I’ll Be Brief
–Alyse Richmond, The Fourth River Staff
Established in March of 2012 by NYU Creative Writing M.F.A. students, Bodega Magazine – dubbed “Your Literary Corner Store” – is a monthly online literary journal that features fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and quarterly interviews by both emerging and established writers. Submissions are analyzed by interns, guest readers and editors from said genres. Each issue is a brief collection of work that is meant to be read and digested in one sitting – an atypical goal among the majority of literary journals. The succinct quality of Bodega aides in its accessibility, as some audiences are pressed for time or overwhelmed by the density of lengthier publications. For example, their January 2015 edition features just five poems and two pieces of fiction, by a total of five authors.
Bodega deserves attention not only for its abbreviated nature but for the focus it generates on a handful of talented writers. By featuring four or five people for a month at a time, each contributor is guaranteed prolonged attentiveness and, as a result, closer readings of their work. Limited selections also signify a thoughtful team of editors and a sense of exclusivity. After reviewing several issues of Bodega, it’s clear that their format is successful, clean and draws creative writing from all walks of life. Published authors come from an array of backgrounds, from Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduates to small press editors to casual bloggers, who prove time and time again that quality trumps quantity. I was particularly drawn to the poetry in Issue No. 27: “During the funeral, I feel guilty for thinking” by current NYU M.F.A. candidate, Anna Meister and “This town invented the crucifix” by Ghost Ocean Magazine editor, Heather Cox. Their ability to discuss heavier subjects, such as loss and religion, with so few words was jarring, impressive, and vivid. It’s great being able to re-read issues like these in an extremely short period of time.
In addition to being a quick and engaging read, Bodega Magazine offers editorial and web design and development internships, as well as general reader opportunities to those who are interested in gaining college credit and/or résumé-building credentials. Participation in any of the aforementioned fields can be carried out virtually or in person at their Brooklyn, NY location. By opening their doors in this way, Bodega not only expands their readership, but produces active and meaningful relationships within their literary community. Bodega also regularly participates in New York and Brooklyn-based “Lit Crawls”, poetry festivals, and collaborative reading events with other local journals, and is a member of The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP: www.clmp.org).
This unique, hands-on digital magazine can be viewed at www.bodegamag.com or downloaded as a PDF for offline use. They accept national and international submissions year-round through Submittable, and while Bodega does not charge any reading fees, they are unable to compensate contributors monetarily or otherwise. Works can range from traditional to experimental; however, shorter pieces or excerpts seem to be favored in coordination with the objective of being a concise publication. Subscriptions are free and sent out via email, and advertising is not implemented. Bodega became a non-profit organization in December 2014 through the help of Fractured Atlas (www.fracturedatlas.org), and survives on grants, donations and the dedication of an unpaid staff, releasing art for art’s sake.