42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts. Although archived in quarterly issues, new writing is added online every few days.
Work first published in 42opus has been reprinted in Best New Poets and honored by the Million Writers Award for Fiction. Learn more about the awards and honors bestowed on 42opus and its contributors.
We strive to publish writing that moves and delights our minds and our hearts on a clean, pretty website.
Otherwise said: (the pleonastic extension): as editors, our primary duty is to present our readers the best writing available. Excellent writing engages the extended literary dialogue in the pursuit of truth. We don’t mean to say that we want writing that proposes to provide the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, but we believe that good writing—writing that moves and delights readers—is writing that negotiates, documents, enlivens, reshapes (and so on) one experience of living, however small, and does all of this with an awareness of literary history. Sometimes the best writing is untraditional in form or its handling of subject; sometimes it is not. Although we identify many of our favorites, their collective style is not meant to establish a limit on our perception of excellence or to reclassify the remaining writing on 42opus outside excellence, but to provide an entry into, and main thoroughfare through, our archives for new readers.
A good online magazine is accessible, intelligently designed, and carefully organized. Too many online literary magazines are riding the shortbus to publication, making design and organization decisions based on clumsy imitations of print magazines. The custom, hand-coded scripts that power 42opus are crafted to empower a reader’s experience online while promoting our writers; these scripts operate through a flexible, underlying web that semantically links writing across our seven years of publication. We are committed to further exploration of the organizational and presentational possibilities of the Web but only insofar as our implementation of new ideas does not compromise the integrity or accessibility of the writing we promote. Above all other technical considerations, the writing selected to appear in 42opus deserves a respectful presentation; we strive toward this goal through design that is contemporary, uncluttered, and professional.
a stony-faced history of 42opus
2001. It is summer, and I, Brian, am in Phoenix. It is very hot: this goes without saying. Still, outsiders don't understand—excuse 115+ degrees by saying but it's a dry heat. Native that I am, I lock up indoors, write computer code, and send many, many emails. There are no books of popular lit zine names, so I do what I can. 42opus is born.
2001–2003. Toddler 42o likes pretty things: the first eight issues are each unique, self-contained Flash presentations. Most issues include artwork, much of which is interactive and Flash-based.
March 2003. We run nonfiction for the first time.
Summer 2003. Making fresh Flash each issue is too much work. I switch 42opus into an XHTML and PHP format. We continue the slow paradigm shift from print publishing norms to electronic possibilities: we make archived work accessible without requiring readers open "issues." Lots of one-time copy-and-paste work for me = less clicking about for readers.
January 2004. Million Writers Award for Fiction debuts. They like us, they really like us.
Spring 2004. I ask an old friend to join 42opus as a Fiction Editor, who, by this time, lives in DC and studies writing at nearby Johns Hopkins. He was once a child of the Arizona desert, too, like me. This is not egregious cronyism as I pay him nothing.
June 2004. We run our first piece of classic writing.
Fall 2004. I complain over dinner to my neighbor–friend Sarah Vap that 42opus is too much work. That it should fold. She volunteers to read poetry submissions with me. It works well; we meet once a month on her couch or mine, read, drink tea. We live in a building called the Barbara Jean. The commute time from couch to couch is very short. Sarah is a better poet than I am; and she, like Zachary, works for nothing. There's good folk in the world.
March 2005. We stop publishing work in clumps and calling them issues; we add new work regularly. This is most logical for online magazines. All of 'em should do it, I start saying aloud.
May 2006. MySQL joins the other programming languages to keep 42opus fitter. MySQL makes 42opus.com run faster but won't let us eat ice cream after 9 p.m.
Fall 2006. Zachary, Sarah, and I are overworked and underpaid. Who knew literary magazines were such insolvent products of hard love? Through the big reach of craigslist, I ask for help. 100+ people answer and we pick out the best eleven.
October 2006. Best New Poets 2006 includes a poem from 42opus; we're proud to be the only online magazine with work reprinted in the anthology.
Winter 2006. We add labels to the writing, increase the accessibility of individual genres, add search, make the site all around easier to navigate. The Internet, I start telling people, should make it especially easy for readers to shift from one piece of writing they liked to a related other. No literary magazines are doing this yet. I try to make 42opus something close…
March 2007. Vol. 7, No. 1 begins in March and is the first issue to include our new Editors' Select quarterly prizes.
June 2007. We launch an online submissions manager that streamlines and organizes submissions for us and for our writers. As an added bonus, writers can log in to see the progress of a submission with the editorial staff throughout its courtship.
Summer 2007. Our staff grows again. I learn that there are a lot of wonderful editors in this world.
February 2008. Caroline Klocksiem joins Sarah Vap as Co-Poetry Editor. For the first time since founding 42opus in 2001, I do not read unsolicited manuscripts but function only as Managing Editor / IT guy. This must mean we're official, or something.
All site material copyright © 42opus 2001-2011. All literature and artwork copyright © indicated author/artist 2001-2011, except those works already in the public domain. No unauthorized reproduction, in whole or in part, of 42opus.com.
newsletter & privacy statement
The brief 42opus email newsletter is sent no more than once a month to subscribers. Subscribers' emails will not be released to any third parties. All requests to unsubscribe will be immediately honored.
The newsletter itself is short and painless: updates on site changes and upcoming authors. Nothing about our mothers or cats. Promise. To subscribe, send a blank email to subscribe (at) 42opus (dot) com, or enter your email below.
The (rare) ads on 42opus.com are provided by Google's automated AdWords. They are not endorsed by the editors of 42opus. While most advertisements to help writers seek publication are legitimate, some are not. Be wary of scams: please research all markets before submitting your writing or your money. You can learn more about how to detect writings scams at the Academy of American Poets and at Wind Publications.