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Creative Writing: Literary Magazines at Milne

Resources for Creative Writing students or prospective Creative Writing students. Includes library resources, information about literary magazines, and information about the Creative Writing department.

What is a Literary Magazine?

Literary magazines are periodicals devoted to publishing literature in the broadest sense. They are typically looking for submissions of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, art, interviews with authors, and book reviews. Literary magazines are not dedicated to making money. They exist for the pure platform of art. The wonderful thing about literary magazines is that they publish high-quality work that is bold, rich, and relevant. 

ENGL 426/428 is a great way to learn about literary magazines: what it takes to create them, what their goals are, and the reasons why literary magazines exist. 

Gandy Dancer

Gandy Dancer is SUNY Geneseo's print and online literary magazine. Students of all majors have the opportunity to put together the magazine by enrolling in ENGL 426/428. If you are thinking of enrolling in the class or submitting to Gandy Dancer, please look through the online version of the lit mag here: Be sure to read the "About" section of the website to understand what Gandy Dancer strives to accomplish as a magazine. You can also buy physical copies of Gandy Dancer! All of the issues have something beautiful to offer! You can purchase a copy of the most recent Gandy Dancer here: Past issues of Gandy Dancer are also selectively available on Amazon. 

Literary Journals at Milne

  • Click the "Journals" section located right above the Search Bar on the Milne homepage. 
  • Type the journal you're looking for to see if it's available online for Milne Databases. 

Right now, Milne has access for Writer's Digest, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and many more through the databases paid for by Milne. 

There is also Browzine, a browser that allows readers to view the contents of literary magazines through ProQuest. The selection available is small, but the browser will at least give you an idea as to what is published in a literary magazine. Here's the link:

There is also the literary magazine library outside Welles 331


FUSE is the Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors. Because of Gandy Dancer, SUNY Geneseo has our own chapter! Professor Rachel Hall is currently the professor linked to FUSE. The chapter at Geneseo attempts to meet several times during the semester to talk about the work the chapter has been doing. Every year, Gandy Dancer attends the FUSE conference. The purpose of this conference is to talk literary magazines: how they're changing, the nature of submissions, and the literature published. Gandy Dancer also runs a panel; the topic changes depending on the interests of the members going to the conference. Because of FUSE, Geneseo students are also able to attend AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs). This conference exposes writers to an even more professional platform of writers, and allows them to participate in workshops and lectures.




Submitting to Literary Magazines

Literary magazines are the most common starting points for emerging writers like yourself. The goal of a literary magazine is to publish quality work, but the magazines aren’t concerned with turning a profit. Those involved in the process of putting together the literary journal are often volunteers with a background in creative writing, and a deep love affair with literature. The subject material of a literary magazine often has no bounds; journals are only looking to publish evocative, well-written, and brave prose or poetry that lingers long after it has been read. Student-run literary magazines are a great way to begin submitting your work. Most of them don’t have pesky reading fees, and they are run by graduate or undergraduate students. It’s an excellent way for emerging writers to help each other gain experience in publishing.

 Gandy Dancer is a highly reputable literary magazine to submit to, but there are also plenty of other magazines looking for great submissions. Below is a list comprised of literary magazines looking to publish college students.

  • The Manhattanville Review, Pace University
  • Aurora, University of Kentucky
  • Susquehanna Review, Susquehanna University 
  • Blue Earth Review, Minnesota State University
  • Poetry South, Mississippi University for Women
  • Blackbird, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Switchback, University of San Francisco
  • The Journal, Ohio State University
  • BOOTH, Butler Univeristy
  • Santa Ana River Review, University of Colorado
  • Angles, St. John Fisher
  • The Finger, Finger Lakes Community College
  • Glass, Glass Poetry Press
  • Peach, Based in Buffalo

Poets and Writers has also composed a list of literary magazines run by graduate and undergraduate programs:

Increasing Your Chances of Publication

Writer's looking to publish are responsible for researching the magazine they're submitting to. This is easier than you might expect; literary magazines specifically outline the requirements for prospective submissions. These requirements are usually found on the webpage through which you submit your prose or poetry. You should also be aware of what type of literature the magazine is looking for. Are there themes or tones repeated in the published work? Then you must ask yourself if your work is the best "fit" for the magazine. It may come about that you get published to an off-tone literary magazine; stranger things have happened. But as a writer, you also have the responsibility of finding the best home for your literary work. Be considerate of your writing when you submit. Make sure you're happy with the publisher. 

Below are some things you should be aware of when you're submitting:

  1. Always read the magazine's requirement for submissions. There is no need to go through the pain of rejection just because you didn't remove your name from the top of your prose/poem. 
  2. Format your submission properly. Here's a visual example to help you: Note that this example is for prose, but poets should notice the heading required of a submission.
  3. Proofread your work! You are attempting to come off as a promising, eloquent writer. Typos and grammatical errors ruin this facade. 
  4. Create an excellent cover letter. Cover letters are written in third person and are always professional. Example: Gabrielle Esposito is a freshman at SUNY Geneseo. If her short story "Eighteen" is accepted for publication at Aurora, this will be her first publication. Please note that this is a multiple submission. 
  5. A multiple submission is a story that you have submitted to several literary magazines. Some publishers will not accept multiple submissions, while others simply request that you notify them about it. Remember that you will have to remove your multiple submission if it is accepted elsewhere. 
  6. Read the online version (or any version) of the literary magazine you are planning to submit to. This will give you a better idea as to whether or not your prose or poetry is right for that magazine.