Annalemma: a literary and arts journal
I never read enough literary magazines before starting my own. [I’m not the writer who blindly sends their work to every journal without first glancing at its content; I’m the writer who compulsively edits, collecting pieces in a digitally dusty folder on my computer, pieces that only dream of seeing the light of a stranger’s computer screen (or home, if it’s a print magazine).] When I decided my life’s work needn’t wait until graduation, and started Petrichor, I began to dip my feet into an ocean of online lit/literary/arts & literature mags/magazines/journals. I am a collector by nature, and I hoarded magazines as browser bookmarks until I finally got a chance to read them: systematically (alphabetically) organizing them by how they print, what they print, and why they’re great (or not). And now I’m hopefully putting my hoarding, organizing, and reading to good use, by reviewing the magazines I like best.
Annalemma, and I can speak only to the online content [though I’m certain the print content is of equal quality], is excellent. I read the first five feature stories, those currently listed on the front page, and the next five from the archives. I was not disappointed by a single one, and was elated to find that the archives go on for pages. What captured me was the pure ingenuity and imagination of each plot. The writing itself is excellent too, creating a marriage of a good ideas and great talent.
Many literary reviews tell you a bit about each piece, but these are so short I prefer you just read them. Each piece can be read in a single sitting, most a matter of minutes (I read six without getting up once). And they are brilliant in their brevity. “Never Let Your Enemy Be Above You,” by Kawika Guillermo, describes “a gruesome man with cheeks that crumble together like curds of cheese.” Does that not make you shift uncomfortably in your seat? “Nutrition,” by Kyle Winkler, begins “When she came home, some ghosts were in the kitchen. What she thought were ghosts.” And the final sentence, which I will stop myself from ruining, is one of the best I’ve read. If you read the story, you might note that I wrote that in the comment section on the story’s page. Another great thing about Annalemma is this comments feature, which is actually used. More than once, I’ve left my breathless, loving comments to lie in wait, in hopes that the author checks the site – because everyone must want to know how wonderful I think they are (that’s why I’m writing this blog). As a writer I would love to be published in a journal with a well-used comment section.
I haven’t even mentioned the art yet, one piece coupled with each piece of literature, excellent on its own, but always well placed with its partner story (I wonder if they ask the artists to read the piece and then produce a work based around it. Certainly this must be the case for some stories, like “My Mother’s Boyfriends” or “Male Seeking Female”).
I said that I wouldn’t tell you a bit about each piece I read, but I will say that they included: the devil cumming – in the dirtiest of ways, a cow with a glass side, a gay guard at an art museum, a cartoonist getting a lap dance, a presumably hefty woman, with a British accent, in a housecoat, and Jesus (the Son of God), an angry teenager who runs away from home.
I have now linked you to every story I’ve read on Annalemma so far, and I recommend all of them. I certainly plan on subscribing
“Annalemma Magazine is a literary and arts journal printed biannually and updated weekly online. Founded in 2007 with the expressed mission of engaging as many people as possible in the life-changing experience of telling good stories, Annalemma’s print issues are a lavish celebration of colorful artwork and photography that accompany short stories and essays from writers of all ages, nationalities, disciplines and echelons of the publishing world.”