The 3288 Review is a print, biannual literary journal focused on discovering and showcasing artistic talent from writers and artists, poets and photographers who are from, or have some connection to, West Michigan. The journal is a project of Caffeinated Press. They have an informative F.A.Q. page and detailed submissions page that will give you all the information you need about them and how to submit.
I wondered how and why this journal came to be, so I asked Jason Gillikin, Founder and CEO of Caffeinated Press and Editor-in-Chief, as well as Poetry Editor, KT Herr and they kindly replied. See my interview with them and submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about The 3288 Review.
GILLIKIN: Originally, The 3288 Review was open to anything and anyone. We had a lot of great submissions for our first two volumes, including several pieces we submitted for the Pushcart Prize. With issue 3.1, we limited our submitters to folks who have some sort of non-trivial connection to West Michigan, as well as people we’ve previously published. You don’t need to live here to submit–you just need to have enough experience with West Michigan to understand the rhythm and flow of our seasons and geography and understand the dominant cultures that dot our community. We’re proud of the enthusiastic reception the journal has received across the state. In fact, I’m tickled pink that in late March, the national archives of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg officially ordered a copy of issue 1.2, in which we published the Pushcart-nominated Matthew Olsen-Roy’s debut piece. Olsen-Roy is a West Michigan native now living in Luxembourg.
HERR: I’m new to The 3288 Review, having just joined the masthead for the rapidly forthcoming Issue 4.1. I’m overjoyed to be working with a small local press, and intend to stay on as poetry editor while attending Sarah Lawrence’s Writing MFA program next year.
HOPKINSON: How/why was The 3288 Review originally started?
GILLIKIN: When Caffeinated Press launched in mid-2014, we believed that we needed a vehicle for short-form content like stories and poems–mostly because we hoped to connect readers and writers in our community and to help emerging talent find a voice short of long-form publication.
HERR: I first learned of The 3288 Review about a year and a half ago, in late 2016. I finally got together a submission in March of 2017, and was published in their fall issue last year. Jason subsequently approached me about joining the team; the poetry editor at the time had made the decision to step away in order to forge ahead with other projects. Having served as a preliminary judge for Kent County’s local Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition earlier that year, I already knew that I loved reading, responding to, and curating other poets’ work. I don’t think I even took a breath before saying yes.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
GILLIKIN: We love giving early-career talent a voice, so people who enjoy both the inspiring rawness and the enthusiasm of emerging will find much to enjoy with our journal. We tend to avoid extremes of style and substance; the emphasis is on well-written poetry and prose that moves us, without concern about stylistic artifice or political hobbyhorses.
HERR: I think those who appreciate subtlety will find a wealth of satisfaction in the work we choose to showcase. It’s almost an intrinsic apparatus within the oeuvre of Midwest expression, particularly in west Michigan. There’s this placid mildness that blankets every interaction, not unlike the surface of Lake Michigan on a tranquil afternoon, while underneath are rip currents and wide mouth bass, lake trout and the perfectly preserved wreckage of the past. This sort of bilateral interchange so entwined with daily human commerce here, it can’t help but emerge in the work.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
GILLIKIN: Poetry, visual art, creative non-fiction, short stories that emphasize the human condition. We’re open to genre fiction if genre conventions are very lightly applied. We tend to avoid journalism pieces, overly experimental styles and heavily didactic content.
HERR: I feel like this question is always a little hard to answer. Sometimes it seems that every time I visit a journal page, I’m met with submission guidelines featuring descriptors like “fresh, gripping, and transcendent” or “daring, boundary-shattering, fantastically sesquipedalian!” I never know what to do with any of that as a submitting poet, so I’d hate to impose that sort of quandary on our submitters. A working definition of what constitutes good poetry is notoriously hard to pin down, so to echo what Jason said: if you’re in doubt, stick to the basics. Make sure your work is proofread, edited, and ideally, has received peer review. These steps are just crucial to being a successful writer. But at the end of the day, if you think it’s good, and it feels honest, send it our way.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
GILLIKIN: Stuff edited in advance. Seriously. I’m much less interested in the content of what we get, as much as that what we receive has been materially improved by competent peer critique. We see a lot of inbound material that’s obviously a first draft. The stuff that’s polished delights us no matter what its subject matter may be.
HERR: What Jason said. As far as poetry goes, we see a lot of nature imagery, and stuff along confessional lines. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it would be a pleasure to see poets playing with strict form in a modern voice, or persona poems, or prose poetry. The back cover of issue 3.1 features a haunting collage poem by Claire Quenneville that thrills me every time I re-read it. I’m also tempted to say concrete poetry, but Jason does the layout and he would give me scary eyes.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite journals?
GILLIKIN: I enjoy Midwestern Gothic and McSweenys, mostly. I tend to buy more lit journals than I have time to read, alas.
HERR: Lunch Ticket is always doing really fun things, and I recently submitted to theCosmonauts Avenue Poetry Prize and Cleaver Magazine out of Philadelphia. I also recently stumbled across Francis House, a tiny and meticulously curated online mag founded by a graduate from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. It bills itself as “a home for wayward poems,” which is pretty much the best. Instead of issues, it features “rooms.” My venerable white whale, Ploughshares, will never love me back; I’m sure of it.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
GILLIKIN: Super simple! Our submission guidelines are online at http://www.3288review.com/ submissions. We only accept online or paper submissions–nothing by email. Although we use our own tool (instead of, for example, Submittable, which is horrifically expensive to deploy), we have a robust system for communicating and acknowledging queries. And on the upside, using our own system means we don’t have the financial pressure to charge reading fees.
HERR: Yes, it’s free to submit, and we pay our contributors! But I should reiterate that as part of the submission process, we do ask that submitters explain their connection to the west Michigan area. Submitters with no connection are rejected unread. The current submission window closes June 30th, 2018. Also, we encourage submitters and everyone they know to subscribe! The finished product is like your favorite dessert: creamy, delicious, and packing far more caloric punch than the price could possibly justify.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
GILLIKIN: We maintain a brief FAQ system online at www.3288review.com/f-a-q/ in addition to our submission guidelines and we certainly welcome questions through our ticketing system at https://www.caffeinated-press. com/contact.
HERR: Yeah, I was advocating strongly for switching to homing pigeons, but the cote construction alone would torpedo our budget, so I guess Jason’s system will work for now. Happy submitting!
DEADLINE: June 30, 2018
SUBMISSION FEE: None
PAYMENT: The 3288 Review offers payment upon publication, as follows:
- Poetry – $5.00 per poem published, up to 10 poems
- Prose 1,000 to 5,000 words – $25.00
- Prose 5,001 to 10,000 words – $50.00
- Collections of Photography, Illustration or Artwork – $5.00 per piece published, up to 10 pieces
In addition, contributors will receive two free copies of the issue in which they are published.
Please note that, in order to pay you, as part of the contracting process we will require a completed Federal W-9 which includes your SSN.
FORMS: poetry, prose, artwork