I chose to subscribe to A Public Space and Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream. First, I picked A Public Space because I was interested in it asthetically. It is a magazine that features art, so the covers are attractive. I picked Waterways because I consider myself a poet, and I believe if you want to become a better writer you should read what you like to write.
1. A Public Space
A Public Space is appealing to the touch as well as to the eyes. The binding has the flaps like a fancy hardcover book would have. Also, on the inside the art is in color. Obviously color printing is more expensive, and the price of this mag isn’t cheap. However, I think you get what you pay for.
The content is very eclectic. Besides having art, there are nonficiton, fiction, and poetry sections. I actually like the tag line for the magazine. It’s catchy and it answers your questions if you’re wondering if your work would be appropriate. It says: “For Art & Argument, Fact & Fiction”. That pretty much sums it up for me. That and the name itself. A Public Space makes me think of a place where everyone is welcome without question like a library or a park. The contributors aren’t exactly your normal library dwellers, though. Most of them have some kind of major accomplishment whether it’s being published or teaching at the collegiate level. I don’t find that discouraging, though. I think the audience/subscribers of this magazine are those who want to read quality writing. They want to know that these authors are credible. That just makes the people that they introduce in their magazine that much more special. Yes, you too can find an audience for your work in A Public Space. But they make you work for it.
You can submit by mail or online, and it says online submission is encouraged. I like that. It makes them feel like they are with the times.
2. Waterways: Poetry in the Mainstream
Waterways puts out eleven issues a year. This mag has art, too, but it’s a lower budget so only the cover is in color. For what you pay, it doesn’t look bad. It’s just a small booklet you can fit in your pocket. You can also access older issues online. The current volume of the mag is 31, and this cycle of issues has themes that come from a favorite poet that has frequented this publication. I found the themes online, but it would be nice if they were in the magazines as well. I think themes and submission information should be on the last pages.
Poetry is tricky, but I think every kind of poet is satisfied in this magazine. I read some stuff I didn’t like. Some of it I didn’t understand. However, there are poems that are right up my alley. They don’t have space to credit their contributors, so if you’re curious you have to do your own research. Again, with a low budget, that doesn’t surprise me. Also, Waterways is completely mail submission, and their staff is small. I don’t know how many submissions they receive, but your chances are slimmer here than a much larger, more professional magazine. But then you run into stiffer competitiion. Any publication is a resume boost, though, so I say go for it.
I don’t like the format of this magazine because it is exclusively poetry. When I read poetry, I for some reason feel I have to pour over it and analyze the writer’s feelings and word choice, etc. If I have poem after poem thrown at me with no breaks, I can’t enjoy each one to its fullest. I would like to submit here, but I won’t be renewing my subscription.
Overall, I would say submit to any publication that takes your genre. The more smaller, less professional magazines take you, the better your chances are of getting into A Public Space.