an online literary magazine for extra pungent poetry and prose

Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Garlic Press. We’re so pleased you’re here—to soak up, bask in, and be stunned awake, we hope, by the careful work of the ten writers featured in the ensuing pages. 

That’s why we’re here, anyway. For us, The Garlic Press is an opportunity to reorient our attention toward our experience as embodied beings, and to the language we use, as thinking beings and social beings, to approximate and understand that experience. Hence the request—which loved ones warned us would attract some shocking poetry and prose—for writers to send their best and most pungent work. Many delivered,

like Jennifer Maloney, who confronts us “with the stink of rotted teeth” in the opening stanza of “Recertifying”; and Israel Okonji, whose poem “To One of My Kinfolk” surprised us with a throat apparently stuffed with toenails and a vacuum cleaner full of yams. We gasped in awe and grief at the “ribbons / of magma punted into space” in Michael Meyerhofer’s “Dear Stillborn,” and winced in recognition as the speaker in BEE LB’s “all at once” wonders whether their family “would use the right name when talking about my dead-self.”

It must be clear already that we’re not totally unflinching in the face of the pungence we’ve solicited. But we believe in being made to flinch, sometimes. We believe in lightning and bright colors. We believe in the odd thwack of glass against our foreheads (yes) or thumbtack to the ass to make us jump up and look around. We believe in now and then having to slam on brakes for deer crossing. We believe, that is, in being made to notice we’re alive, and alive among others.

That’s the other reason we’re here: to be in community, which we’ve found in abundance as we’ve prepared this issue. We were floored to receive 533 submissions in the three months of our first reading period, from people who live and write all over the world. As a team of just three people, with no institutional backing, living and writing mostly within the limits of the Salt Lake Valley, we are thrilled that so many people have found us, let alone reached out to us with what they’ve made. We’re also reaching, and writing cover letters and scouring the web for free subs. It’s an honor and a relief to know we’re in such good company.

With that, we hope you’ll join us in relishing the poetry, prose, and hybrid work in TGP’s first issue. Many thanks to Audrey T. Carroll, Justin Evans, John Gallaher, Keiraj M. Gillis, Nicholas Goudsmit, BEE LB, Jennifer Maloney, Michael Meyerhofer, and Israel Okonji; you have made us a magazine, and we’re so grateful you’ve allowed us to offer a home to your work.

Caylee, Cole, and Nain