A student in class yesterday said that she didn't think her writing was "literary" enough to submit to literary magazines. (And this is a student who has a wonderful essay in Victoria Zackheim's upcoming new anthology, Exit Laughing.) So I asked her what she thought literary meant and she said: Poetic, beautiful writing, you know, literary.
I think a lot of bad writing has come from the notion of "literary" and "poetic" (and has stopped a lot of people from writing in the first place). Good writing is both simple and deep. It's not fancy, it doesn't have poetic frou-frou with a lot of adjectives and adverbs. But good writing, true literary writing, goes under the surface of things. It reaches deep into the writer's life and experience and gives something - wisdom, knowledge, laughter - to the reader.
I told my student, who writes very funny, deep, serious essays to send her work out to literary magazines immediately.