Self-taught MFA

The Future of Print Literary Journals by Tom McAllister + What is a literary Container?

This article by Tom McAllister up at The Millions addresses a common question among writers–are print literary magazines going to survive? Are they still relevant? The article includes McAllister’s own experience with submitting, links to a handful of well-designed online lit mags, and the what, how, and why of print literary journals, including:

  • Fetishizing the Physical
  • Emphasizing Design
  • Focus and Depth
  • The Future of Print

Interviewed for the article, Andrew Mitchell co-founder of Outlook Springs (one of my favorite print lit mags):

“describes the print journal as, ‘A space ripe for experimentation.’ In discussing his relatively new journal’s aesthetic, he says:

I realized that if you’re going to create these beautiful, concrete objects, then you really need to think about them as their own separate thing; in other words, though the writing itself is most important…the Object, too, needs to be treated and considered as an ‘object.’ It can’t just be a container for the work.”

Read “A Space Ripe for Experimentation: The Future of Print Literary Journals” article here.


Some literary markets are taking the concept of “object” even further. Earlier this year Jenni B. Baker and Douglas Luman launched an exciting new project called Container.

From their About page:

“Container is not a box. Container is not a bag. It is both of these things.

As texts continue on a trajectory toward being themselves and the things they represent, publishing models must change accordingly. But, Container is not a publishing model; however if your project is a model airplane or a model of an atom, send it our way.

Established to create books which aren’t, in the quotidian sense, books at all, Container creates objects which masquerade as parking meters, wallpaper, or crop seed sleeves. Working with text to determine alternate approaches to the traditional book form, we aim to free artists from being “boxed in” by forms, roles, abilities, or identities.”

You can learn more about what they publish here.


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