Site Review: Devise Literary

Site Review: Devise Literary

An Emerging Website

by Emily Jaeger, Features Editor

Emily Jaeger
Emily Jaeger

Devise Literary, a site spearheaded by emerging fiction writers Alexandra Stanislaw and Drew Wade, originally began as “a way to gather resources for writers.” However, since its initiation in 2015, the site has already evolved to include a seasonal literary magazine open to creative work and literary criticism.

One of the crucial elements of online literary magazines is the aesthetic of the website. These visuals serve as a stand-in for the tactile experience of flipping through a crisp, thoughtfully laid out volume. Stanislaw and and Wade seem to be aware of this stylistic concern; the website is a beautiful minimalist theme of black and grey, with orange accents. And it is easy to navigate, whether searching through their recent issues (all publications are listed both by volume and genre) or writer resources.

Devise Literary Home Page
Devise Literary Home Page

Some of the resources they hope to offer writers are writing prompts, book reviews, site reviews, and writing tips. My favorites of the “Writer Resources” on Devise Literary are Wade’s book reviews. Though Wade is perhaps a bit overly ambitious in claiming that he will write a book review a week, the many reviews that he has published are honest and in depth. In a past review of Kazim Ali’s The Disappearance of Seth, Wade not only investigates Ali’s mastery but also reviews the publisher, providing a helpful analysis for emerging authors exploring publication options:

I like [Etruscan Press]….They are small and relatively obscure, but I think we need more publishers like them. Why? They don’t compromise. I get the sense that most of EP’s authors are full-time professors who, because of the fickle nature of modern universities, have to keep publishing, or else they perish. These writers don’t care about sales but they do care about putting out a good product, according to their exacting, sometimes quirky standards. That’s honorable.”

In the literary magazine, I enjoy Stanislaw and Wade’s quirky literary aesthetic and apt art pairings: the majority of the creative pieces they publish are paired with urban, humorous photographs. One gem from the most recent issue is Howie Good’s “How to Fix a Monet After Someone Punches It”:

How to Fix a Monet After Someone Punches It
Howie Good

You can see Syria from here,
fish in a dead landscape,
starry nights and astronauts,
the soft edges of time.

What year is it?
Don’t you think it’s time for love?
Everything else has failed.

Fuck it, I’m high.
Let’s walk to the middle of the ocean.

White roses sing and sing.

Assembled from titles of artworks by Alma Thomas, Hema Upadyay, Mark Bradford, and Kung Me.”

As to the type of work Stanislaw and Wade are looking for, their submission page suggests Devise Literary is geared more toward emerging writers, those less experienced in differentiating between various literary magazine aesthetics (something which is often mystifying even for the most experienced writers).

From Devise Literary Submission Page
From Devise Literary Submission Page

Devise Literary is still an emerging entity, merely one year old, and so the page for literary magazine reviews in “Writer Resources” is still under construction. The editors are seeking contributors interested in writing literary magazine reviews, along with book reviews, writing advice, and prompts. While it is unfortunate that these resources are not yet up and running, Devise Literary’s call for contributors seems like yet another opportunity for emerging artists to gain exposure. I’m excited to see how this site will continue to develop.

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