In continuous publication since 1998, Fence is a biannual print journal of poetry, fiction, art, and criticism that redefines the terms of accessibility by publishing challenging writing distinguished by idiosyncrasy and intelligence rather than by allegiance with camps, schools, or cliques.
Fence is committed to publishing from the outside and the inside of established communities of writing, seeking always to interrogate, collaborate with, and bedevil all the systems that bring new writing to light.
As a non-profit, Fence is mandated to make decisions outside of the requirements of market force or capital concern, and only in keeping with its mission:
to maintain a dedicated venue for writing and art that bears the clear variant mark of the individual’s response to their context;
and to make that venue accessible to as many, and as widely, as possible so that this work can reach others, that they may be fully aware of how much is possible in writing and art;
such that Fence publishes almost entirely from its unsolicited submissions;
and is committed to publishing the literature and art of queer writers and writers of color.
Fence is edited by
Mendi Lewis Obadike
Xuan Juliana Wang
editors of Fence past
Fence is a program of Fence Magazine, Incorporated, a nonprofit organization in the state of New York. Since 2007, Fence Magazine, Incorporated has been affiliated with the University at Albany and the New York State Writers Institute. Fence Magazine, Inc. enjoys the support of the National Endowment of the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.
Launched in 2001, Fence Books publishes poetry, fiction, and critical texts and anthologies, and prioritizes sustained support for its authors, many of whom come to us through our book contests and then go on to publish second, third, fourth books.
To keep informed about contests and their results, sign up for our newsletter.
You can submit to our book prizes during their submission windows.
The Fence Modern Poets Series is open to poets of any gender or gender identity and at any stage of career, and offers a one thousand dollar cash prize in addition to book publication. Past winners include Joyelle McSweeney, Prageeta Sharma, Paul Legault, and Steven Alvarez.
The Ottoline Prize, formerly incarnated as the Motherwell Prize and the Alberta Prize, is an annual series, generously endowed by Jennifer S. Epstein, which offers publication to a second book of poems or greater by a woman, as well as a five thousand dollar cash prize. Past winners include Chelsey Minnis, Harmony Holiday, Sasha Steensen, Laura Sims, and Ariana Reines.
In 2013 we launched the Fence Modern Prize in Prose, a contest for open-form prose projects of any length written in English. Alternating genres include novels, travel writing, criticism, memoir, poetics, biography, autobiography, speculation. Winners include Ottessa Moshfegh and Hilary Plum.
From 2007 to 2015, Fence Books was publisher in the National Poetry Series, and through this prize published books by Rodrigo Toscano, Douglas Kearney, and Jena Osman, among others. Judges included Marjorie Welish, Catherine Wagner, C. S. Giscombe, Bernadette Mayer, Ariana Reines, and John Keene.
Fence Books is a program of Fence Magazine, Incorporated, a nonprofit organization in the state of New York. Since 2007, Fence Magazine, Incorporated has been affiliated with the University at Albany and the New York State Writers Institute. Fence Magazine, Inc. enjoys the support of the National Endowment of the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.
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By phone . . . 518-567-7006
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Science Library 320
University at Albany
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
Born in 2016 Fence Digital is an electronic imprint of Fence Books and publishes multimedia poetry, fiction, and hybrid image texts that reinvest digitization with materiality, treating the screen as a skin. This extends Fence's mission to redefine the terms of accessibility to contemporary art writing by sharing it within its own variousness. Fence Digital believes that idiosyncratic and alternative writing should be read wherever you are, whomever you are with, and on any device you can hold. It is Fence Digital's mission to publish objects that relate systemically and formally to their media and that collaborate with the newfangled modes of dissemination and representation available in digital publishing environments.
Afrosonics/ Mythscience is a suite of interdependent projects spearheaded by Harmony Holiday in conjunction with Fence Books, and including a regular podcast and digital archive of diasporic oratory updated weekly, a living physical archive of uncollected jazz poetics lps soon to be housed at the Poetic Research Bureau in Los Angeles, and a series of live and digital events called The Mingus School, through which we combine archival practice with ideas rooted in the tradition of collective improvisation and just dig into and discuss and show our archives. Harmony is also working on the first ever map of black archives, because we need to know where our cultural capital ends up and why, and reissues of out-of-print material from the jazz poetics archive so that they can be enjoyed by a wider audience.
La Presse is an imprint of Fence Books and is dedicated to contemporary French poetry and hybrid-genre work translated by English-language poets. We're a nano-press; we publish one to three books a year.
With our books, we hope to honor and extend the poetic friendship that has existed between France and the U.S. since at least the mid-19th century and has been particularly active since the 1960s.
Since its inception, this friendship has been based in a mutual exploration of and experimentation with language and in the conviction that translation can lead to ways of surpassing the limits of a given language that exist nowhere within that language itself. La Presse hopes to create a space for such surpassments.
Launched in 2002--one of the earliest sites for poetry criticism on the web--and published almost continuously since then, The Constant Critic was formulated to answer a lack of timely and trustworthy long-form critical attention to new books of poetry from small and large presses. Newly reformulated in 2018 with a shorter duration of constancy (one year guest editorship) and a larger critical purview (poetry and fiction and nonfiction prose), The Constant Critic continues to apply a theory of trust and time to its attention to the current publishing industry and the new books it produces.