EPOCH publishes fiction, poetry, essays, comics, and graphic art. In continuous publication since 1947, the magazine is edited by students and faculty of the MFA Program in Creative Writing, in Cornell University’s Department of Literatures in English.
Submission guidelines, advertising rates, an archive of past issues, and featured poetry and prose from the most recent issue are available at the magazine’s full site, www.epochliterary.com. The past ten years of EPOCH are also available to buy as individual issues in the EPOCH shop, along with subscriptions.
EPOCH has been a consistent source of funding for Cornell’s first-year MFA graduate students for more than thirty years. The magazine pays students a living wage as they begin their editorial and creative careers, helps fund their travel to the annual AWP conference, and provides valuable professional experience. We welcome gifts to EPOCH to support our students' access to these activities.
History of EPOCH
EPOCH was launched in 1947 by Professor Baxter Hathaway, who would remain its editor until 1976. In a brief history composed in 1948, found in the Rare and Manuscript collections at Cornell’s Kroch Library, he wrote:
EPOCH came into being as a result of the convergence of two projects. Baxter Hathaway, who had seen at close hand similar magazines in operation at two universities, had done some talking and writing about the founding of such a magazine at Cornell as part of the work in creative writing. Separately, James and Carol Hall and John Segelong had bean talking of starting a literary magazine. These parties merged their interests during the spring of 1947 and in July, 1947, sent a form letter to other members of the Cornell faculty seeking out other interested people. As a result of that letter, Morris Bishop, Robert H. Elias, Robert Arends, and Henry H. Adams joined in the venture. All these, together with Sherry Hathaway, put […] $100 each into the EPOCH treasury. As a result of notices in the Saturday Review of Literature, The Writer, and Writer’s Digest, manuscripts began to come in, and the first issue appeared. Robert Arends soon was forced to resign from the staff when he had to speed up getting his Ph.D. degree. Henry H. Adams resigned in June, 1948, since he was unable to continue to meet his share of the deficits. Sherry Hathaway, Vivian Sessions, and Helen Elias have done much of the mechanical work of the magazine, and students have given occasional assistance. Messrs. Friedrich Solmsen and Thomas G. Bergin have made donations to the magazine.
Since then, EPOCH has grown into one of the most prestigious and widely anthologized literary magazines in America. Its most recent editor-in-chief, Michael Koch, is largely responsible for its stellar reputation; Koch led the magazine from the late eighties until his death in 2022, and earned it the first-ever O. Henry Award for best literary magazine of the year, in 1997. Read about Michael Koch’s life and work here.