August 3rd, 2011 / 12:57 pm
Literary Magazine Club

I asked a bunch of writers to write down everything they know about Glimmer Train magazine w/o research

i know it is called glimmer train. i picked one up in a barnes and noble once. i never read a story in it except for if it was republished in an anthology maybe. i submitted to glimmer train once i think a long time ago. i never got interested in glimmer train for some reason.
– Darby Larson

* * *

I think there was a story by Ron Currie in one of the issues. He was editor at some other online magazine and rejected the first piece of writing I ever submitted anywhere. They also had an interview with George Saunders. I might be talking about an entirely different magazine here. Can’t say I know anything about Glimmer Train for certain.
– Giancarlo DiTrapano

* * *

it’s run by two sisters

i used to submit there but don’t anymore

it pays a lot per story

i always see issues of it around student lounges, etc.

when i try to read it i usually get bored, but i remember one or two stories from issues over the years that i’ve enjoyed

most of the stories i remember involve families and identities, e.g. why i do i have to care for my indian father if i’m only half-indian

one time an old nudist in mt shasta city told me he was angry with Glimmer Train because he submitted a story to them that literally involved glimmering trains but they rejected it

every now and then someone i know will be one of the 25 finalists in one of the many contests they run and then everyone will congratulate them on facebook

i submitted my favorite story from LLF there (Snow You Know and Snow You Don’t), but they rejected it. American Short Fiction later published it. that was the last time i submitted to glimmer train.

– Mike Young

* * *

Glimmer Train: White people dabble in a kind of cancer feigning color, running up kin like golf the eons, Biff. White like a vase, slumming idols honky up excuses for birthdays, white autobiographies collecting tea. Grandstanding sister time, a transcript of being tame. I would sell the white off my skin to game-plan that martini, ooohhh, sunsets, oh strolling, oh being a man means owning.
– Sean Kilpatrick

* * *

I’ve been rejected by Glimmer Train at least 4 times probably. I submitted to them in 2006 I think. They paid $500 per story I think. They had an elaborate contest thing, like 10 different contents. There was, like, a bracket for certain age groups and was as specific as like 500 to 1000 words then 1000 to 4000 words or something like that. I remember learning it was run by sisters and I feel like I read “their story” on the Glimmer Train website and it seemed written in the style of two brothers or a family starting their own farm to sell their own yogurt or something. I’ve probably bought 1 to 3 issues of Glimmer Train, from a Border’s or Barnes & Noble in Florida when I was 20 or 21 probably. I think I remember seeing in their issues that at some point almost like half the accepted submissions were by people with really Chinese names like Xu Liang or Xiu Leung or something. I viewed this as Chinese parents having forced their children to learn how to write a story that Glimmer Train will accept and their children, through hard work, succeeding and the editors of Glimmer Train feeling helpless. Feel like they have definitely published the most Chinese people percentage-wise for a literary magazine in America edited by Caucasians, I think. I have not looked at Glimmer Train’s website since perhaps 2007. I think from 2009 to a few weeks ago I forgot about it almost completely but then read about it in one of Blake’s tweets. Upon remembering Glimmer Train I also remembered, later, Crazy Horse and Epoch. Feel like I really wanted to be in Epoch. I’m not sure if it still exists. I think Crazy Horse paid $250 a story. Glimmer Train’s covers all use the same design I think. It’s like a black rectangle with a white-based center area and it seems Christmas-y I think. Glimmer Train seems interesting. I feel like there should’ve been some very long feature article in New York Times Magazine or something by now about Glimmer Train. I keep imagining being forced to read every issue of Glimmer Train. There’s probably more than 200 issues so maybe 4000 stories. I feel interested in someone “looking into” their notably “Chinese-heavy” issues. Not sure if I may have exaggerated the Chinese thing over time or if maybe actually one issue was specifically only for non-Americans or something. Just remember Night Train. I think Night Train rejected one of the stories in “Bed” with a short, personal note. I remember really wanting to be published by Three Penny Review for an amount of time.
– Tao Lin

[thanks to Tao for instigating this idea – ed.]

* * *

Ok Glimmer Train. I always think of Glitter Pony when I hear it, something like cute n modern n maybe a touch twee. But actually I think it is like old guard university publication stodge, prob fairly “highly regarded”, something someone would want in their publication creds, something no one reads except the ppl who are in it, Southern maybe? Very fiction-y.
– Melissa Broder

* * *

Glimmer Train is a literary magazine that I think only publishes short stories. I’m almost positive that they do not publish poems, and I think that is why I have never read an issue. I think their name suggests a past idea of what the future will bring. It also reminds me of 1990s Alternative band names, which I particularly like about it. I like the song “Love Train” and it reminds me of that. I have a vague idea of their logo, that it is a silver art-deco train, but I might be thinking of the credits from early episodes of “Poirot.” I know that they were one of the big places to publish short stories for a long time, and possibly still are, but maybe they don’t have a large web presence? Which could be intentional. I want to glimmer. I need to go to a rave.
– Christopher DeWeese

* * *

Nothing. Or next to it. I feel like I have seen Glimmer Train ads (usually for some sort of upcoming contest) in various trade rags. I have neither read an issue of Glimmer Train nor submitted to it. When I am writing, I am more of a poet or messed up essayist, and I think Glimmer Train runs fiction primarily.

That is all I have. I am sorry if that is not terribly useful. I always just imagined Glimmer Train as the kind of place that would not be interested in my work, and consequently, I never was interested in them. Though I do like the idea of a glimmer train, itself, because I am sort of fascinated by mass transit systems. You know, being from latter day Terminus and all.
– Ryan Downey

* * *

my impression of glimmertrain is that they rejected me once, bomb me with email newsletters and i am certain it is run by mysterious faceless men.
– Sarah Rose Etter

* * *

I could be totally wrong about all this but here is what I know about Glimmer Train. Glimmer Train is found in the office/library of every MFA program in America. It always has a crappy cover painting and the name of the journal is set in like Times New Roman extra bold. It looks very consistent from issue to issue. It’s been around for a long time but only squares read it because the stories don’t do anything. They just sit there. They have a print run of 1500 I think. They pay their writers. It’s run by these three dear old ladies in New England. Their current response time is probably 6 months. The stories in the current issue were probably accepted in late 2009. Glimmer Train is like God — it don’t never change.
– Adam Robinson

* * *

I haven’t looked at Glimmer Train in years. All I have are memories of it. Does that count as something I know?

I remember being told it was an important place to send things when I was like 19 or 20 and an undergrad at Iowa. I remember two ladies who ran it (sisters? friends? their picture was online, or inside the magazine; they were middle-aged; they looked like moms; they may have worn jumpers?) and their strange editorial note about the kinds of work they liked; I can’t remember what kind of work it was, I think it seemed sincere–sentimental–traditional–like they wanted stories about feelings. And I think they talked about wanting “good writing” but didn’t say what that was. All of which was disturbing to me. I felt like there was no darkness allowed in Glimmer Train…and like you could never use the word vagina. And I think they also noted that they weren’t writers in the editorial note; that did not appeal to me. I sent them things anyway, because I was supposed to and because it was supposed to be important; then all of those things were rejected. I think I sent things to contests and then people I knew whose work I didn’t like won those contests. They would mail me issues since I’d paid for the contest…the issues were pretty, with nice covers…but the stories were boring and traditional and I didn’t make it through any of the issues. All of this is remembered from around 1996 or 7…and I think I never looked at GT again…maybe it is something totally different now, or maybe I was just angry with them for not liking me.
– Megan Martin

* * *

Glimmer Train is the only fiction journal I have ever seen available at any public library. I specifically noticed it at a very suburban county-run library. I have never read Glimmer Train or even looked at the author lists. I have been suspicious of Glimmer Train ever since I saw it at that library 15 years ago, and even more so now that I am somehow. I just assume it is to lit journals what Michael Bay is to cinema, but I’m to lazy to verify that by even looking at an author list ever, let alone opening the journal and looking at a page. For all I know, it could be brilliant.
– Andrea Kneeland

* * *

Hi Blake,

I don’t know jack-shit about Glimmer Train.

Thank you.

– Mike Topp

* * *

glimmer train is a magazine that publishes safe fiction from people over the age of 30 and the magazine is really glossy and sometimes they have contests like ‘best new voices’ or something like that and you pay twenty or thirty dollars to enter and i think Steve Almond won that contest once and glimmer train has terrible covers and i’m not sure anyone actually likes glimmer train but everyone submits to them at least once in their life because that’s what you do when you want to be a writer.
-Shane Jones

* * *

i think i used to look at the contest winners every now and then and wonder who they were really. i concretely remember holding the journal a few times at a barnes and noble and looking at it. i definitely entered at least a couple of the several dozen contests they offer very frequently and never won or placed. i think they also sometimes have open submissions and that didn’t work for me either. i think in the back of the journal instead of just bios they let people talk about their lives or maybe it’s right next to the story instead of in the back. they probably look good on a shelf together cuz they are all the same shape and size and spine color i think.

i remember riding in a SUV from the airport to my first residency getting an MFA at bennington and one of the professors who i didn’t know anything about was talking about how one of his students had gotten into glimmer train and then felt upset when he didn’t get solicited by an agent after appearing in there. the teacher didn’t seem to say whether it was wrong or right of him to be upset or to expect that, and i remember listening to him go on about it as if i was about to find out a secret, but it never became clear to me at that time. i don’t think i ever read any story in glimmer train.
– Blake Butler

* * *

I don’t know how I first found out about Glimmer Train. Probably through someone’s bio. There was a certain period of time where I submitted voluminously, and I always wanted to know about where else I could submit, what some of the ‘good’ journals were. For a few moments I think Glimmer Train seemed to me like a ‘good’ (prestigious) journal. Thinking about it, I can say with almost full certainty that I have never read an issue of Glimmer Train. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever seen an issue of Glimmer Train. I will say also that the name ‘Glimmer Train’ has always bothered me. I don’t know what it refers to, and when I don’t know what a journal title refers to, I generally assume it’s an obscure quote either from Hemingway or Melville. But in this case, I don’t think so. I don’t think Hemingway or Melville would ever put the words ‘glimmer’ and ‘train’ together, even in a chapter entirely devoted to trains. I think I used to get emails from Glimmer Train until I marked them as spam.
– Kristen Iskandrian

* * *

This is probably terrible, but I don’t know anything about Glimmer Train.
– Matthew Simmons



  1. Anonymous

      mike topp’s is probably my favorite.

  2. Leapsloth14

      Ah, the contest mill…I always associated G Stain with naivete. I know that’s when I read it (and, yes, once submitted). I rate the Stain up there with those poetry Ponzi schemes.

  3. Gian

      I think I was talking about Night Train in my thing above. So I know nothing about Glimmer Train. Sounds like a Smashing Pumpkins song. Or worse, album.

  4. lorian long

      i want there to be a porn out there titled ‘glimmer train’ i really, really do.

  5. lorian long

      i want there to be a porn out there titled ‘glimmer train’ i really, really do.

  6. Pie

      Andrea Kneeland nailed it.

  7. Pie

      Andrea Kneeland nailed it.

  8. lorian long

      night train is my favorite bum wine.

  9. lorian long

      night train is my favorite bum wine.

  10. lorian long

      why is it that every creative writing workshop pushes glimmer train as some holy hole into which shitty fucking writers can insert their shitty fucking dick. idgi.

  11. Pontius J. LaBar

      Would like to see a parallel journal called “Rusty Caboose.”

  12. deadgod

      keef and mick have a magazine for litterateurs who pretend nonchalant ignorance of magazines that reject their stories

      and they are sisters

      come on what is this some kind of english-people with-souls-of-black-folk funny ha ha type thing

  13. Matthew Simmons

      Glimmer Train opens for The String Cheese Incident tonight at the Rathskeller at University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.

  14. richard chiem

      sweet post 

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  15. John Minichillo

      Glimmer Train doesn’t respect online journals. It’s in their submission policy. They don’t consider acceptance at an online journal publication. So you can take your best story that was published in one of the the really good online mags, where hundreds or thousands of people read it, and maybe you even won an award with that story, and everybody loves your work, and Glimmer Train will reject it just like no one ever saw it.

  16. alanrossi

      sean kilpatrick’s rocks. 

  17. alanrossi

      featuring farting asses.

  18. MuchAdoAboutNothing

      Glimmer Train hate is always strange and mostly a result of its visibility (you can find it in most Barnes & Noble stores). I don’t see much difference between it and most other literary journals that favor traditional, linear, psychological realism.  It’s not exactly a revelation that Glimmer Train–like 90-95% of literary journals–prefers the kind of stories it prefers. 

  19. guest

      It seems like they like female writers more than male.

  20. Anonymous

      GT provides aspirational reading for many early CW program students. it publishes the kind of work that those students are likely trying themselves to write, but at a higher level than the student is currrently capable of. at the same time, the students realizes that most of the stories aren’t really all THAT great and with some work they can be at that level too, plus be in barnes and nobles.

  21. John Minichillo

      They also don’t respect flash. For the Very Short Fiction contest (which runs twice a year), what they want is a ten-page narrative.

  22. Mark C

      i always thought the chicks were dating.

  23. Matthew Simmons

      Because in Glimmer Train they are only sort of under-represented instead of clearly under-represented?

  24. Mark C


  25. Mark C

      Wow, look at that–“Submissions must be original, unpublished fiction. (Online publication does not disqualify a piece.)”

  26. Paul Jessup

      …has anyone actually read the magazine? I know I haven’t. I’m afraid it will bite me, or that it has rabies. Or it will turn into a vulture and eat my fingers.

  27. lorian long


  28. Pie


  29. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      Once on April Fools Day, I convinced a bunch of people in the Zoetrope Virtual Studio that one of the Glimmer Train sisters died in a car accident, and then later they were really mad at me.

  30. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I bet characters in Glimmer Train sigh and arch their brows, but they probably don’t smoke cigarettes unless they’re poor.

  31. MFBomb

      I have. There’s a lot of posturing in any discussion of literary magazines.  The people who chirp the most about what certain magazines publish are typically the same ones who become editors, make big pronouncements in their guidelines, and end up publishing safe work, with you, the reader, saying–“wait a minute–I thought this person was supposed to be some sort of maverick?”

  32. Leapsloth14

      What type of lit mags are you reading? The lit mags I read do NOT prefer Glimmer Train stories.

  33. Amber

      Before I knew anything I submitted to Glimmer Train because that’s what my creative writing prof told me to do when I was in undergrad. I got a finalist mention or whatever the hell it is when they don’t publish you but you’re on some kind of list, and I used to put that top in my bio until some very nice editor was kind enough to tell me that probably don’t put that anymore. Matt Salesses had a really great story that was in Glimmer Train, so I think they do sometimes publish good stuff. But a lot of it is really by the numbers, too. It seems like a crapshoot, mostly. I haven’t read it in years except for Matt S’s story because I like his stuff.

  34. sara rrrrr


  35. bobby

      “They also had an interview with George Saunders. I might be talking about an entirely different magazine here.”

      I recently had a distant thought like that about Tin House instead of Glimmer Train. 

      Adam’s description made me laugh. 

  36. Paul Jessup

      Ahh, the beloved McCain effect…

      I meant it seriously, I’ve never met anyone that’s read them. A lot of people I know submit…which I find tacky. I hate writers who submit to magazines they don’t read.

  37. MFBomb

      Yeah, I love it when writers who’ve never read Glimmer Train pick on Glimmer Train and then subscribe to journals that publish stories just like Glimmer Train. 

  38. Leapsloth14

      The people commenting on Glimmer Stain here have damn well read the magazine and I’d venture that many, many magazines do NOT read like an issue of Glimmer Stain.

  39. MFBomb

      You sure about that? Because I’ve read some of their Very Short winners and many of the stories were in the 700-1000 word range.  Maybe not flash, but not “ten-page” narratives, either.  More like, short-shorts. 

  40. Richard

      At B&N once I read a story about ice harvesting and the harvester’s mother (or wife) having cancer or TB or something. It was a period piece with lots of small details that let me know that the author researched ice harvesting, cancer/tb during the period, and the period itself. I kept waiting for it to get interesting… It didn’t. I haven’t returned. 

  41. Corey Zeller

      Considering that MuchAdoAboutNothing’s comment history has a total of one comment (not just one comment for this post, but a total of one comment EVER)–that one comment being the pro-Glimmer Train comment above–I’m wondering, is MuchAdoAboutNothing actually one of the Glimmer Train sisters? Have the Glimmer Train sisters been alerted to this discussion? Are they now commenting here among us, arguing for their own magazine?
      MuchAdoAboutNothing, I’m going to assume you’re a Glimmer Train sister until you prove that you’re not.

  42. Corey Zeller

      Considering that MuchAdoAboutNothing’s comment history has a total of one comment (not just one comment for this post, but a total of one comment EVER)–that one comment being the pro-Glimmer Train comment above–I’m wondering, is MuchAdoAboutNothing actually one of the Glimmer Train sisters? Have the Glimmer Train sisters been alerted to this discussion? Are they now commenting here among us, arguing for their own magazine?
      MuchAdoAboutNothing, I’m going to assume you’re a Glimmer Train sister until you prove that you’re not.

  43. MFBomb

      So the traditional stories in Glimmer Train are that much different from the plethora of traditional stories published in most other “literary” journals?

      But, heh, what do I know?

      Stories by the likes of Ben Percy, Kevin Canty, and Gina Ochsner (to name a few GT authors) are abnormally traditional when compared to the work appearing in most other “literary” journals. Gotcha. 

  44. MFBomb

      So the traditional stories in Glimmer Train are that much different from the plethora of traditional stories published in most other “literary” journals?

      But, heh, what do I know?

      Stories by the likes of Ben Percy, Kevin Canty, and Gina Ochsner (to name a few GT authors) are abnormally traditional when compared to the work appearing in most other “literary” journals. Gotcha. 

  45. MFBomb

      Actually, I’m MFBomb.  Figured I’d try a new name for a post, for shits and giggles.

      I’m pretty sure the sisters are used to people hating on their magazine by now and couldn’t care less about this thread.  

  46. MFBomb

      Most print magazines favor traditional psychological realism. I’m sure you can name exceptions in this day-and-age where Duotrope now lists a billion markets, but the point is: GT isn’t doing anything that different from a large segment of the lit journal population. 

      I’m not even a big GT fan, but lord do I hate some posturing, and that’s what you’re doing here. Posture, posture, posture…..

  47. Paul Jessup

      The only literary journal I subscribe to is published by the one and only Magic Dan’s Clown University Spectacular known as The Punchnut Review. It has great writing advice, like how to fake a coma and what kind of whiskey goes well with the blood of your critics.

  48. MFBomb

      You’re not MFBomb, I’m MFBomb. This is an outrage! I am not a supporter of Glimmer Train. I think the imposter MFBomb is really a Glimmer Train sister and is message-bombing this post.

      Also…blah blah blah I’m self-important.

  49. MFBomb

      Quit posting as me you are clearly not me. These are not my opinions and observations.

  50. Matthew Simmons

      I’m learning a lot about Glimmer Train!

  51. MFBomb

      Don’t listen to this ne’er-do-well, whoever he she is. I actually do love when writers who’ve never read Glimmer Train pick on Glimmer Train and then subscribe to journals that publish stories just like Glimmer Train. No sarcasm.

  52. MFBomb

      Which sycophant posted this? Cute. 

  53. MFBomb

      Unlearn it all please.

  54. MFBomb

      I guess when you can’t respond to specific points or evidence from the magazine, you have to resort to stuff like this….

      I apologize for wrecking this circle jerk!

  55. MFBomb

      Someone is clearly agitated…

  56. FMBomb

      I love everyone.

  57. MFBomb

      Of course you do.  That’s sort of the point. 

  58. roger paxton

      it’s been a while since i’ve been at this site. good to know The Fail clique continues unabated on its march toward inward-looking obscurity.

  59. Fawn

      Sarah Rose’s reflects my experience of Glimmer Train.

  60. kevocuinn

      Is it Mean Week? Or just a good old-fashined roast?

  61. MFBomb

      How are we ever going to tell which one’s real and which is not? I wonder how many people are in on this.

  62. MFBomb

      I think it’s pretty obvious who the real one is.  The real one isn’t all that interested in group-think, which obviously annoys the impersonator. 

  63. MFBomb

      It was anyway time for my seppuku. It was fun while it lasted. Farewell.

  64. Corey Zeller

      Why, of all names, did you pick mine?

  65. MFBomb

      How would you know what annoys the impersonator unless you are the impersonator? Cf. Wittgenstein

      Mystery solved.

  66. MFBomb

      Adieu. My last post. Promise.

  67. MFBomb


  68. Leapsloth14

      Which fucking MFBomb is this? I’m posturing? I’m not posturing. Posturing implies inauthentic action. I mean it: What. Lit. Mags. Do. You. Read?

      I’m not blaming Glimmer Stain for having an editorial take. All lit mags have one. But really? So Diagram or Hawai`i Review, etc. (I could go on and on) published the same stories as Glimmer Fame?

  69. MFBomb


  70. MFBomb


  71. MFBomb

      I mean NOW!

  72. BAC

      Evan Lavander Smith had a good story in Glimmer Train once called “Bad Numbers.”

  73. BAC

      Do you own a video camera?

  74. MFBomb

      You mean, the same Evan Lavander Smith Chris Higgs interviewed for this “What is Experimental Literature” series? 


      I thought only bird-watching Grandmothers published in the Glimmer “Stain”?

  75. MFBomb

      Not me.

  76. MFBomb

      I don’t need to provide you with a list of literary magazines to prove my point that the stories in GT aren’t all that different from stories published in most other traditional magazines. 

      I also named three writers, two of which aren’t exactly writing like Andre Dubus II. 

      Now, there is a poster who has cited a story by “experimental” writer, Evan Lavender Smith. What’s your response to that? 

  77. MFBomb

      For I am dead.

  78. MFBomb

      Hmmmm…real or not real?

  79. richard chiem


  80. Leapsloth14

      Nirvana is why grunge doesn’t suck, huh?

  81. richard chiem

      or huckleberry

  82. Leapsloth14

      roll the film

  83. MFBomb

      I haven’t offered an opinion on whether or not GT “sucks”–I really don’t care, actually. 

      You’re the one implying that GT is somehow hyper-traditional, as if GT has somehow patented the linear, psychologically transcendent story, which is like saying that grunge sucks because of Nirvana. 

  84. Leapsloth14

      This is getting loopy. Also, I can’t even decide if you are MFBomb or his ghost-writer/stalker. But you are defending GT, and that’s OK, GT used to make a great BMX bike.

  85. MFBomb

      You can’t tell the difference between me and my stalker? 

      I don’t see where I “defend” GT at all.  Sheesh. 

  86. Maggie

      I’ve tried to read many stories in Glimmer Train and that ELS story is the only one I ever finished. The stuff about the Fridge and cutting off the family’s fingers and toes is pretty memorable.

  87. guest

      More women than men win their contests. And I’m not trying to sound misogynistic or anything, just making an observation.

  88. Laura Ellen Scott

      There are two email lists I cannot successfully unsubscribe: GT and Dominos Pizza

  89. Nick Mamatas

      Boo for them on one hand; on the other, now one can sell a story twice!

  90. Nick Mamatas

      I read one once. An acquaintance had a story in it. It was about a Greek guy in love with his first cousin. Nothing happened. Well-written meh.

  91. karl taro

      I like Glimmer Train. I’ve been very moved by a couple of stories I’ve read in there and the quality is pretty consistent.
      I must have submitted 10 stories to them over the years, either to one of their contests or their open submissions. (I just tried to log into their electronic submissions system but I don’t remember my user name or password.) I think every one of my stories was form rejected. And every one of those stories was published in a good magazine, several of which paid better than Glimmer Train. So, we never really got along, but I like to think it’s Glimmer Train’s fault and not mine.

  92. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      All this talk about Chinese people makes me want an egg roll.

  93. Guest

      This is hilarious. I thought I was the only one who had that weird non-relationship to Glimmer Train. 

      Sometimes I used to be tempted to submit something, but the name always stopped me. “Glimmer Train.” What sort of people would buy or edit a journal of that name? How could I feel pleased if someone who thought, “yeah, Glimmer Train; sounds good!” also liked my story? I figured acceptance would mean my writing was just as awful as the name Glimmer Train. 

  94. Paul Jessup


  95. Paul Jessup

      I see it a lot, in uni, at the store. I pick it up and think, “I hear they pay a lot”. And then I still don’t read it.

  96. james y.

      this is amazing

  97. james y.

      this is amazing

  98. bobby

      I feel like I just grew scales. 

  99. Corey Zeller

      I personally think Glimmer Train has survived in ways many literary journals have not.

      Someone brought up “The Threepenny Review”…who gives a shit about “The Threepenny Review” these days? 

      I can’t count how many magazines that meant the world to get into are gone…

      But there’s always Glimmer Train.

      Maybe Glimmer Train is the Keith Richards of literary journals and that is about as much as I know about them…besides wanting them to publish me and also wanting them to change their covers around.

      And what the fuck is up with Noon?  I know lots of people here publish there and Williams is a good writer, but what the fuck? 

      Does anyone agree with that?  Do I have to clarify?

      What the fuck?!?!?

  100. tao


      ‘Hi Blake,
      I don’t know jack-shit about Glimmer Train.

      Thank you.

      – Mike Topp’


  101. MFBomb

      Lots of people still care about.”The Threepenny Review.” It’s still a top 10 journal.

      Plus, they respond to submissions within a week. 

  102. tao

      has anyone here been published by glimmer train or know anyone that has?

  103. MFBomb

      I know three people who have been published in GT (two well known, one not well known).

      I would never submit to GT, though, because it takes too long for stories to appear. If they accepted one of my stories tonight, it might appear in the year 2015.

  104. Anonymous

      pretty bummed that i thought glimmer train was run by an all-male illuminati and instead it’s run by sisters.

  105. Enrico Palazzo

      I recently read an issue of Glimmer Train and came away unimpressed, but then again, there are magazines that I subscribe to because I like them, and every once in a while I read an issue of those where I really think the editors dropped the ball. My overall feeling about the issue of Glimmer Train I read was that they like BIG ISSUE stories about things like terrorism and Hurricane Katrina, but the stories about these subjects are sort of bloodless. I remember one particular story about a Muslim man who goes to visit his brother and is illegally detained. His wife waits and waits for word of what happened, but to her, he seems to have just disappeared. The story seemed well-researched but the problem ended up being that the author’s goal in writing the story seemed to be to say, “See, illegal detention is bad.” And that seems to be a recurring theme: “Cancer is bad.” “Hurricane Katrina was bad.” On the other hand, even though I wasn’t particularly blown away by the issue. I think that with the number of journals recently complaining on their blogs about not selling enough issues and the inability to sustain themselves might be able to learn something from a journal with this kind of business model about how to sustain themselves. 

  106. E. OBrien

      Megan Martin’s comment about the GT editors not being writers really bothers me.
      Sure, GT runs a CRAZY amount of contests, and the cover format could use an update, and I’m underwhelmed by a lot of what they publish.
      But the fact that they’re not writers but they bother to produce a lit journal anyway is, I think, awesome. They can’t be making barrels of money, so they must do it because they love reading. I mean, right? Why else?
      And isn’t that what we all want, to have our stuff read by people who love reading? I wish there were more readers who don’t aspire to be writers themselves. There aren’t enough of them. 
      This is true for short stories and even truer for poetry. Nobody reads poetry except poets, and that’s a big shame; Poetry as an institution or whatever would be so much better off if there was a non-stakeholding readership of it.
      So say what you want about the quality of GT, but those non-writer ladies that run it are a dying breed, and that’s sad.   

  107. Lincoln Michel

      An old buddy of mine was published in GT when we were in college. He got, I believe, a thousand clams for it back then. 

  108. Russ

      That library comment made me want to order a bunch of cool print mags for our library.

  109. Matthew Salesses

      Yikes. Looks like it’s time for a Glimmer Train lit mag club month, Roxane!

  110. Michael Winterbottom


  111. MFBomb

      Even though PBR-swilling, trust fund/suburban hipsters like to overstate Glimmer Train’s preciousness as a form of posturing to mask their own mundane, milquetoast lives and experiences, there are problems with the journal, one of which you bring up here: 

      “I think that with the number of journals recently complaining on their blogs about not selling enough issues and the inability to sustain themselves might be able to learn something from a journal with this kind of business model about how to sustain themselves.”

      I’m not so sure about this.  Their model is to run “contests” each month and charge $10-20 per sub, and so they end up with a huge backlog of work “to be published.” For instance, I was looking at their Very Short Fiction Award the other day–the results will be announced on 9/30. The winner will be published a year and a half later, in the winter 2013 issue.

      I also think they started the journal with a nice chunk of change. 

  112. Enrico Palazzo

      I think the fact that Glimmer Train takes on the big topics makes me thing of Ted Genoway’s call to arms for writers to stop navel gazing. I question: Isn’t it just as bad for writers to tackle big topic issues just for the sake of making their stories seem more important than they actually are? Coming away from that story about the detainee, I felt almost like my life would have been more enriched by reading a 500 word New York Times article than I was from reading a 15-20 page story about it. I think a lot of the complaints here come off as insults rather than critiques resulting from: 1. Obviously a lot of these people have never read an issue/GT doesn’t publish the style writing that the average HTML user will like and 2. the pose that it’s cool not to like things that are critically lauded. Still, having read an issue, if this issue is representative, I’m not sure the preciousness is all that exaggerated.

  113. Roxane

      That’s not a bad idea, Matthew.

  114. MFBomb

      I hear you.  “Big issues” in fiction should feel organic and necessary; imagination shouldn’t be sacrificed, either.

      To be clear, I’m not a big fan of GT.  I canceled by subscription five years ago because most of it didn’t suit my tastes and felt too consistently transcendent. Charles Baxter has a great essay in “Burning Down The House” about the proliferation of transcendence in contemporary short stories that I love, one that everyone should read. 

      Which leads to my next point: this idea that GT is at the forefront at publishing such stories is laughable, but I guess if one strikes a pose, he doesn’t have to look inside his own house for dirt. 

  115. Marco Kaye

      Can we start calling it “G-Train”? It sounds so gangsta. It’s run out of Portland, OR, which hasn’t been mentioned yet.

  116. Craig

      Thinking about Tao Lin wanting to be in Crazy Horse instead of Epoch, and Crazy Horse the band (Neil Young’s often-time backing group) instead of Crazy Horse the journal.  Tao Lin & Neil Young simultaneously doing the Neil Young -teeter-totter-monster-mash-dance thing that Neil Young does when he plays live.

  117. su

      I have a friend who has been published in Glimmer Train. I found this out before I really knew her–at the time she was the new girlfriend of an old friend. The old friend told me this about his new girlfriend: When a mutual friend found out that this new girlfriend had been published in Glimmer Train, he (the mutual friend) said to the boyfriend, “Oh, so she’s *that* kind of writer.” I though this was a presumptuous and kind-of-rude thing to say about someone you’ve never met before! Especially a friend’s new girlfriend! Out of curiosity I Googled the new girlfriend to see if I could read any of her work online. I could: there was a short story (not the Glimmer Train story) and somehow it was about pretending to shit. I really liked it. The new girlfriend and I became friends. Some time–probably about two years–after that, I read an issue of Glimmer Train for the first time. I liked the story about a woman who worked with an octopus who was very intelligent, and whose brother was missing and presumed dead.

  118. Andrew

      Entire website stinks of “you too can be published — just send fifteen dollars.”  Evangelical in the worst opportunistic sense of the word, a reading-fee cash machine preying on the most gullible and defenseless writers and would-be writers out there. 

  119. Bradley Sands

      Shane Jones says, ” i’m not sure anyone actually likes glimmer train but everyone submits to them at least once in their life because that’s what you do when you want to be a writer.”

      I say, “I have never submitted to Glimmer Train nor will I ever submit to it.”

  120. MFBomb

      This is a fair point and a lot more interesting than the actual content, which reads similar to other middlebrow content in many other journals. 

  121. Andrew

      I have never seen a literary magazine that seems so eager to encourage people to submit.  The section on their website dealing with this is, shall we say, “overdetermined.” 

      Looking at it again, it’s pretty fucking disgusting.  They even generously apply a one-week “grace period” to their deadlines — i.e., if they can collect your fifteen bucks, they’ll do it. 

      In my opinion, as a widely published writer with twenty years’ experience, ANY reading-fee writing contest is at least mildly unethical.  I understand that many publications and marginal programs rely on these things to survive, which perhaps ought to inspire my sympathy but mostly makes me say, “Why should they, then?  Do we need another dumb writing conference in the southwest?  Do we need another literary review named after some regionally indigenous weed species?”  The answer is kind of resoundingly “no.”   

      I know a lot of editors of literary journals.  My girlfriend edits a literary journal.  She honors contributors by nominating them for legitimate awards, not by inventing a bullshit prize and soliciting reading fees from naive contestants. 

      As far as the quality of the work in Glimmer Train is concerned, I have no opinion.  Never interested me.  That it reads similar to other middlebrow content is a reflection on the dogmatic insistence on the adherence to certain conventions and formulas that allow a “consensus” to be formed within the context of a writing workshop, of which I have taught many.  Good writers can overcome the experience of achieving an MFA and perhaps even get something out of it.  Amateur writers get the MFA in a box by buying a book that distills such “wisdom” into bullet-pointed directions.  They are dead on arrival, and the Glimmer Train sisters are simply mining their corpses for gold teeth and shoe leather. 

  122. Hobartcat

      I used to submit to their free “contests” and I once paid their reading fee. Then I read a few issues. Now I direct my energy elsewhere. 

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  125. C.D.

      What you say about the vigor of GT’s encouragement to submit is true. For what it’s worth, GT imposes entry fees only on entries to contests that offer prize money. Submissions that don’t enter a contest face no reading fee.