Between streaming services, news media outlets, grocery suppliers, and wine purveyors, subscriptions have nearly become the new normal. In the midst of a subscription bonanza, we’ve cut through the noise and picked out eight of our favorite literary magazines worth subscribing to. Literary magazines are a great way for readers to find unique, emerging voices in poetry, and a great way for writers to submit and even get published. With a decent price range and a regular delivery date, these 8 magazines (sorted from most to least expensive) will keep even the most voracious of readers satisfied.
Founded in 1972, Boston-based AGNI publishes poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, interviews, and art. The magazine is named after the Vedic fire god of Hinduism—a metaphor for the imagination on fire. Known for publishing a number of influential writers early in their careers, AGNI is a great source for emerging poets and writers. Subscriptions cost $23 a year for the biannual issue, which makes AGNI the most expensive on our list, but well worth the $11.50 per issue for strong, inventive content and a longstanding reputation.
America’s oldest poetry journal is just over 130 years old. The journal, Poet Lore, was established by two young Shakespeare Scholars and life partners: Charlotte Porter and Helen Clarke. Early poets featured in the magazine included Sara Teasdale, Emma Lazarus, and many other prolific female writers. Poet Lore continued to promote exceptional female work into the contemporary era with poems from Kim Addonizio, Carolyn Forché, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, and more. A subscription to the biannual Poet Lore costs $18 per year, putting it at $9 an issue for a book-length collection of urgent and intimate new poetry.
Virginia Quarterly Review
Established in 1925, VQR is a longstanding home to memorable essays, works of fiction, and poems. From Bertrand Russel to Rita Dove, VQR boasts a long list of historic writers from across a variety of disciplines, backgrounds, and time periods. Subscriptions to VQR cost $32 per year. Subscribers receive for print or digital issues (your choice) and receive full access to the website archive. At $8 per issue plus unlimited online reading, you’ll stay plenty busy with this package.
Among the oldest literary magazines in the U.S., New Letters has undergone many transformations. Initially founded as The University Review in 1934, the magazine began with a strong start with contributors such as Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. In 1944, it became The University of Kansas City Review and soon published work by J.D. Salinger, E.E. Cummins, and Marianne Moore. In 1970, it became New Letters and continued to publish prolific writers such as Amiri Baraka, Thomas Berger, Sherman Alexie, and Maxine Kumin. The quarterly magazine offers subscriptions at $28 per year. At $7 per book-length issue, readers will get plenty of material for the price.
The Kenyon Review
Evolving from a distinguished literary magazine to a pre-eminent arts organization, the Kenyon Review celebrates contemporary writing from across the globe. Their print publication features fiction, poetry, and essays and is released six times per year. The Kenyon Review offers a range of print and digital packages, starting at $25 per year for digital-only, $35 per year for print-only, and $40 for both.
From the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Magazine is arguable the most well-known literary magazine devoted to poetry. Founded in 1912 and newly released each month, it is one of the oldest and most frequently published journals in the English-speaking world. Subscriptions cost $29.99 per year, ($17.50 for students), subscribers get each print edition plus full access to the Poetry Foundation app. At $2.72 per issue, that value is hard to beat.
An online magazine of poetry, prose, and occasional interviews from both established and emerging writers, Bodega calls itself “your literary corner store.” Released on the first Monday of each month, access to Bodega is completely free! Readers are encouraged to sign up for their mailing list so they never miss an issue.
An online literary magazine that’s not afraid to show some teeth, Muzzle aims to promote the writing of revolution and revelation. Published semi-annually (in June and December), Muzzle is completely free to its readers. Be sure to sign up for their mailing list so you never miss an issue. And if semiannual releases won’t provide enough Muzzle material for you, check out their blog series: Vital Signs.