The Racket is a new weekly online journal originally started as a local reading series in San Francisco founded in 2017. They are always open for submissions of prose, poetry, non-fiction and art. Their issues are available as downloadable PDFs so you can see the types of work they like to publish. They also recently published a play list and list of recommended books. The aesthetic is edgy with a great design and artwork. Each issue includes a letter from the editor, links to their favorite causes, and a game called Bonggle (like Boggle) where readers can send in the words they find and the winner’s list is included in the next issue. They ask their contributors to share an answer to a question rather than their bios. It’s one of the coolest new journals I’ve seen in a long time.
See my interview with founder and editor Noah Sanders and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: How/why was the The Racket originally started?
SANDERS: The Racket started out as a reading series at Adobe Books in San Francisco. I’d always wanted to do a reading series and a friend who was doing an art show needed some programming for his opening and I knew a writer or two and so on and so forth. We eventually moved to Alley Cat Books and then when the pandemic started we shifted to a weekly online format. At some rare moment where I could dust myself off a bit and look at my surroundings I decided I’d start a weekly journal because there wasn’t already enough to do. I wanted to play with design and figure out the submission process and find a new audience for writers and artists I respected (and those I didn’t know about). And until I decide to excavate some other sliver of space and do a podcast or something, that’s where we are.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
SANDERS: That’s a hard question! I mean in some weird alternate future I’d hope everyone would come to read the newest issue of The Racket, regardless of where they sit in terms of demographics. But, honestly, I think our content skirts the edge of non-traditional and I think readers who are looking for a more design-y, potentially “hip” publication will certainly enjoy it.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
SANDERS: I want work with some grit in it. I like a little darkness hanging at the edges. Though a well written piece with a dash of bleak humor will get me most days. Non-traditional poetry about non-traditional poetry subjects usually gets my attention.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
SANDERS: Sci-fi! Man, I know 750 words is a short word count for science-fiction, but if anyone out there is sitting on a stack of sci-fi flash fiction…
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
SANDERS: Foglifter has been really doing the hard work of not only putting out a fantastic journal but carving out a growing space for the LGBTQ+ community. Quiet Lightning is the OG reading series in San Francisco. They’ve been a major influence on us as we’ve grown and Evan Karp and the whole crew is so deserving of all the accolades they get.
HOPKINSON: What is your favorite part of being on staff with the The Racket?
SANDERS: Well, aside from my intern Kayne, I’m the only staff of The Racket currently. And quite honestly, I enjoy it all. I’ve been particularly excited about beefing up my rudimentary design skills. But seriously, I love talking with writers and artists about their work, I love talking with the intern about submissions, I love staring dreamily off into the future thinking of what this could be if I ever find any time to make it that way.
HOPKINSON: Where can we send submissions?
SANDERS: Send your stuff to firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
SANDERS: Also, email@example.com.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Always Open
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: prose, poetry, non-fiction and art
FORMAT: electronic PDF
SUBMISSION METHOD: email