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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted September 22, 2008

  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date June 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Anti-(poetry) is a poetry journal that flouts the rules of poetry by saying they search for poems that are contrary to traditional standards and different than other journals and current conventions in the genre – and to be sure they have an anarchist’s glee about them in the modes of expression they utilize. They publish two full issues a year while featuring different poets every two weeks.
  • Issue Number Volume 13 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The poems in this issue of The Aurorean focus on the outdoor wonders experienced in spring and summer, giving various perspectives on the natural beauty of these two seasons. This issue is a testament to The Aurorean’s goal that their poems inspire, uplift, and are meditational.
  • Issue Number Number 73
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The editors of Crazyhorse give the stories and poems they’ve selected for their most recent issue room to breathe. Often, they print only a handful of lines of verse on the magazine’s generously margined pages. All that space invites the reader to savor the writing, much of which is vivid and haunting.
  • Issue Number 2008
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online
decomP magazine, a publisher of prose, poetry and art since its inception in 2004, has published an ambitious collection featuring the work of a diverse range of poets, often highlighting the appeal in their focus on the narratives of the common American and their experiences, whether they be spiritual, satirical, political or emotional import.
  • Issue Number Volume 42 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Winter 2008 issue of The Laurel Review is filled with poetry and fiction interested in examining the way thoughtful people try to reconcile themselves with nature while maintaining a special humanity. The poems and stories are imbued with a grounded, tactile love of flora and fauna, gentle breezes and warming sunlight to which we can all relate.
  • Issue Number Volume 47 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
You know you’re in store for quality fiction and poetry when you pick up a copy of Michigan Quarterly Review. Jane Gillette’s wonderful story “Divine Afflatus” combines two seemingly disparate narratives – one featuring a poetry professor who continues to mourn the loss of his son, and a modern-day housewife who has too much time on her hands. The two narratives merge in a climactic moment for both characters. Equally good was John Allman’s story, “Waiting for Z,” in which the protagonist waits for his wife to come back from a whirlwind trip around the world. Both stories are exemplars of realistic narrative fiction at its best.
  • Issue Number Volume 49 Number 4
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Midwest Quarterly (“a journal of contemporary thought”) is an unpretentious academic review that also includes a selection of poetry. This issue’s articles are scholarly, but quite readable, not overly burdened with jargon or theoretical constructs that try one’s patience, as so much overly formal academic writing tends to do.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 3
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Two of the most frequent complaints about the state of contemporary literature are the woeful lack of readers and the abysmal quality of writing available for the oh-so-few readers who are out there. Obviously, these two generalizations are just that, and literary magazines like New York Tyrant serve as a counterpoint to the creeping edge of Literary Apocalypse. This, the third issue, is now sold out. People are reading. And the quality and range of the writing is staggering.
  • Issue Number Volume 13 Number 2
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
At one point in Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Road, the main character laments how he’s forgetting things’ names: “Colors. The names of birds. Things to eat. Finally the names of things one believed to be true.” The work in this issue of Salamander reacts against this amnesia, knowing that loss in specifics results in loss of meaning. As Jennifer Barber, the editor, says, “[These pieces] restore the essential questions about what we live through, what we imagine, and what we tell, answering Rilke’s call to ‘Speak and bear witness.’” Through Salamander’s focus on life’s details, it does just that.
  • Issue Number Number 10
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
“Imagination has a heavy appetite / for destruction. Whose red weather / gathers names, makes do / with the least momentous stuff.” Ashley McWater’s poem, “Defending,” sums up Spinning Jenny’s editorial vision: imagination as destruction in the sense of destroying expectations, shattering tired patterns, un-doing traditional formulas, un-making the routine and predictable, and creating something new.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
Superstition Review is not just another journal of interviews, art, fiction, nonfiction and poetry. This creation is a unique collaboration between an all-star team of professional writers/professors and the Arizona State University student community of writers. In this first issue, although there is gluttony of writing selections for you choose from (mostly from professors), you are not left bored, fatigued or searching for your lucky rabbits foot to take you into uncharted and more creative territories in whatever genre you choose to read from first.
  • Issue Number Number 6
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Versal Six is published by wordsinhere in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and features poetry and prose written originally in English, as well as work translated into English from a variety of languages, and artwork, including reproductions of drawings, photographs, and paintings, as well as sculpture and ceramics. The journal is handsomely designed and produced – the quality of the paper and printing is exceptional. This issue includes work by writers from the Netherlands, the United States, Argentina, Uruguay, Morocco, Australia, Romania, Wales, England, Germany, China, South Africa, and the Czech Republic. It is worth noting that many of the writers who appear in Versal Six have extensive international experience, having studied and worked in as many as a half dozen different countries.
  • Issue Number Volume 2 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
“Our goal is to add a new voice to the increasingly sprawling network of artists and writers in the interior American West and beyond, wrap it up in mountain culture, and do it even though it doesn’t make sense for a lot of reasons,” explains editor Brian Schott in this journal from Montana. One of the journal’s most appealing aspects for readers, and most useful for writers, is to publish excerpts of forthcoming and unpublished full-length works: passages from a new book of creative nonfiction by writer and filmmaker Annick Smith, Crossing the Plains with Bruno; excerpts from a new work of nonfiction, Why I Came West, by Rick Bass, whose work here is preceded by a brief interview; and a segment from an unpublished novel by J.R. Satterfield Jr. titled Soon You Will Cry. I am looking forward especially to Smith’s book on Bruno, her Labrador retriever, and also to Why I Came West. Bass is at his best, I think, when he brings together his considerable talent for storytelling with his keen observations of place and the social conditions that inform it.
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