The Year's Coolest Literary Magazine Innovations

Birkensnake’s seven-version issue

We didn’t think it possible for a literary magazine that prints on paper bound with thread (not snakeskin?) to surprise us any further, but the guidelines for Birkensnake’s next issue — in production now and still accepting submissions — are strange and clever and exciting. Issue 6 will have seven different versions, each of them guest-edited by a different pair of people who applied for the privilege. Some of the sub-issues already have titles, such as “Thing Theory,” “Wild Conformations,” and “The Shapes of Words and the Meanings of Sounds.” It’s oh-so-weird, yes, and it’s also pretty cool. One of the 14 editors, Hedy Zimra, sadly passed away after earning the editorship, and yet her partner Diana George (a stranger to Zimra) even manages to make that fit in with the tone of the issue, using “we” in her guidelines and noting: “We think it only fair to tell you that one of us died before this call for submissions was written. So we’re also interested in absence, debts of gratitude, and… unrepayable gifts.”