books banner Michigan Books Project — August

Michigan Books Project — August

books_bannerHello, Michigan readers! My name’s Bridget, and as the Michigan Books Project represents the synthesis of my two favorite things (Michigan and books, of course) I’m excited and honored to be guest writing this month’s column.

A little introduction: I’m a born-and-bred Michigander, book collector (read: hoarder), and lover of all things literary. I’m studying English and Professional Writing at Michigan State University, finishing up my last semester this fall.

I’ve spent the last few months living and working in Dublin, Ireland, and despite falling madly in love with this strange, beautiful city and its rich literary history, I’ve found myself longing for the cool, salt-free waters of the Great Lakes and more appreciative of our own plethora of local writers and artists than ever.

In that spirit, I’d like to turn our focus this month to the prolific literary journal community in Michigan. From university-sponsored publications to compendiums dedicated to Michigan-themed writing, we have a lively, flourishing canon of literary magazines and journals based in and inspired by our great state.

This past March I had the privilege to attend the 2013 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference in Boston, and while I was blown away by the sheer volume of literary publications represented there, the Michigan contingency was what I found most impressive.

Here are a few of my favorites:


Fourth Genre
Courtesy of Fourth Genre/MSU Press

Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction

As a current intern for Fourth Genre, I’m a little biased. But long before I joined the editorial team’s ranks, the journal has been publishing and championing innovative works of creative nonfiction. Housed at MSU and published twice annually, it is one of only a few publications that focus exclusively on this “flexible, fluid, and expansive” genre. I’m continually captivated and challenged by the submissions we receive and the pieces we publish.

PANK Magazine

Based out of and supported by Michigan Technological University, PANK Magazine exists under the PANK nonprofit literary arts collective umbrella, just one of the many literary offerings the organization sponsors. As a fierce advocate for experimental poetry and prose, PANK is always changing my ideas on what writing can mean and be. In their own words: “To the end of the road, up country, a far shore, the edge of things, to a place of amalgamation and unplumbed depths, where the known is made and unmade, and where unimagined futures are born, a place inhabited by contradictions, a place of quirk and startling anomaly.”

Eastown Fiction

Eastown Fiction is one of the newest anthologies on this list. The journal is completely online, based in and fueled by the glorious eccentricities of the Eastown neighborhood of Grand Rapids, and dedicated to making “the online reading experience more like reading a well printed book.” As a fervent believer in the irreplaceable scent and feel of a physical tome, it’s a goal I can get behind.


While originally founded in Seattle, Monkeybicycle is now an imprint of Ann Arbor-based Dzanc Books, and one of my personal favorite literary magazines. The online journal is updated on Mondays and Fridays, and its print counterpart is published bi-annually. The website masthead promises “literary goodness,” and each week they consistently deliver.

Michigan Quarterly Review

Michigan Quarterly Review is the flagship arts and culture journal of the University of Michigan, and as a soon-to-be MSU grad it pains me to include this one on the list. Just kidding. Sort of. Putting alma mater differences aside, MQR is a beautifully rendered compilation of poetry, prose, and critical essays that often turn their focus towards Michigan topics.


Courtesy of Bridget Waldron
Courtesy of Bridget Waldron

Dunes Review

Dunes Review is a literary journal committed to showcasing northern Michigan’s expansive literary talent. The journal recently celebrated its 17th year of publishing the best of local and regional poetry, fiction, and essays.

The Lightkeeper

Northern Michigan University’s student literary journal, The Lightkeeper has a passion for work involving Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Great Lakes region. The crystalline perfection of our lakes and the untouched stretches of landscape that the region boasts certainly lend it to literary inspiration—Papa Hemingway himself is a testament to the power of our magnificent North. The Lightkeeper considers work for publication from all corners of the globe, but at the heart of their literary endeavor is an attempt to shed a light on the Mitten’s impressive writing portfolio.

Bridget Waldron, Contributing Writer

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