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by Garrett Ashley



Literary magazines are everywhere. I feel like this gets said a lot: literary magazines are everywhere. But so are art galleries and museums. In the state of Alabama alone, there there are dozens, though each is unique, catering to specific audiences and periods of time.


To me, literary magazines feel like a cousin of these art galleries and museums. They're collections of voices spanning generations; if the publishing industry tracks what people are interested in reading, literary magazines aim to track the progress of human interaction and expression. Ideally, editors care less about what's going to sell their journal and more about the freshness of the work they receive. The work in literary magazines is reflective of an implied generational growth; to that end, I believe a good story or poem should show us who we are now, how far we've come, and what we as a collective of people want. 

With this in mind, literary magazines are worthy of greater attention, but are usually underfunded and overlooked. Whereas art galleries and museums have a certain curb appeal and can theoretically draw the attention of anyone passing by on the street, literary magazines remain mostly invisible to the public; many book stores don't carry these publications, and if they do, they're hidden away. Most people know what an art gallery is, but if you've ever held a literary magazine in your hands, had some discussion about a volume you liked, a particular cover artist, or a poem that hasn't gone viral but should, you might be part of a college English program.

Another important reason literary magazines deserve greater visibility is the potential for accessibility on the part of the writer. While a college-level writing education can cost money, literary magazines offer an alternative path; the tools for a writer are somewhat affordable, and there are hundreds of free online journals to read and learn from. More people than you know, too, have participated in the writing life in some way or another, and you may discover some surprising voices that you might not have heard about otherwise. When we talk about underrepresented voices, we should not forget to include the voices of writers who have never held a literary magazine in their hands or found one online.

The Tuskegee Review seeks to add to the myriad of literary magazines out there, even knowing the risks in doing so. Potentially low readership, lack of funding, and large amounts of spent time and energy will always be obstacles to our mission of having an outlet for marginalized writers to share their voices, and for the students at Tuskegee to hold editorial positions. But it will be worth the risks.

The work published in our first issue of Tuskegee Review comes from the students, faculty, and staff of Tuskegee University, and was catered by volunteer editors and students of ENGL 402, Advanced Contemporary Writing. Our plan going forward will be to extend beyond the scope of Tuskegee; efforts will be made to promote the magazine and acquire work and readership outside of our local network with national and international submissions. This may take time, and development will surely be rocky, but we accept the challenge, and the door will also always be open for our students to let their voices be heard as well.


When we reopen to submissions, the editors and I will be looking forward to reading your work.

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