Taxicab magazine is a new online literary magazine accepting submissions of poetry, prose, visual art, and videography.
I wondered how and why this magazine came to be, so I asked founding editor Gabe Kahan a few questions to find out. See my interview with Kahan and a link to their submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about taxicab magazine.
KAHAN: Taxicab was created as an otherworldly side project to feed the artistic egos of me and Jesse Cao, a good friend of mine. We were kids that saw an opportunity to vomit forth all our creative ideals, so we did. Our vision was a kind of phantasmagorical Neverland, but replace all the rainbows and unicorns with pompous Brett Ashleys, demonically expressive Neal Cassadys, and ink stained Allen Ginsbergs. We wanted the publication to exist in a world where poetry felt like alcohol, and reading was as addictive as smartphones. As we matured, the magazine did too. Things became more organized and professional, and our vision became more refined. I like to think we’re now a wee bit more functional.
HOPKINSON: How/why was taxicab magazine originally started?
KAHAN: Honestly? Over Facebook Messenger at 2 in the morning. Me and Jesse—now, for all intents and purposes, my blood brother—barely knew one another at the time. But I guess some stars aligned, and this massive molten river of ideas began pouring out of us. The conversation turned into a continuous volley of random thoughts, jpegs pulled feverishly off Google Images, rough collages put together on the spot, and far too many emojis. The excitement seemed to last for several months. We put out calls for submissions where ever we could (I remember Jesse almost got fined $1,500 for putting up posters all around town). We amassed submissions of poetry, prose, and visual art over the course of three months, and scooped up a few friends to help with editing, production, and distribution. We put out our first print issue in June 2015. Then we went dormant—for 2 years.
Fast forward to Fall 2017 and we’ve resurrected and revamped the entire magazine. Everything is completely digital and accessible from our website. This in itself has opened up a ton more opportunities for us, both as curators and artists. We’re getting ready for a bunch of exciting new projects—digital chapbooks, book reviews, featured artists, and more. Follow us on social media to hear about everything as we announce it in the coming weeks and months!
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
KAHAN: One of the big incentives for digitizing content was to be able to feature a broader range of work. We currently accept poetry, prose, visual art, and videography. But we try to be as flexible as possible. We want to allow room for things like offbeat video art, gifs, prose poetry, creative nonfiction, screenplays, photography, and more.
In terms of substance—we describe the range of work we like to publish as “experimental.” But that is such a loaded term nowadays. Everyone has their own definition. A large consortium of people seem to see this and think, “oh, so no punctuation, tons of associative imagery, and a vague narrative.” I think some of the most brilliantly experimental writing can be very dry with a narrative rooted in bedrock. This is all to say, we encourage you to reinvent the word. Send us your experimental.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
KAHAN: Prose poems. We get some here and there, but we’ve only received a few that I’ve felt really capitalized on the potential of the genre. There’s so much to be done by combining the linear delivery of prose with the lawlessness of poetry. (Shoutout to Eileen Myles’ Afterglow or Maggie Nelson’s Bluets as some great examples!) I’d love to see more work approaching storytelling in this way.
But also—and this is a fun one we’ve yet to get much of—sketchbook and journal documentation. There’s something mysteriously seductive about the crinkled scribbles or etchings of a stranger, choreographing thoughts and images like a tableaux. Send us your grocery list next to a portrait of Descartes. Or a diary entry on top of a watercolor. Whether it’s engineered for the magazine or something you did haphazardly five years ago, we’ll probably eat it up.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
KAHAN: To name a few, BOAAT PRESS, Spy Kids Review, Yes Poetry, Opossum Lit, Occulum, Luna Luna, and Water Soup.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
KAHAN: All your goodies can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
KAHAN: Make sure you read our submission guidelines at taxicabmag.com/SendUsYourDarlings before you submit! Otherwise, hit us up at the email above, chat us on Facebook, or tweet us. We have way too much free time on our hands and will respond obnoxiously fast.
DEADLINE: Always open
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: poetry, prose, visual art, and videography