirky online journal of poetry and short prose that asks both for your “your pronouns and your favorite bird”. However, the quirk isn’t to be taken too literally as they “recommend you do not send poetry about birds unless you feel extremely confident in the work.” They read during submission windows.

Where is the River is an online poetry journal that is “open to a variety of aesthetics, forms and experiences, with a preference towards showcasing work by emerging writers”. They read email submissions all year.

Whiskey Tit is a press and an online journal that “attempts to restore degradation and degeneracy to the literary arts. We are unwilling to sacrifice intellectual rigour, unrelenting playfulness, and visual beauty”. They prefer experimental writing and read no-fee submissions in all genres via Submittable year round.

Wildness is a UK-based online journal of inventive writing that has appeared in multiple year-end anthologies. They read email submissions all year.

XRAY Lit is an online journal of prose that is looking for “uncomfortable, entertaining, and unforgettable prose that shines brighter than the skeleton in your body”. They read submissions of fiction and nonfiction for no fee via Submittable all year.


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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