THEMA :: NewPages Guide to Literary Magazines

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many plots/one premise

About THEMA: THEMA is a theme-related literary journal of stories, poetry, artwork and photography. Each issue has a different unusual theme.

Contact Information:

Editor: Virginia Howard

Box 8747

Metairie, LA  70011-8747

Phone: (504) 940-7156

E-mail: thema[at]cox[dot]net


Submission/Subscription Information:

Genres: fiction, poetry, artwork, photography

Response time: 3 months after premise deadline Payment: short story $25; short-short/poem/artwork $10 ISSN: 1041-4851 Founded: 1990 Issues per year: 3 Copy Price: $10 Average pages: 150 Sample price (postpaid): $10 (US), $15 (CAD) Subscription (Ind): $20 (US), $30 (CDN) Subscription (Inst): $20 (US), $30 (CAD)

Publisher’s Description: Each issue of THEMA literary journal is based on a different unusual theme. The journal is designed to provide readers with a unique and entertaining collection of artistic theme interpretations, in the form of stories, poetry, black-and-white artwork, and photography. It also provides a stimulating forum for established and emerging literary artists and serves as source material and inspiration for teachers of creative writing.

The birth of THEMA explains our passion. THEMA was born in a Chinese restaurant 1988 as the result of curiosity over how different writers would respond to a single quirky theme—specifically, stories involving the fortune cookies received that day. What had started as a writing challenge among friends resulted in our first issue: Fortune Cookies. It was like eating peanuts—we couldn’t stop. Strange themes kept popping into our heads; how would various imaginations react to them? We had to know! After 25 years of publication, our curiosity remains insatiable. The diversity of stories, poems, and visual interpretations of the single strange theme still delights us.

"I wish more magazines were like this one." - NewPages review (Off on a Tangent, THEMA 16:1 spring 2004).

Recent issues:

Whether left-handed or right-handed (we didn’t ask), our authors found diverse ways to grasp this theme... "The Left Handed Club" (26.1, Spring 2014). Music was involved in Melita Schaum's "Rhapsody" and Abyd Chalke’s "The Genius." Don't be fooled -- you don't have to be left handed to join "The Left Handed Club." A left-handed bat might be swung in your direction (see "Bald Mountain Road," by Robert L. Reich). And the takes on left-handedness will surely surprise you in "North and South" by Jane Gibbish and "Paul Newman's House" by Lou Fisher. Our poets also handled the theme both adroitly and sinisterly.

In this THEMA issue (25.3, Autumn 2013), “Eyeglasses Are Needed,” the stories and poems address all sorts of optical needs. Deborah Lampi describes her first experience with visual floaters… in fact, she named hers “Blip.” Carol Scott-Conner, in “Drusen,” learns about her own ocular aberration. In some cases, as in “Dunken,” by Kemp Pheley, and “Reality Testing at Home,” by Lois Taylor, it’s the inner eye that lacks vision. Sweetest of all is the poem “Optician’s Apprentice,” by Valerie Loveland, herself an optician. Cheryl Hicks’ cover art, “Dictionary of Film Quotations,” is extraordinary. How did she do that? She had a vision.

Although it seems like only a week and a day since the journal began, THEMA is celebrating its 25th anniversary! The summer issue, appropriately titled A Week and a Day (25.2, Summer 2013), studies this passage of time. Our authors made good – and diverse – use of this limited time frame. For example, imagine spending a week and a day with twin teenage terrors, as detailed by Jennifer Juneau in “Eight Days with the Yakatori Sisters.” In “Friendship’s Grey-Haired Posse,” by Gary R. Hoffman, the Lily Ladies have just a week and a day to solve a tantalizingly cryptic, potentially deadly mystery. Time’s up!


last updated 3/19/2014