The name Driftless Review (of a new lit mag) refers to the area in SW Wisconsin, NE Iowa, SE Minnesota, and NW Illinois where the geography was left unharmed after the last ice age, 10,000 years ago. “Think deep river valleys,” says Contest Co-Editor and Assistant Prose Editor Bill Yazbec, “plush forests, and cold water streams carved in limestone bedrock.”
But this new magazine, too, has some history. As Yazbec says, “it’s a resurrection of a previous incarnation spearheaded by Russ Brickey.” Published by Platteville Poets, Writers and Editors, LLC, Driftless Review comes out twice a year, in May and December, and features fiction, poetry, flash fiction, nonfiction, interviews, visual artwork, and book reviews. “While we strive to be a respected national literary publication,” Yazbec says, “we always place a focus on emerging writers in the Driftless area.”
But Yazbec is not alone in this endeavor. Fellow editors include Kara Candito, Teresa Burns, Colin Lessig, Russ Brickey, and Laura Beadling. They aim to grow their readership and “become a ‘staunch character’ in the rich tradition of Midwestern literary magazines and journals.”
The publication is geared toward readers that might read the NYT, Rain Taxi, and The Believer, “but also still get the local newspaper delivered in the mornings.” Yazbec says that Driftless Review is for “a reader that is fascinated by what’s out in the world, but content to appreciate the beauty of the Midwest and the kindness of the people here.”
He says the writing they aim to publish has “well-wrought characters in situations that shed some new light on the human condition. Tight, clean, unassuming prose that mirrors our Midwestern sensibility.” He goes on to say that they don’t care “about the poet’s aesthetic allegiances as much as [they] care about the work’s human urgency.”
The first issue features prose by Bonnie Jo Campbell, Lydia Conklin, Sam Snoek-Brown, Matthew Fiander, Paul Crenshaw, Jen Kerske, and Jacob Reecher; poetry by Fleda Brown, Rita Mae Reese, Matthew Guenette, Sam Amadon, Liz Countryman, Kyle McCord, Rodney Wittwer, Justin Bigos, Matthew Mutiva, and Kaela Mellen; and visual art from Lydia Conklin.
Electronic submissions are accepted year-round, and submission guidelines can be found on their website.