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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted June 17, 2008

  • Issue Number Volume 12 Number 3
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Colorful, penetrating art, theory and a treasure trove of poems is what comprises a major portion of this issue. Before reading these poems (about politics, a chicken, even the floors of a nasty bathroom stall off the New Jersey Turnpike), we are introduced to the artwork of Jackie Skrzynski: startlingly stark paintings of children in various states of action and repose with titles like “Cold Comfort” and “Boy Napping with Bears.” These pieces are a great first course of what is to come when we are presented with audio of the authors reading their poems on the pages ahead.
  • Issue Number Volume 3 Number 1
  • Published Date March 2008
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly online
Blood Orange Review is a poetry, fiction, essay and art journal with a dark skin and a smooth philosophical center. Enter the orange confines of their most current issue and be exposed to crimson narratives imparting stories of characters and places told with their fascinating and sometimes tragic details (whether the narrative centers on class, a jellyfish or the struggles inherent in the immigrant experience).
  • Issue Number Issue 16
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual online
A serene and bright swathe of red and yellow sunset greets you before you even read a word of Blue Print Review, a journal that incorporates an image, be it a painting, photograph or sketch, with something like a poem, short story or prose piece – although it never explicitly labels any of them as anything but “words.” Even the all-encompassing theme of being “Lost, Found and Stolen” is open to interpretation, much like a painting or photograph.
  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Created as a result of the one-time issue of the same name by the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, Cadillac Cicatrix offers a diverse range of poetry, nonfiction, prose, art, criticism and video. Leaving so much literary food on the readers’ plates, they will be forced to ingest its offerings one course at a time.
  • Issue Number Volume 7
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Center is 200 plus pages of what you would expect from a quality literary journal – poems, short stories, autobiographical essays, and an interview. It also contains the not-so-usual, “Symposium on the Line: Theory and Practice in Contemporary Poetry.” Lines, even more, line breaks, are discussed imaginatively by distinguished poets.
  • Issue Number Number 5
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Court Green is a natty-looking 220 plus page paperback-sized journal with a pink plaid cover and a world of poetry inside. The first section contains absolute jewels, nothing off-the-wall or experimental, just good poems, a variety to pique every interest. For example, the whimsical “Sexy” by Jack Anderson: “The train stops and people leave – how sexy. / New people step in; they’re sexy, too. / That’s how it goes as stations pass: sexy.” It’s fun and sassy and everything summer should be, subway or no. In contrast to “Sexy,” Kevin Carollo’s “Do I Have a Doctor’s Note?” decries school violence by having a youth pose questions: “I didn’t make it / to the audition? / Because I still / had to learn / how to kiss fire?” He hooks the reader effectively with the tragedy and the greater question “Why?”
  • Issue Number Number 21
  • Published Date Winter 2007/2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Dark Horse: the Scottish-American Poetry Magazine is simple enough to look at: a plain white cover with a mirrored horse icon in the lower right corner, and content items listed plainly. However, it does pack a punch into its ninety-five pages. There is poetry, but it mostly focuses on four poets.
  • Issue Number Number 33
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Harvard Review is not a first pick among reviewers, and I’m not sure why. Perhaps the name scares some away – too high falutin’? However, in reading this issue, I felt not the least bit shut out of the content, and if anything, found much to access and some enjoyable challenges.
  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date April 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Hot Metal Bridge, the innovative and fiercely imaginative online literary magazine of the University of Pittsburgh, publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction and criticism that will cause such an extreme variety of reactions that by the time we are done reading, we will be so spent and drained that we will have to go home, rest, dive into a hot vat of peanut oil perhaps, before attempting to peruse any more of its wacky literary experiments.
  • Issue Number Volume 6 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
What struck me first about Hotel Amerika was its gorgeous design and layout. Its pages are taller and wider than most journals – it looks and feels like a trade magazine. Prose is printed in two wide columns of text, while poetry roams freely across the page.
  • Issue Number Volume 61 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue marks The Hudson Review’s 60th anniversary, which is an impressive feat in and of itself, especially in the impermanent world of literary journals. It features two stories by Penelope Fitzgerald who died in 2000. For readers unfamiliar with her work, she won the Booker Prize in 1973 for her novel Offshore and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1993 for The Blue Flower.
  • Issue Number Number 8
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Knock: Hurt on Purpose is as amazing, off-the-wall, and anguished as the title suggests. There are some very strange pieces inside. Weird. Off-beat. Even creepy. And downright original, stunning, hair-raisingly good! Try the odd short-fiction piece, “Artificial Heart” by E.C. Jarvis, which effectively gives the reader a rise with its dark, twisted sense of humor. Then, “Plump” by Matthew Hamity, a love-hurt story, complete with a villainess-narrator that gives a chilly slant on the definition of “love,” complete with tears.
  • Issue Number Volume 5 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Although its content was featured in notable anthologies, Sport Literate has been riding the proverbial pine since May 2005. Thankfully, the publication has returned to the mound and serves up this Chicago-themed issue of creative nonfiction, poetry and photographs.
  • Issue Number Issue 390
  • Published Date June 2008
  • Publication Cycle Monthly
Confession: It’s been ten years since I last read The Sun, and I’m not sure why, but now I feel a sense of regret for all I have missed. If you don’t read this three-decades-old, ad-free publication, or don’t know it at all, get this issue (at least). The interview with Edward Tick is an absolute, tell-everyone-you-know-to-read-this-now piece. Tick currently directs Soldier’s Heart, a nonprofit initiative to promote “community-based efforts to heal the effects of war.” As a college teacher working with returning vets, I felt guided by Tick’s insight. The most poignant comment for me: “We have a parade and shoot off fireworks, which scares the hell out of many veterans. A better way to honor them would be to listen to their stories. We should give them new ways to serve and an honorable place in our communities.” Thanks to Tick, I have already started an initiative in my community. This interview, read in combination with Edwin Romond’s poem “Brother in Arms,” about the treatment of ‘Nam vets in a particular workplace, gives voice to the sorry spectrum of response our “warrior class” experience.
  • Issue Number Volume 21
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
With the tagline “The Modern Writer as Witness,” this publication assembles work by authors from the U.S., South America, Korea, Vietnam and a 10th-century Jewish poet from Muslim Spain.
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