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Whenever I’ve finished reading from The New Yorker and other established literary journals, I’m always overwhelmed by the talent and grace of some of the best living writers today. But I’m also a little underwhelmed because it can be so difficult to peer behind all that artifice and see the act of writing that went into it. Which is why I love small journals and online reviews. These are the chemistry labs of modern literature, places where curiosity and experimentation reign and where tomorrow’s flawless voices take their first steps. Every week, I’ll be shining a light on one of these publications, and I guess that means you should read it!

This week: Green Briar Review

Green Briar is relatively new, but they publish like a much more established journal might. Their focus isn’t as much on themes and styles or content as it is on interesting language. Which means that (apart from genre pieces they don’t accept), you will find a lot of variety in their pieces, not only in terms of subject matter but in terms of scope. They publish equally poetry, fiction, and non-fiction of lengths ranging from a few lines or paragraphs to thousands of words. And I can’t stress enough the value of reading flash-fiction or brief-essays, especially when there’s so much attention to picking out work where the language is complex enough to speak volumes of its own.

Green Briar has appeared on MFA Stalker before, meaning of course that they regularly publish writing students. But beyond their enthusiasm for publishing the work of emerging writers, they’re also one of a short list of journals who welcome with open arms the work of young writers (under 21), both in their regular issues and in their poetry contests. It’s a great place to read and submit new work by new writers.

Here are just a couple pieces I liked.

What the Other Eye Sees, by Christina Clark (Winner of their Poetry Contest)

The Newly Discovered Unequivocal Origin of Baseball, by Jon Steinhagen

What Does Not Belong in Calvary Cemetary, by Thomas Mira y Lopez (From my Top 5 series)

Emerald, by Richard Marx Weintraub