The conventional wisdom is correct. Since the end of the Korean War, fewer and fewer large circulation magazines have published fiction (and even fewer serious poetry), but at the same time, the writing population of the United States seems to have increased--and certainly brushed up on its technique--probably as the result of the growing number of writing programs, most at the graduate level, some undergraduate, and proliferating summer workshops around the country.
Where to publish, then? The 15-page list at the end of the annual Pushcart Prize volume offers hundreds of answers, from "Agada," a journal published in Berkeley, to "Yellow Silk" published in the neighboring Albany, with magazines and journals in between such as "Black Warrior Review," "The Long Story," "MSS.," "New Letters," "Tar River Poetry" and "The Walt Whitman Review," out of Tuscaloosa, North Andover, Mass., Binghampton, N.Y., Columbia, Mo., Chapel Hill and Iowa City, respectively.
The annual Pushcart Anthology of the best from the little magazine will probably be here to help the interested reader to sample across this vast smorgasbord of new American writing, not all of it satisfying, but all of it fresh. For the person who enjoys good, sometimes innovative fiction, this year's volume will be attractive, what with stories by Stuart Dybek (who recently won one of the new $25,000 Whiting Awards and so is better known now, and deservedly so, than when he first published the piece included here, "Hot Ice," an elegiac tale about Chicago working class life, in "Antaeus," Tim O'Brien (with a piece from his daring new novel "The Nuclear Age") T. C. Boyle and William Kittredge, two marvelous short- story makers from west of the Continental Divide; Russell Banks, with a New Hampshire story that fiddles with form but in the end drives to the heart, and Janet Kauffman, who teaches and works a farm in Michigan, with a Detroit story that deserves to go national.