Portage publishes literary writing, art, music, film, and cultural commentary from the upper Midwest. The goals of Portage are to:

  • promote conversation about the diversity offered by the region
  • foster growth within the upper Midwestern creative communities
  • connect upper Midwestern writers and artists to each other and the larger literary and artistic worlds
  • explore what it means to live and create in the upper Midwest

Based in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Portage is an online literary journal run and edited by undergraduate students of Carroll University. We admit that the definition of the upper Midwest is rather nebulous, so we have chosen to define it as the region including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. That being said, we are always willing to stretch the boundaries a bit (because boundaries are meant to be stretched, right?).

The upper Midwest is a region of contradiction, yet it exists in an odd harmony.  Lawyers drink a beer after work with poultry farmers; silos cozy up to skyscrapers. The upper Midwest is where urbanization and agriculture shake hands and agree to work in tandem. Portage aims to reflect the same diversity. We want poetry about a broken windmill in Iowa sharing space with a painting of Chicago at midnight. We want a photograph of an owl reading Big Ten football statistics or the story of a girl who leaves her pet cow to pursue a life of modeling. If your work matches our vision, we want to read it.

We welcome new, emerging, and established writers and artists.

About Our Name
A portage is a bridge or crossing from one body of water to another. Historically, the upper Midwest was a land of river and lake crossings for native peoples, voyageurs, and explorers. Today, the crossings are more subtle: from country to suburb to city; from the east side of Minneapolis to the west side, over the Mississippi on I-94.

It is likely no coincidence that the upper Midwest has the greatest concentration of Portages in the country.  There are cities of Portage in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin; there are Portage Lakes in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan, and the Grand Portage Indian Reservation (and accompanying National Monument) is in the northeast corner of Minnesota.

We chose Portage because the arts are a bridge.  They can join those who live and work in the upper Midwest.  They allow residents to leave the region and welcome those who have never been here before.  They unite our creative mind with the soil in which we have chosen to plant our roots.




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