10 Must-Read Magazines and Presses Founded By New School MFA Alumni

Since the inception of the MFA in Creative Writing program at The New School, alumni from each graduating class have gone on to create influential websites, magazines, and presses. Here is a representative — though far from comprehensive— look at some of those projects.

The Agriculture Reader

1. The Agriculture Reader

The Agriculture Reader is a limited-edition arts annual with a design focus, now in its ninth year. Work from the Agriculture Reader has been included in Best American Poetry and Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading. The journal itself is in the collections of several libraries and museums, including MoMA. The Agriculture Reader was founded by MFA in Creative Writing alum Jeremy Schmall while he was still a student. Justin Taylor, a New School alum from Schmall’s cohort, contributed work to the first two issues and then joined as co-editor during the production of AGR3. Since AGR3, Agriculture has printed in editions of 500 with letter-pressed or otherwise hand-detailed covers (drawings, cutouts, stickers, stamps). Agriculture has published the work of many New School alumni, including Danielle Benveniste, Graeme Bezanson, Mark Bibbins, Julia Cohen, John Deming, Dan Elkind, Jared Hohl, Dan Hoy, Amy Lawless, Justin Marks, Amy McDaniel, Ben Mirov, Nicole Steinberg, Kiely Sweatt, Paige Taggart, Melinda Wilson, and Matthew Yeager, and faculty members Elaine Equi, Noelle Kocot, Sharon Mesmer, Paul Violi, and Matthew Zapruder. Mike McDonough, another MFA alum, has been poet-in-residence since the journal’s inception: his work appears in every issue. Agriculture is published by the independent art-book press X-ing Books. The next issue of The Agriculture Reader, issue 7, will be published sometime later this year. Visit www.theagreader.com

Augury Books

2. Augury Books

Augury Books is an independent press based in New York City, co-founded by MFA in Creative Writing alum Kate Angus. The managing editor of the press is alum Kimberly Steele, and the assistant editor is New School BA alum Nicholas Amara. Committed to publishing innovative work from emerging and established writers, Augury Books seeks to reaffirm the diversity of the reading public. Augury authors have received awards such as the O. Henry prize for short fiction and the Tony Quagliano International Poetry Award, have been nominated for the CLMP Firecracker Award, and have been featured on the Poetry Society of America’s website. The editorial board is dedicated to fairness and quality of work. Past editorial board members include alumni Matt Cunha and Christine Kanownik, and alumni Paige Lapari and B.C. Edwards have published chapbooks with the press. Augury Books is a proud member of CLMP, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses. Augury Books will open for full-length book submissions on May 1st. Guidelines for submissions may be found on their website. Visit augurybooks.com

Birds, LLC

3. Birds, LLC

Birds, LLC is an independent poetry press based out of Austin, Minneapolis, New York, and Raleigh. Co-founded by MFA in Creative Writing alum Justin Marks, the press has published several full-length poetry collections, including one by alum Dan Magers. Specializing in close author relationships, Birds, LLC believes that great books are a collaboration of editors and authors. Birds, LLC supports readings, events, and podcasts for its authors, believing that poetry demands a human voice to read it, and an audience to hear it. Visit www.birdsllc.com

Bloof Books

4. Bloof Books

Bloof Books was founded in 2007 by MFA in Creative Writing alum Shanna Compton. Bloof’s purpose is simple: to support poets and poetry by publishing paperback and handmade editions of contemporary poetry. Bloof believes they are approaching this mission in a unique way, as a collaborative practice, as independent as possible from the concerns of the marketplace (though we do sell books), academe (though some of us teach), and other institutions. Each poet published by Bloof becomes a member of the collective, and is invited to actively participate in the selection, creation, publication, distribution, and promotion of their own work as well as that of other collective members. Further, Bloof openly collaborates with other independent poetry publishers, and considers their collective part of this larger one. Bloof also, as a slight corrective, focus primarily (but not exclusively) on poetry by women. Bloof hopes that portion of their mission will come to feel less necessary, in some future future. The Bloof collective includes twenty-seven poets to date, including alumni Ben Fama, Jackie Clark, and Danielle Pafunda, as well as faculty member Sharon Mesmer. Visit www.bloofbooks.com

Coldfront Magazine

5. Coldfront

Coldfront Magazine was founded in 2006 by MFA in Creative Writing alumni Graeme Bezanson, John Deming, and Melinda Wilson. The editors wanted to create a poetry criticism magazine similar to other magazines that existed for music—Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, etc—and provide as much coverage of American poetry as possible. Eventually, they added the Poets Off Poetry section, edited by alum Jackie Clark, where poets write about music, and then the Vispo section, edited by Nico Vassilakis, where they publish original visual poetry. Contributors to Coldfront have included winners of the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and most other major literary awards. The list includes poets like Rae Armantrout and Stephen Burt and musicians like Thurston Moore and Andrew Whiteman. Coldfront’s masthead also includes alumni Seth Graves and Steven Karl. Visit www.coldfrontmag.com

H.O.W. Journal

6. H.O.W. Journal

H.O.W. Journal was co-founded by MFA in Creative Writing alum Alison Weaver in 2006. The founders sought to create an intellectually and aesthetically stimulating art and literature journal featuring established as well as emerging artists from various genres. The H.O.W. acronym stands for Helping Orphans Worldwide and it refers to the second goal of the founding editors. H.O.W. Journal, Helping Orphans Worldwide, Inc., is a 501©(3) non-profit, tax exempt organization. Proceeds from the journal have been used in an ongoing effort to raise money and awareness for various orphan-related humanitarian causes. H.O.W. Journal is published biannually. Each issue launch is accompanied by a fund-raising event that both promotes the journal and contributes to the goal of raising money and awareness of the charity being supported. Faculty member Honor Moore is the journal’s poetry editor, and MFA students Artrit Bytyçi and Elsa Bermudez currently serve as interns. Visit www.howjournal.com

Luna Luna Magazine

7. Luna Luna

Luna Luna Magazine is a bespoke diary for authentic social, cultural and artistic ideas, with a little darkness mixed in. They publish features, essays and interviews on everything ranging from sex and feminism to the occult and the arts. Luna Luna is staffed almost exclusively by women, though they welcome all voices. Luna Luna is based out of New York City, but its contributors have written from all over the globe. They were founded in July 2013 and run by MFA in Creative alum Lisa Marie Basile. Contributors have included alumni Liz Axelrod, Alyssa Morhardt-Goldstein, Nathalia Perozo, and Angela Sundstrom. This summer, Luna Luna will release its first print publication — an anthology devoted to poetics inspired by Lana Del Rey. Visit lunalunamag.com

The Mackinac Magazine

8. The Mackinac

Founded in 2013 by MFA in Creative Writing alumni Brookes Moody and Lenea Grace, The Mackinac (pronounced “Mackinaw”) is an online poetry magazine where the stakes are always high. The Mackinac strives to make a lasting impression as it bridges the strait between nostalgia and the immediate, the wilds seen and unseen, the best of emerging and established voices. The magazine has evolved to include video trailers for each new issue, companion playlists, and liquor pairings. The Mackinac has featured work by alumni Maya Beerbower, Ian Brown, Peter Burzynski, Brooke Ellsworth, Laura Jo Hess, Sean Damlos-Mitchell, and Justin Sherwood. Visit www.themackinacmagazine.com

MoviefiedNYC

9. Moviefied NYC

MoviefiedNYC is website of movie musings, reviews, lists, and discoveries for the cinephile, founded by MFA in Creative Writing alum John David West. MoviefiedNYC’s mission is one of discovery and development for cinephiles of all ages in the areas of writing and thinking critically about film. The site’s goal is to share information on new films made by up-and-coming filmmakers, and to provide original features on mainstream film releases. Contributors have included alumni Allison Contey, Scott Alexander Hess, and Kimberly C. Steele. Visit moviefiednyc.com

The Seventh Wave

10. The Seventh Wave

The Seventh Wave is an online and print quarterly publication blending essays, poetry, fiction, and art. Each edition focuses on a single social issue, examining it across a table of context — literature, philosophy, technology, history, and more — to create a space for opposition to flourish, inform, and change the way we interact with what is happening in the world. The Seventh Wave was founded by MFA in Creative Writing students — and Writing and Publishing Lab alumni — Zeina Abi Assy, Joyce Chen, and Brett Rawson — along with alum Zachary Reeves. The Seventh Wave’s call for Submissions for their Summer Issue coming very soon. Visit www.seventhwavemag.com

MFA in Creative Writing students at The New School make things happen! To formalize and encourage the legacy of students developing new and innovative websites, magazines, and presses, the MFA in Creative Writing program has created a new multi-media, project-based course, the Writing and Publishing Lab. Co-taught by program director Luis Jaramillo and faculty member John Reed, the course provides students with the means to re-imagine the possibilities of writing and publishing, using the most up-to-date creative platforms. Students also intern at literary journals, magazines, and literary organizations in New York City. The Writing and Publishing Lab course is exclusively for MFA in Creative Writing students at The New School. Learn more about the course in The New School’s University Course Catalog.

Learn more about the MFA in Creative Writing program at The New School: newschool.edu/writing | newschoolwriting.org | 212.229.5611

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