In beginning Gazing Grain Press with former fellow So to Speak editors M. Mack and Siwar Masannat, we wanted to provide a feminist poetry chapbook contest for poets of all genders and sexualities. We saw a gap in the literary landscape for an inclusive feminist chapbook contest that would promote feminism in a broader way than ever before. Our inaugural contest is open to submissions now through Aug. 1, judged by Brian Teare—please share your work with us! Details below.
While researching other feminist journals, we began a list of all of the wonderful feminist literary organizations, presses, and publications that we could find. That list is available here. If we’re leaving anyone out, please let us know on Facebook or Twitter, or below in So to Speak’s comment box!
There are so many excellent organizations out there today that it’s hard to pick a few favorites (aside from So to Speak and Gazing Grain, of course!) but here are a few (in alphabetical order):
1. A Room of Her Own: Any literary organization that boasts an award called “The Gift of Freedom” has got to catch your attention, right? Said award provides a two-year, $50,000 grant (the biggest of its kind for women writers) to a woman writer based on “talent and motivation.” Aside from the Gift of Freedom, AROHO sponsors an annual conference, retreats, several other contests, a book club, and a publishing house.
2. Arktoi: From Ching-In Chen to Nickole Brown to Elizabeth Bradfield, Eloise Klein Healy, editor of Arktoi, publishes a wide variety of aesthetics, all extremely talented, under this lesbian imprint of Red Hen Press.
3. The Good Men Project: “We are a community of 21st Century thought leaders around the issue of men’s roles in modern life,” The Good Men Project editors proclaim. Indeed, this magazine provides lively intellectual discussions of not just the role of men in modern life, but of how to be a “good” man, as well. The post categories on the site say a good bit about what kind of topics they explore: “Gender, Ethics, Education, Conflict, Sex & Relationships, Dads, Advice & Confessions…”
4. Knockout: Launched in 2007, Knockout takes a unique approach to LGBT publishing: the editors aim to balance each issue to represent a 50/50 mix of queer and straight writers. In an interview with the Minnesota Daily, editor Jeremy Halinen said: “It’s something that I don’t see a lot of other magazines doing, having a diverse group of writers, working to bring them all under one cover.”
5. Lavender Review: Mary Meriam’s Lavender Review publishes writing and art online by, about, and for lesbians. What’s so exciting about Lav Review is that it posts work by established artists alongside up-and-coming names that are fresh, innovative, and fascinating. The journal is lovingly produced, centered around a new theme each issue (fairy tales, night, epithalamion, etc.) and features audio recordings of many of the pieces.
6. Sibling Rivalry: This press is just so cool, they describe themselves better in their own words:
“What we like: LGBT-themed poetry, feminist poetry, narrative poetry, experimental poetry, shocking poetry, political poetry, erotic poetry, prose poetry, poetry paired with art or photography, poetry you wouldn’t want your grandmother to read, poetry rejected by other presses because the poems have been published on a blog, and poetry rejected by other presses because those other presses aren’t as cool as us.”
When submitting a manuscript to the editors, in lieu of a cover letter, writers are asked questions such as: “Which poem from the manuscript would you want found in an archaeological dig thousands of years from now?” and “What song would play at the closing credits of a film based on your manuscript?” They’re also home to the awesome LGBT journal Assaracus. One of their most recent fascinating books is an anthology of LGBT poets writing on faith, religion, and spirituality called Collective Brightness.
7. VIDA: Of course, VIDA and its wonderful, famous, infamous, ever-important “Count.” If you haven’t heard of the Count, click here immediately to see the pie charts—a simple, straightforward breakdown of the numbers of men vs. women published in some of the top literary journals in the country—in 2011. The numbers are worse than you could have guessed. Other writers and bloggers are always trying to make up ridiculous excuses for the Count, which VIDA has responded to. Reading the commentary on the Count is fascinating, and many insightful articles about the numbers can be found under the group’s Resources page.
8. Weave: I knew Weave was special when they sent me the simplest solution ever for a journal to use to determine whether it is meeting its standards of diversity: a contributor survey. I went on and on about it here. But seriously, Weave is doing great things for promoting diversity in the writers it features—a commitment that’s summed up in their name. Visit them at AWP and you will walk away with a big, silly grin on your face. Their journal always looks quirky and beautiful, the work they publish is top-notch, and they are nice people to boot.
Alyse Knorr is a co-editor at Gazing Grain Press, which features an inclusive feminist chapbook contest open now until Aug. 1. If you’re interested in submitting to Gazing Grain Press, please visit our website to learn more.