The Last Leaves is a new online poetry magazine releasing their first issue in October. They are currently open for poetry submissions until the end of August. Make sure to follow their Instagram, where they post and promote poetry and poets!
I wondered how and why this magazine came to be, so I asked editor Cailey Thiessen some questions to find out. See my interview with Thiessen and a link to their submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about The Last Leaves.
THIESSEN: The Last Leaves is a literary magazine accepting poetry and artwork. We exist because we think writing is not a solitary activity, and good writing should be shared. The Last Leaves is a place where words can find a home and a reader.
The Last Leaves also has an Instagram where we feature poems we like. We want poetry and publication to feel approachable, so we started by finding poems we liked there, and in the meantime are putting together our first official issue, which will come out in October.
HOPKINSON: How/why was The Last Leaves originally started?
THIESSEN: I met the other editors of The Last Leaves, Kiera Baron and Maina Chen, at Champlain College where we studied Professional Writing together. We became friends almost immediately and talked about our dream of starting a lit mag together throughout college. A year or so after graduating, I decided it was time to make it happen. Kiera is phenomenal at design and she’s been an Instagram queen. Maina got our website up and running. The Last Leaves is a highly collaborative effort.
We all have pretty different writing styles and interests. We learned to love poetry together, so it’s been really fun working together on this project. We make every decision together, so you know that you’re submitting to someone who loves poetry with strong emotion, someone who loves the story of narrative poems, and someone who wants poetry to make everyday life seem more beautiful. We bring a diverse perspective and often convince each other of the value of poems we might not have noticed otherwise.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
THIESSEN: Our audience is pretty broad, in the sense that we want to appeal to poets. I think, whether or not it was intentional at the beginning, we’re also targeting young adults. We want to fill a gap that we all noticed after graduating from college. Without organized poetry readings and literary events, writing felt lonely. Our goal is to encourage other writers who are in the same boat to realize that there is such a thing as a writing community, and it’s important to be a part of it.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
THIESSEN: We want variety! We accept poetry and art. In general, we gravitate towards shorter poems, and it’s pretty rare for us to accept a poem that’s more than a page long. We love imagery and details, but we’re really just looking for poems that elicit a response and start a conversation.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
THIESSEN: I’d love to see more diverse voices submitting. We’ve had some really great submissions, but I wish we saw more from outside of the USA or from bicultural writers. I personally am a huge fan of identity poetry, and we haven’t gotten any submissions that fit that category yet.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
THIESSEN: Rattle and Winter Tangerine are some of my absolute favorites. I’ve found a lot of favorite poems on Rattle; I like to go to the site and read a random poem, and nine times out of ten I love it. Winter Tangerine is a favorite because they do so much beyond a traditional journal. In the future I would love The Last Leaves to offer more things like workshops and contests.
HOPKINSON: What is your favorite part of being on staff with The Last Leaves?
THIESSEN: I love the extra motivation to read a lot of poems. It’s thrilling to know that I could be the one to help a great poem see publication. As a poet myself, I know how exciting it is to receive an acceptance letter, and I absolutely love being the one who sends those out now. Some of the responses we’ve gotten have been so encouraging and heartwarming.
HOPKINSON: Where can poets send submissions?
THIESSEN: We receive submissions by email at email@example.com Be sure to check out our submissions guidelines: https://www.lastleavesmag.com/submissions but in short, we accept 3-5 previously unpublished poems in a single document.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
THIESSEN: The best way to contact us is to email firstname.lastname@example.org or to send us a DM on Instagram. We try to respond to questions quickly, and we usually make submission decisions in less than two months.
DEADLINE: August 31, 2020
SUBMISSION FEE: None
SUBMISSION METHOD: Email
SOCIAL MEDIA: Instagram