December 21, 2011

Journals we love, aka gift ideas

Here's my one holiday-themed post. Ever.

There are a crap-ton of lists out right now and they make my eyes burn. Best of's, top tens and whatnot. And gift ideas for writers that involve things I would personally never use. But maybe I'm just scroogey.

But then I was thinking, what's great is things that gift both ways. You know, when you go to your favorite local boutique and get some rare artisan jewelry from a local artist, and your girlfriend is like so happy that you thought to buy her something girly instead of getting her a new external harddrive, and your local boutique is thrilled to stay in business one more day.

So here's the only list I'll make this year. Ten journals to subscribe to or buy, as a gift for yourself or for a literary loved one. Obviously I'd love you to subscribe to Versal, too, but we're not the only self-supported journal of awesomeness out there. And obviously I love a lot of journals, but I'm keeping this list to those that are self-supported (as far as I can tell), are not university funded (as far as I can tell), and which you may not have heard about yet. Because it's important that the love be spread, and spread widely.

Remember Journal Porn?

The list is alphabetized.

Also, please don't mistake these blurbs for blurbs. Or reviews. They're just things I'm thinking outloud, which is mostly nonsense.

1913 a journal of forms: It's no secret that
Versal is a big fan of 1913. If two journals should get married, it should be these two. Different personalities, maybe, but Paula Abdul knows what I'm talking about (and so do you, Doller!).

Artifice: I first came across
Artifice at AWP Denver because they had a table right across from us. You could buy one of two versions of their first edition: black or white. It made me think of the Dutch raves at the Heineken Music Hall.

A Tale of Three Cities: Brand new, still steaming off the press, this journal of work coming out of the grand European trifecta (Paris-London-Berlin) will make you feel like you're on the overnight from NYC. You might see Greenland. I haven't gotten my hands on an actual copy yet, but I suspect its literary innards will rock your socks off.

Bateau: Get a full year of this press's makings, including their annual lit mag, which I just love to hold. I'll just say it's almost a fetish.

Caketrain: This journal may have the old school size and shape, but its covers and internal design - not to mention the work! - prove anything but the traditional. Their latest #9 is just out, too, and has work by, well, me in it.

Her Royal Majesty: Some things are just really pretty. This little journal out of Paris (originally Halifax) is an exciting, newish project that is sure to go places. "Go places". What a euphemism. In other words, it's neat.

Jubilat: A wide array of beautiful, well displayed poetry. You will probably cry when you read an issue, and that's ok, because it'll be there to comfort you when you're done.

The Lumberyard Magazine: The folks behind this journal are up to a lot, and winning awards while they're at it, and we think you'll love how they get a little freaky with the page.

Tarpaulin Sky: Hurricane Irene has put this press on serious hold, and a lot of its inhouse stock was lost to floods. SPD has a lot of their titles, but if you're looking for back issues of their awesome lit mag, pop Christian a mail. He probably knows where you can find it.

Tuesday: An Art Project: This
unbound, letterpressed journal of poems, photographs and prints is published biannually thanks to the genius of Jennifer S. Flescher. Journal as object as art? Yes.

Happy holidays, everyone, from all of us here at Versal.


  1. Never heard of A Tale Of Three Cities, but that sounds exciting.

  2. Me too.. Never heard of it. But it really sounds great. I think that these are Gift Ideas. Keep it up. Nice work.

  3. You are right about Bateau, The journal is a thing of extreme beauty to be stroked and held and laid at different angles on tables. And James is a good guy...

  4. Hey this was a gift in itself. There were a few journals here that I have never run into before. Dank je wel!