For the second installment in our Submissions Series, we’ve plumbed the depths of the lit mag internet for the weirdly wonderful and the wondrously weird. Where do you send your zombie poems, your boyfriend-turned-into-an-opossum poem, your ode to the Cheesy Gordita Crunch ™? Here’s your starter deck of the best and the bizarre-est, the uncanny canned goods, the sparkling and the spooky.
Always Crashing is a lit mag that publishes both annual print issues and year-round online features. In addition to the traditional categories of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, this journal also wants your “collage text, visual collage, video, labyrinths, manifestos, and the generically transgressive.” Their weirdness lasers are set to stun and their contributors are at work pushing the visual and verbal boundaries of form. Always Crashing is also always open for submissions.
Barrelhouse is an attractive print journal that also publishes online feature content and its editors have a hankering for your pop-culture-flavored weirdness. Send them your ekphrastic fantasies about your favorite low-budget B-horror movies and synth-infused, auto-tuned, one-hit wonders with the really good bass line. It’s also a paying publication! Barrelhouse is pretty but aloof, so it opens for submissions on an irregular schedule. You’ll have to check back on their site when you have work to send or just keep up with them on Twitter and Facebook.
BWR’s Boyfriend Village
Boyfriend Village is an online offshoot of Black Warrior Review that publishes one curated issue a year, dedicated to the memory and imagination of previous BWR editor, Zach Doss. With previous issues titled “The Delicious Boyfriend,” “The Fox Boyfriend,” and “The Double Negative Boyfriend,” you can probably get a nebulous idea of the kind of weirdness they’re looking for. The recipe I’m currently eyeing is two parts fairy-tale-fabulism, one part dysfunctional-love-story, and one part lonely-dystopia-that-looks-strangely-like-your-own-neighborhood. Mix until ingredients are just combined. No soggy bottoms (unless you like soggy bottoms). It’s also a paying publication! Boyfriend Village is not currently open for submissions—but be sure to check back on the BoVi website in late 2019/early 2020 for news on that front.
Coffin Bell is an online lit mag that publishes four issues a year. CB is your goth girlfriend, who likes to remind you that just under your pretty face is a perfect little skull. She might love the moon a little more than she loves you, but that’s okay. CB’s editorial team likes their weirdness dark and lush, so send them your spooky horror poems and your wildly witchy hauntings. Coffin Bell is open for submissions year-round with rolling deadlines.
Conduit is a print journal that publishes two issues a year. Their taste in weirdness is pretty wide-ranging—so what exactly do they publish? They believe that a “vigorous imagination is one that is cross-pollinated by diverse areas of human inquiry.” They also do interviews with astronomers, ethnobotanists, artists, historians, etc. So, get a little weird with science and art and history! Then send them your poems. Conduit is open for submissions year-round.
Fairy Tale Review is an annual print journal with more than a vested interest in the future of fabulism and fairy-tale weirdness. In the tradition of Andrew Lang’s series of Fairy Books, each issue is given a color—yellow, aquamarine, red, mauve, emerald, ochre, translucent, charcoal, pink, coral, gold—and that color becomes a loose theme around which the weirdness gathers to warm its hands. Fairy Tale Review is usually open for submissions in the spring, so be sure to check back at their website in February for details.
FIVE:2:ONE is a print journal that publishes four issues a year, in addition to a daily online series called #thesideshow. These editors have a craving for cross-genre and found poetry weirdness. They definitely want your “experimental weird babies.” Is your poem a two-headed calf in a jar, with each precious head in a different genre? Send it here. FIVE:2:ONE is open for submissions year-round with rolling deadlines.
Grimoire is an online lit mag that publishes two issues a year and they want your full-on witchy weirdness over here! In addition to poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, they also publish “literary séances of authors in conversation with their dead influences, an advice column for people who like their wisdom haunted, spells that read like poems, and curated lists.” Sharpen your pencils and your planchettes! And remember to summon responsibly. Grimoire is open for submissions year-round with rolling deadlines.
Heavy Feather Review is a print mag that also publishes work online in the evocatively titled feature categories of: “Flavortown USA,” “Bad Survivalist,” “Haunted Passages,” and “#NoMorePresidents.” If your preferred brand of weird is a one-stop-literary-shop for a bucket of fried chicken, fun in a fallout shelter, and creepy cryptids, then I have good news for you! Heavy Feather Review is open for submissions to their online features year-round.
Luna Luna is an online lit mag whose weirdness is ethereal light magic and practical ritual and empowerment of those left in the shadows. If astrology and tarot and intersectional feminism is your jam, then Luna Luna is the coven for you. Luna Luna was open for submissions this summer in June and July. Check back with their website and social media accounts in the coming months for future open reading periods.
NonBinary Review is an online lit mag publishing quarterly issues of intertextual weirdness. For each issue, they choose a work of fiction in the public domain and ask contributors pull to it apart piece by piece and build them new and stranger beasts. Their contributors have reinvented and retold texts from literary classic The Odyssey to Clive Barker’s campy horror series Books of Blood.
Okay Donkey is an online lit mag that publishes new work weekly—poems on Mondays and flash fiction on Fridays. They like their weirdness funny and they also like it sad. They want a good oddball tragicomedy to send them off to bed with oddball dreams. They’re not especially worried about coloring in the genre lines or even in the reality lines. Okay Donkey is open for submissions year-round.
Rogue Agent is online journal that publishes a new issue each month. These editors want all your body weirdness—your blood, your guts, the things that happen to a body and the things a body makes happen. They want the weirdness on your skin and under your nerves. Rogue Agent is open for submissions year-round with rolling deadlines.
Taco Bell Quarterly is an online lit mag that is absolutely a real thing and I am so glad it exists. Their particular weirdness is cheesy, melty, crunchy literary goodness that tastes even better with a couple of fire sauce packets. Obviously, the Taco Bell Arts & Letters (also real) don’t take themselves too seriously and that’s exactly what TBQ asks of its contributors—let down your hair and indulge in the specific flavor of Americana that is a large Baja Blast, lots of nacho cheese, and late nights in a sticky plastic laminate booth under nightmarish fluorescent lighting. Taco Bell Quarterly is currently open for submissions year-round and the drive-thru is open until midnight.
As always, we wish you all the luck with your submissions, but especially those weirder ones. Check back with Tell Tell Poetry soon for more fabulous places to send your poem-babies!