Dog Days

Dog Days

Dog Days 1080 810 Jason D. Ramsey

Dear Readers,

These are the dog days of summer. Heat swelters in afternoons, and then gives way to cool evening breezes. Air is thick. Clothes stick. Family vacations are memories. School is starting; parents are anxious. COVID strains loom.

People are discordant. Tempers and temperatures flare, hope rises and falls, and then falls further. Humankind is at a breaking point, a sundering, and our future hangs in the balance of humility and reason. A bleak horizon without drastic change.

Barren’s motto has always been to showcase introspective written and visual art for hard truths, long stares, and gritty lenses. This is selfish, because it is how I see the world. This year has been tough on me. Busy schedules and deadlines have been overshadowed by family developments (dementia, autism), untimely deaths, and self-introspection that has revealed my own (hard, frightening) truths. But, I understand that this year has been far tougher on you, as the weight of the world has ravaged minds, hardened hearts, and taken lives.

Issue 19 marks three years of Barren Magazine. What a journey it has been. You all are fabulous. You seek more from life than most.

Home office, where magazine issues are assembled.

I began developing Barren Magazine in April 2018, in my basement family room while watching TV at night. It started with an idea and inspiration, and became a reality when some 200 submissions came in during that June and July. I ended up scrounging for photos to pair with the writing – I didn’t think about photographer submissions – and so in Issue 1 you’ll find fragments of my life: my wife, kids, house, yard, neighborhood, vacation spots. It’s literally a part of me. You’ll also find two poems from this guy named Jack B. Bedell, who took a chance on a new journal, and who has since been published in about four thousand more. Jack is also featured in this issue, where nearly a thousand submitted poems over a three week period went through several levels of reader- and editorship and culminated in an acceptance rate of roughly 1.2%.

The arts and literature community is a vibrant one. Barren has been blessed with overwhelming support from day one. Here are some (astonishing) figures as of this writing for Barren Magazine after three years in this world:

  • 532,400 website visitors
  • 18,426 – Twitter followers
  • 2,191 – Instagram followers
  • 1,662 – Facebook followers
  • 912 – posts on
  • 643 – writers published
  • 124 – photographers published
  • 53 – current Masthead volunteers
  • 50 – countries represented
  • 48 – US states represented
  • 19 – issues published
  • 5 – OG Masthead members, who came aboard in November 2018 after Issue 3 (one of our most successful to date): Lannie Stabile, Madeleine Corley, James McAdams, Katherine Tweedle, and alyssa hanna ♥

None of this would have been possible without beautiful humans who seek the challenge, inspiration, emotion, and solace that comes from written and visual art. If you are reading this, I thank you. To Barren’s world-class volunteer staff — thank you. To our ridiculously talented contributors — thank you. To everyone who has submitted material to Barren, or to any other literary journal — thank you. Special thanks to Samantha Oty, who helped immensely with backend assembly on this issue, and cut my production time from 40 hours down to around 30. Special thanks, too, to Bif Naked for her kindness and enthusiasm for life, art, and Barren.

Be kind. Be patient. Love well.

And breathe.

I  hope you enjoy this issue, and the many more to come.

Love to you all,


Jason D. Ramsey
Publisher / Editor-in-Chief
Barren Magazine

Header photo: Bif Naked.

About the Author

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1 Comment
  • Hi, Jason.

    My name is Jesse Darnay. I’m a novelist and poet from Chicago.

    Indeed, my friend, it has been–continues to be–rough. Well-put. My hope is that from the smoldering rubble that is this country’s structure will now emerge a kind of phoenix of new art, voices, perspectives. A little Renaissance, if you will.

    I’m sorry to hear about your personal challenges.

    Though your acceptance rate is daunting and though my work tends to swing romantic/imagistic (I still like to fancy myself living in the world of John Keats), I have a few poems I’d like to share.

    Please let me know when your window re-opens.

    Take good care.

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