Lit Journal Nugget: fugue

Today we’ll take a look at the literary journal fugue, which like e.e. cummings eschews capitalization. I discovered this journal last year via NewPages, and picked up a copy last month at AWP. It is edited by university graduate students, and given its quality, it appears no worse the wear for lack of a permanent non-student editor.


  • This caped crusader's cowl does not prevent him from reading literary journals. What does hamper him is that he cannot read, because he is a plush monkey toy.

    Publisher: U. of Idaho English and Creative Writing Programs

  • Publishes: Primarily Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Editor-in-Chief: Mary Morgan
  • Publisher’s description: Fugue is a journal of new literature edited by graduate students within the University of Idaho’s English and Creative Writing Programs. Since 1990, Fugue has been promoting diverse literary voices of new and established writers… Fugue also awards cash prizes and publication for prose and poetry in our annual spring contest.”
  • Print schedule: Print issue biannually, winter/spring and summer/fall.
  • Submissions: No formal guidelines on their site; they use on online submission engine.
  • Submission schedule: Poetry, nonfiction and “Experiment” submissions accepted September 1-May 1; fiction September 1-March 1.
  • Issue Reviewed: Summer-Fall, Vol. 41
  • Content: Seven poems (a contest winner, two finalists, and four others); four fiction works (a contest winner, a runner-up, and two others); six nonfiction works (a prize winner, a runner-up, and four others); an interview; and an “Experiment” essay consisting of Facebook updates.

To give you a taste of the journal, I’ll focus on the striking nonfiction prize winner, “What We Learn About Love, We Learn from Quarries,” by Sean Prentiss. Contest judge Judith Kitchen wrote that the essay “is innovative in its use of narrator–the present-tense presence behind the past-tense story, the person who can assess the fallout from one evening long ago.” The essay is the memory of a thirty-six year old writer of a time when he was twenty and he had a sexual encounter with a nineteen-year-old girl at a Pennsylvania quarry.

What I found compelling was that the essay was written as if it were an outline in 28 parts (designated with roman numerals), with the narrator inserting himself as follows (from Section V): “There is the girlfriend at her apartment, the girl beside the boy, the quarry’s cold water. If the boy were to ask this narrator for advice, this narrator has no idea what advice he would give. Not one idea. What to tell him? What best to do? But that’s not true. This narrator is just afraid to give advice since he knows and understands the lessons of the past and the lessons from the stretching future; this narrator knows what tonight can become.”

A reminder that I am soliciting volunteers to write their own reviews for this “Nugget” series. Inform readers of The Artist’s Road of a journal or magazine that publishes creative writing. Just email me your suggestions and we’ll talk.

6 thoughts on “Lit Journal Nugget: fugue

  1. Sara Mansfield Taber

    This nugget series is a great idea. Thank you, Patrick, for all your ideas and for the wonderful service you are providing for other writers. Bravo!


    1. Thank you, Sara! I figure if I’m taking all of this time to examine them, I might as well pass it on to others. And I hear your words in my head a lot, the importance of continuing to submit.


  2. Barbora Bridle

    Thank you for sharing Nugget with your readers and fellow writers, Patrick! Fugue sounds interesting, and the piece you chose to highlight is intriguing. Thanks for including the judge’s commentary.


  3. Pingback: AWP 2012 | Creative Writing in the Real World « Write on the World

  4. Pingback: grown up creativity: project30, a literary journal for the 30 and over | lifestyle30

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