Chicago Review

Type Of Organization
(773) 702-0887
Mission Statement / Editorial Focus
For almost 75 years, Chicago Review (CR) has championed avant-garde and experimental writing from Chicago, the broader US, and around the globe. CR has specialized in publishing poetry and fiction at the forefront of formal innovation for its time, literature of all genres in translation, and long-form book reviews and other literary criticism that is intellectually rigorous, provocative, and entertaining. In recent years, CR has become best known for its large-scale special issues devoted to neglected authors and movements. CR’s mission since its founding has been to provide a platform in Chicago for exceptional writing that cannot find a hearing elsewhere. This mission has helped to change the face of contemporary literature throughout the years and has permeated the broader culture. In the 1950s, it advanced the front lines of free expression when the journal battled censorship in order to promote the Beat movement at a time when mainstream publishers wouldn’t publish their work. In the 1960s, it provided an early home for international neo-avant-garde movements, such as concrete poetry, and helped them reach wider audiences in the US. In the 1970s, it worked in the service of radical politics, making the journal a vehicle for young antiwar and feminist voices, from Leslie Marmon Silko to Carolyn Forché; in the 1980s, it did so for cutting-edge intellectual and aesthetic trends, popularizing the theory of culture known as “postmodernism” through such writers as Andrei Codrescu and John Mella. In more recent years, CR’s mission has embraced activist stances, as in the journal’s 2015 “Gender Forum,” which invited a range of woman-identified and LGBTQ writers to reflect on actions taken in response to reports of sexism and sexual assault in literary communities, or our recent issue spotlighting the legacy of the Black Arts Movement in Chicago. CR has consistently served the new and the now, while revisiting the various legacies of literary modernism. CR has long championed new work by authors in Chicago and Illinois more broadly. From Nelson Algren to Susan Sontag, Cyrus Colter to Ed Roberson, Philip Roth to Angela Jackson, CR has consistently seen itself as an important outlet for local writers and as an integral part of literary culture in Chicago and Illinois. This commitment was highlighted in two recent special issues, one on the Chicago poet Ed Roberson; a feature on “Chicago Modernists” (CR vol. 59, no. 4 and vol. 60, no. 1); and, most recently, a special issue of over 400 pages on “The Black Arts Movement in Chicago” (CR vol. 62, no. 4 and vol. 63, nos. 1-2). The Black Arts issue presented an extensive return to and reassessment of the main moments, actors, and legacies of Chicago’s Black Arts Movement. CR's dossier gathers poetry and essays by key figures—including Haki R. Madhubuti, Angela Jackson, Sterling Plumpp, Carolyn M. Rodgers, and Amus Mor, among many others—as well as critical assessments of the impact and present-day resonances that define BAM's afterlife, from critics such as Harmony Holiday, Kinohi Nishikawa, and Ayana Contreras. The special feature is complemented with poetry and fiction by contemporary writers influenced by Chicago’s Black Arts Movement, such as avery r. young, Daniel Woody, and Anthony Reed, among many others. In addition to the print journal, CR sees itself as a venue for literary events, community outreach, and advocacy of writers in Chicago and Illinois. We host many readings and issue release events to bring our local audience face to face with local writers and their inspiring work. To celebrate the release of our issue on the Chicago Black Arts Movement, we put together a remarkable program, generously hosted by the Stony Island Arts Bank on the South Side of Chicago, that included readings by Angela Jackson, Haki R. Madhubuti, and Abdul Alkalimat, as well as a musical performance by Maggie and Africa Brown, daughters of Oscar Brown Jr. The event was well-attended, especially by the South Side community, who were inspired by the work of key figures of the Black Arts Movement in Chicago. What sets Chicago Review apart from other literary journals is the rate and rapidity at which it is able to form and promote hypotheses about the directions in which literary culture and the culture at large are heading. This is due to the journal’s rotating editorial board, which is comprised entirely of advanced graduate students in the humanities and social sciences at the University of Chicago. Editorial tenures at Chicago Review tend to be at a maximum five years in length, and the continual passing of the torch means that fresh editorial visions and different intellectual and aesthetic perspectives are constantly enlivening the journal. “No permanent alliances” is one of the mottos of the organization, and this attitude encourages the journal’s editors to take risks in how they uphold its core tradition: remaining steadfast in the service of the new and the now. This commitment is aided, not tempered, by the journal’s relationship to its parent organization, a leading research university: previous editors have stated that CR exists in a state of “benign neglect” with respect to the University of Chicago, drawing its editorial talents from the ranks of the school’s graduate students but submitting to no faculty or administrative control of its editorial policies and receiving scant financial support through its university affiliation—making CR especially grateful for the support of philanthropic individuals and organizations. Ultimately, this commitment to the new and the now is most apparent in the range of poetry, fiction, and essays that the journal has published in the past five years, from the experimental fiction of Helen DeWitt and the “vocovisual” poetry of Illinois’s own Tracy Zeman to the first major essays in English on the Latin American neo-avant-garde poet Mario Santiago Papasquiaro. CR’s dedication to producing handsome, high-quality print editions at affordable subscription prices means that the authors who appear in its pages reach scholars as well as writers and the intellectually curious off campus. Recently, CR expanded its digital presence to include an occasional web-only edition of the journal, including a section devoted to covering the rich variety of cultural and literary events in Chicago. The dual focus on print and web assures that CR helps its contributors reach influential readers right where they are.

Is Your Group Affiliated With A University, Portal Or Other Agency?
If Yes, Please Name
University of Chicago
Primary Editor/Contact Person
Geronimo Sarmiento Cruz
Contact Title
Contact Email
essays, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, reviews, art, translation
Submissions Policy
Our unsolicited submissions are received online through Submittable, where we accept Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction. Our solicitations are a collaborative process between our Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction staffs, the Poetry and Fiction editors, and the head and managing editors. Solicitations are informed by the other content of particular issues, especially in the planning of special issues, which are a distinctive aspect of Chicago Review. At Chicago Review, we place great emphasis on publishing new writers, as well as publishing new translations of foreign authors as yet unknown to American readers and supporting the important work of young translators. Examples of this emphasis from the last year include: the French poet Anne Kawala, translated by Kit Schluter, the Chinese poet Chen Li, translated by Elaine Wong, the German fiction writer Xaver Bayer, translated by Daniel Bowles, the Chilean fiction writer Nona Fernandez, translated by Kathleen Heil, new poets avery r. young, Asiya Wadud, Tracy Zeman, and Aaron Coleman, and new fiction writers Vanessa MacDonald, Yxta Maya Murray, and Eley Williams. We have a distinguished history of publishing emerging writers, a legacy that we hope to carry forward into the future.
Accepts Unsolicited Submissions
Simultaneous Submissions Accepted
Reading Period
From 9 / 5 - 12 / 31
Reporting Time
3 - 6 months
Author Payments
Number Of Paid Staff
Number Of Unpaid Staff
Year Founded
Total Circulation
650 subscribers
Paid Subscriptions
$18 / Institution $42
Single Copy Price
Back Issues Available
Unsolicited Manuscripts Accepted