A Northwest Based Literary Journal

What We're Looking For in Issue 5

With three issues published and our fourth issue just about to enter production, we at TLR are both proud of where we’ve been and looking forward to the future. As we clear our desks to open submissions for our fifth issue this Thursday, May 7, we’d like to give submitters a heads-up about what we’re especially eager to read in the queue this go-around:

Fiction Editor Joe says:

In the fiction department, I’ve reviewed and updated the guidelines for short story and flash fiction several times in the past months. Most of these changes were made to provide more clarity about what I’m looking for regarding language and the stakes characters face. I’ve also added a link to a new page where I discuss the sub-genre of magical realism, about which there’s much confusion in the lit world.

I’ve also increased the word limit on short story subs from 6,000 to 10,000 words. That’s a big jump, and I made it mostly because there are so few venues that consider works that need such length to fully develop their themes (and sub themes).

So for issue 5 (Five! Can you believe it?) here’s what I’d like to see more of: I find myself increasingly drawn to stories that connect in some way to broader issues and settings. In a world beset by ignorance, violence, injustice, and other ills, there are many outside influences to deepen characters’ dilemmas, and therefore the impact of a writer’s work. Show me your understanding of human nature, and if possible, do it within a universe of conflicting values and ideals.

Nonfiction Editor Yi Shun says:

Hurrah! TLR’s fifth issue! We are so proud of all our contributors, and we are looking forward to the new contributors that will grace the pages of this potentially seminal issue.

In nonfiction, I’m always looking for stories that turn the personal into the universal. I’d love to see more work that teaches me a little something (but I’m still not looking for scholarly papers or book reviews).

My preferences, both in reading and editing, remain broad. I’d still love to see more from journalists who have seen and experienced things in their reporting that they’d like to tell us more about from a more personal standpoint. Those stories are worthwhile.

I encourage you to dig deep. Don’t just tell me a story. Tell me why it matters–to you, and to the world at large. Thanks for submitting, as always.

Poetry Editor Kelly says:

Over the past several issues of TLR, I’ve been striving to make the journal a great home for the long poem. I’m incredibly proud of such long works as the crown of sonnets in our second issue, and the 20-page narrative poem in our third volume. As I look ahead to the future, I’d like each issue of TLR to feature at least one of these long, standout pieces. So send me the big ones–the poems other journals can’t accommodate in their page counts. Payment for long poems, which I’m rather somewhat arbitrarily defining as seven pages or more, remains double the payment for poems of shorter lengths.

I also remain a fan of contemporary takes on form, and would love to get my editorial hands on more sestinas, pantoums, sonnets, or—if you’re particularly brave—perhaps even some villanelles. Note that I say “contemporary,” however; feel free to play with form rather than to be constrained by it. I’m not looking for formal work that uses archaic language or tortured syntax.

I remain interested in all poems lyrical and narrative as well—you need not send only long or formal work. As you’ll see in our current and back issues, the majority of the work I publish is lyrical and narrative free verse of relatively conventional length.

Like Joe, I’m interested in work that looks outside itself and engages with contemporary issues. I’m always looking for work with that wrestles with the issues of our world.

We all say:

We’re committed to publishing work from a truly diverse range of voices; we encourage writers of all ages, abilities, races, ethnicities, sexualities, religious backgrounds, and gender identities to submit. We read cover letters (Kelly reads them first, Joe reads them after he reads your work, and YiShun reads them when she’s on the fence—a good cover letter sometimes makes the difference), and we always appreciate getting to know a bit about the person behind the submission; we encourage submitters to let us know about the places they occupy in the diverse literary community.


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