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Our Mission

River Styx cultivates contemporary literary arts in St. Louis and beyond through its magazine and community programs. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Whereas many literary magazines are affiliated with a university (and thus receives financial support from the university), River Styx is an independent publisher supported by small grants, in-kind donations, and sales of the print magazine.

Historically, River Styx published works by writers and artists the editors believed would make a significant and lasting impression in their genres, such as Margaret Atwood, Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Bly, Rita Dove, Allen Ginsberg, Yusef Komunyakaa, Li-Young Lee, Czesław Miłosz, Sharon Olds, Octavio Paz, Carl Phillips, Adrienne Rich, Ntozake Shange, Charles Simic, Gary Snyder, Susan Sontag, Arthur Sze, Wisława Szymborska, Derek Walcott, and many others. In retrospect, the voices of these and other early River Styx contributors continue to affect the cultural landscape nationally and internationally.

River Styx remains dedicated to publishing the works of writers and artists we believe represent current and future movements in society and culture at local, national, and global levels, whether that work is embedded in historical, contemporary, future, abstract, or impossible contexts. In other words, we seek out work which protests, proclaims, fumes, experiments, innovates, elevates, ruminates, and rushes ahead. And the form that work takes is often surprising, occasionally challenging to our sensibilities and ossified narratives, and always feels urgent and alive in some way.

Perhaps most importantly, in our present era of quickly appearing and evaporating social and cultural moments, we believe in the old-fashioned idea that creative talent should be supported early and often, seeing our journal as an opportunity to sustain writers and artists even in moments when their careers seem fallow but the work feels critically needed. On that note, in honor of River Styx’s decades-long commitment to publishing promising writers and artists multiple times across their careers, we want to focus not just on publishing great work but on investing in the longevity of those who show promise to create works that will persist through community building and repeat publishing opportunities. We also believe that some stories will only appear once in the world so we focus on publishing work that represents a distinct voice, experience, or telling that is unlikely to ever be replicated. While we publish some solicited work to anchor an issue or to balance a themed issue, we are avid fans of the slush pile, looking for work that is singular in voice, tone, and approach; that might be rejected or ignored elsewhere because it is innovating voice, medium, and form; and that tells or depicts a narrative that is unlikely to be repeated elsewhere.  

Our ethos is also demonstrated in the work of writers and artists we have recently published: Jodi Johnson (poetry), Fortunato Salazar (fiction), Parastoo Geranmayeh (fiction), Darien Gee (nonfiction), C3 Crew (poetry), Rajiv Mohabir (nonfiction), Daniel Ruiz (poetry), Mark Mayer (fiction), Mitchell Glazier (poetry), Meera Rohit Kumbhani (fiction), Robert Nazar Arjoyan (fiction), Dana Al Rashid (multimedia), Jake Fournier (poetry), Jane Wong (multimedia nonfiction), Katya Apekina (fiction), and Sarah Viren (nonfiction), among others. 

Entering into the 50th anniversary year of River Styx, we are more eager than ever to continue the journal’s tradition of spotting, publishing, and supporting the works of debut, early-career, and established writers and artists and supporting them through the ebb and flow of recognition in the hopes they will persist in their commitment to their work.


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