About

“Turning words into art is unnatural. It begins with a contrary attitude. It says, I am unhappy with the way things are and desire to make things different. Rather than represent the world, I will make something wildly and savagely new. I will defy logic. I will invest in new perceptions. I will combine and recombine and fabricate and juggle until something that I have never experienced is experienced. The process is alchemical. The process is violent. It goes to the heart of creativity. It disrupts and shatters. It is splendid with provocation. It is an aggression against banality. It is sharp and loud like a janitor scraping frost from a window. The hectic bounce of steam on a street after a truck roars by. The anarchy of waters, the comedy of the face, dangerous feelings vented from a cage of skin.” ~ John Olson

Contrary®
was founded in 2003 at the University of Chicago by students and alumni of Chicago’s Master of Arts Program in the Humanities. It was quickly embraced and has been abundantly nourished by graduates of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing program. It now operates independently and without a thought of profit on the South Side of Chicago and publishes writers from throughout the world.

Editor
Jeff McMahon

Poetry Editor
Shaindel Beers

Fiction Editor
Frances Badgett

Assistant Poetry Editor
Helday de la Cruz

Design Consultant
Andrew von Engel

Contact the Editors

About the Editors

Award-Winning Content in Contrary

Writers Digest, Top 50 Online Literary Magazines

Web Del Sol Five-Star Review

2010 Best New Poets

2010 Best of the Web

2008 Best of the Web

2008 Dzanc Notable Story

2007 Best of the Web

2007 Million Writers Notable Story

On the Contrary

The first problem is the “Contrary” above the content. Why is it called Contrary, you might ask, when some of its content isn’t? We have a contemplation to confront this contradiction: we insist that all of our content is contrary. And, we insist, so is all of yours. Doesn’t it seem possible that all content is contrary, that there is no for, there is only against? Why else does the word contrary, so openly against something, have no antonym? What opposes contrary? Nothing. That which opposes contrary, by opposing, becomes contrary.

Besides, we tend to think contrarily, and we hope our magazine expresses contrarities that otherwise might go unexpressed: writings and images that confront entities, voids, and the edges of their own categories. As for that poetic nothing, the “Journal of Unpopular Discontent,” we conceal our dreams in the double negative, hoping to become a journal of popular content. (Spring 2003)

Contrary Magazine
ISSN 1549-7038