Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

Literary Journal Concepts You’re Free To Steal And Make A Reality

Aram Mrjoian

Staff Writer

Aram Mrjoian is a contributor at Book Riot and the Chicago Review of Books. His reviews and essays have also appeared in Necessary Fiction, The Adroit Journal blog, and The Awesome Mitten. His stories are published or forthcoming in Tahoma Literary Review, Limestone, The Great Lakes Book Project, and others. He is currently working toward his MFA in creative writing at Northwestern University, where he is a fiction editor at TriQuarterly. Twitter: @AMrjoian575

In perhaps my most Guy In Your MFA opening line ever: Me and another guy in my MFA program have made a pastime of coming up with fake names and concepts for literary journals. Please feel free to make any of these ideas a reality, but do be so kind as to give me some type of honorary title on your masthead. A free copy would also be cool. Anyway, here are a few of the better ones:

ZYZZYZA (or simply, ZA)

Due to naming similarities, ZA’s main competition would probably be ZYZZYVA. A journal of contemporary poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, each issue of ZA is delivered to readers printed in its entirety on a pizza box, with a fresh pie included. The inclusion of a one-topping za, plus tip and a delivery fee, would make this a more expensive investment for readers, but imagine scarfing down warm slices of pepperoni pizza in order to slowly reveal a short story by Joyce Carol Oates or a poem by Laura Kasischke.

Airhead: A Journal of Poetry

Option A: Every poem accepted by Airhead is printed on parchment paper, rolled up inside a biodegradable helium balloon, and released outside of the nearest window. Readership is subject to random gusts of wind and inclement weather.

Option B: Each poem is printed on a biodegradable helium balloon and delivered to readers in a colorful bouquet. Imagine, poems could float about your apartment for days.

Guy In Your MFA Quarterly

A quarterly journal founded and edited by Guy In Your MFA. All poetry and prose included in each issue is written and edited by Guy In Your MFA.

Unsolicited book reviews submissions are allowed, but must be positive, thought-provoking criticism on works written by Guy In Your MFA.


Billboard exclusively publishes six-word stories. Each work accepted by Billboard is printed on a random billboard within the author’s home state or province.

Billboard Review

A journal dedicated to publishing the best work that directly or tangentially examines billboards and billboard culture. Emerging and established writers alike are encouraged to submit work.


An food-menu-themed aggregator of the best poems, stories, essays, and other writing found online each week. Appetizers could shorter reads, such as flash fiction.


An international journal dedicated to providing exposure for emerging writers at professional sporting events, concerts, New Year’s Eve bashes, and other major celebrations. Every piece of writing accepted by Confetti is printed thousands of times on recycled paper and promptly shredded, after which it is used as confetti at festivities across the globe.

Paper Plane Prose

A sister journal to Airhead.