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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted April 1, 2010

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  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Don’t let its diminutive packaging fool you: 5x5 packs a punch. Five poets and one visual artist (not counting the cover photo) packed into a saddle-stapled 5x5 journal that somewhat resembles a CD sleeve. It’s perfect to tuck into your pocket and share with others over coffee.
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  • Issue Number Issue 9
  • Published Date Winter 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Like a still life painting, the fiction pieces, poetry, nonfiction, artwork, interviews, and illustrations gathered in this issue are artfully placed to bring each piece into the best light. With no distinct sections, the flow of one genre into the next allows us to savor the changing role of food from work to work. Beginning with the cover art, “Pie Wrangler” by Marilyn Murphy, which depicts a cowboy of sorts struggles to keep the massive piece of pie he has roped from carrying him skyward, this issue is interested in the everyday and sometimes playful mixture of food and experience, the various forms of appetite and consumption, and food memories we attach to the senses.
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  • Issue Number Issue 84
  • Published Date Winter 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Halldor Gudmundsson’s essay, “Halldor Laxness Across the Universe” opens the Winter 2010 issue of Brick, a Toronto-based literary journal. Using Nobel-Prize-winning-novelist Halldor Laxness as an example, Gudmundsson explores how literature travels and meaning evolves based on culture, language, and ideology. Building upon this premise, Bernardo Atxaga explores the publishing history of Allen Ginsburg’s “Howl” in Franco-era Spain. Yet, Jose Teodoro’s conversation with British writer Geoff Dyer and a subsequent excerpt from his novel, Out of Sheer Rage, serve as the thematic anchor for the rest of the journal.
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  • Issue Number Issue 7
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
If The Paris Review is your worldly college roommate who unselfconsciously regales you with travel stories from “the continent,” Eleven Eleven is the cool kid in your creative writing class who refused to follow rules or obey the professor. The journal is produced by the California College of the Arts, possibly the reason that the editors strike an interesting balance between poetry, prose and visual art.
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  • Issue Number Issue 5
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Fifth Wednesday Journal provides readers a wide selection of fiction and poetry, as well as photography and a nonfiction essay. The journal’s goal, “Defining literature. In real context.” is achieved in this issue by examining people in a variety of places and situations. Featured poet, Michael Van Walleghen, creates colorful and almost tangible images of different stages of his life. “The Golgotha Fun Park” reads,
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  • Issue Number Volume 63 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Jeff Gundy's essay, "Hard Books," in this issue of The Georgia Review says, "Sturdy cloth covers, it is true, rarely house the most daring experiments or frontal assaults on literary norms." He is right, of course, and his quote is somewhat appropriate for Georgia Review. I didn't find much daring work here, nothing that shattered my perceptions of poetry and writing, though there is much to enjoy. Gundy also says in this essay "persistence over time is still real, and ... being of the moment is not the only value." So, there it is.
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  • Issue Number Number 5
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Two of the seven works of fiction in this issue are first-publications for authors, suggesting the editors mean it when they state their intent to publish “today’s prominent writers and artists alongside upcoming talents.”
  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This special issue dedicated to “Spain’s Modern Experience” is guest edited by Heidi Czerwiec and Claudia Routon, who selected and translated the work. Originals and translations appear side by side and include poems in Spanish, Asturian, and Galician. Poets include several quite well known in Spain and others in the early stages of their careers.
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  • Issue Number Number 12
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
There is a collection of art pieces by Tyler Ingram within the most recent issue of KNOCK that perhaps captures the journal’s idiosyncratic and smart aesthetic better than any words written here can. Working with acrylic, canvas, paper, and Smith & Wesson – not to mention a Winchester Model 25 .12 gauge shotgun and Remington .22 caliber rifle – Ingram quite literally blasts ordinary images and plain paper with paint, creating a wild paroxysm of colorful abstractions and unorthodox configurations. This sensibility – color! zeal! nonconformity! – is at the gonzo heart of KNOCK, and if you’re willing to move with its freaky beat, then you’re going to like what you find between its garish covers.
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  • Issue Number Volume 13
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Lake Effect is an annual publication out of Penn State featuring fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction. Arranged in sections by genre, the journal makes for easy negotiating. The book feels large, solid and is printed in easily legible font.
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  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The front page of Lalitamba states, “During our travels was born the idea for a literary magazine that would uplift the spirit.” Lalitamba presents within its rich 250 pages a variety of poetry, essays and short fiction that explore faith and spirituality, with writing that is rooted in everything from Buddhism to Christianity. As would be appropriate for a spiritual magazine, Lalitamba opens with a section titled, “Letters and Prayers.” Although short, these are the perhaps the heaviest pieces of writing in the issue. They reflect a profound sense of suffering and loss that would speak to the kinds of readers most drawn to this kind of magazine.
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  • Issue Number Volume 43 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In this issue, an essay by Lisa Ohlen Harris most stirs my mind, encouraging me to return for a second and third look. I like her outlook on life as much as the writing itself. In the piece entitled “Exiles,” the author ponders the death of her father-in-law. She lives in Jordan with her husband and two children, one a newborn.
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  • Issue Number Issue 6
  • Published Date Summer 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
At first glance, the content of New Genre looks just as its title asserts: a super modern magazine fitted out with cutting edge writing and concerns. This impression is accurate. Take “A Sing Economy” by Adam Golaski, for example. Golaski attempts to explain the plight of the poet in a money-based society. Golaski disagrees with the attitude that such writers, those of short stories included, are to blame for their pitiful financial situation. It is in fact marketable print that lowers the overall intelligence of the population – or specifically the population’s ability to actually recognize thought-provoking writing – and the responsibility for that sorry state of affairs rests with publishers not writers. Golaski says: “Blame the publishers, then blame the editors, then blame the writers, and not the other way around.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2009-2010
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
This issue brings together prose and poetry on a variety of subjects. Tony Hoagland edits this issue, choosing to pair works of transcendentalism and realism in such a way that brings out the best of both. Each piece varies in style from the previous one, serving to continually cleanse the palate and keep each work fresh.
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  • Issue Number Issue 16
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This journal captivated my interest from the beginning with its colorful and surreal cover art of a boy drawing while a fez-wearing turtle directs him (“Boy and Turtle Drawing” by Judy A. Muscara-Orfanos, acrylic on cigar box). At only 6” x 6” and about 40 pages in length, even the physical size of the journal captured my attention and begged to be taken along for an enjoyable read on the go. It held me through to the end with the imaginative prose, much of it written so beautifully it borders on poetry. Kirsten Rue writes in her piece “Spelling,” that “she is the child born between others. She is the one with the sandy-sprouting skull, pink-shelled fingertips, snowflake collars . . . She rides a bandy-wheel and counts the glitter in the sky.”
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  • Issue Number Number 7
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Every few months
I love a good theme. And what better theme is there for the current state of affairs than "lean times"?
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  • Issue Number Volume 7 Issue 1
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Redivider is published by graduate students in the Writing, Literature, and Publishing Department at Emerson College. I had not seen the journal before the current issue and, since this is the seventh volume, I realize I’ve missed out on six years of provocative writing and terrific and unusual artworks. This issue features new writing from established and lesser known fiction writers, essayists, and poets (several names stand out: Sherman Alexie, Dan Chaon, Franz Wright, Kevin Prufer, and Pablo Medina); photographs, drawings, and paintings, many both weird and wonderful, from 12 visual artists; an interview with fiction writer and essayist Alexander Chee; and five thoughtful book reviews. The journal also includes its “Quickie Award” winning fiction and poetry, selected by George Singleton and Rane Arroyo respectively.
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  • Issue Number Issue 10
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Boasting content creepy – in the best possible sense of the word – enough to match the eyeless, button-mouthed citizens congregated across the cover, Skidrow Penthouse is a lovely, straightforward literary magazine of avant-garde grotesquery. Definitely not for the easily disturbed, this issue displays numerous splashy images of sexual amorphous nightmare creatures, visceral flash fiction, and poetry rife with primordial images of animals, colors, and traumatizing childhood experiences. Anorexia, the Holocaust, street life, abortion, insanity, and BDSM are all addressed, often in excruciatingly, darkly humorous ways.
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  • Issue Number Volume 2
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Specs presents itself as a journal of contemporary culture and arts. Each issue has a theme, and this one is “faux histories.” A brief introduction from the editor-in-chief explains the theme is inspired by the “Renaissance Wunderkammer or wonder cabinet,” and the hope is that this collection of pieces will “allow for an uneasy coexistence between the campy, the sentimental, the political, and the repulsive – a mobile archive of committed fakeries in print and digital form.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Issue 1
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The inaugural issue of this self-defined “independent poetry magazine” presents the work of three dozen poets with no fanfare, pronouncements of intentions or predilections, no submission policy statement, no announcement of prizes or awards, no editorial commentary, and no explanation of its name. In fact, the only information about the journal appears at the end of the its 74 (small format) glossy pages: one page listing the four staff members and editorial address in Salt Lake City, UT and a note that the journal is published biannually; the other a “thank you” to the journal’s sponsor (“Thank you to our sugar daddy”), Nations Title Agency, Inc. in Midvale, Utah.
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  • Issue Number Issue 12
  • Published Date Winter 2009-10
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
As an inveterate online surfer, I often find that online poetry magazines too often present work that is puerile and pretentious, without music and without depth. I was, therefore, overjoyed when I discovered this literary journal which has been around for the past three years. It is a very attractive production which is well organized and publishes some first rate poetry.
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  • Issue Number Volume 24 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Some lovely, carefully crafted and enticing work here, including poems by Joan I. Siegel, Lynnell Edwards, and Kate Gleason, as well marvelous hybrid work (verse, prose poem, prose) by Nancy Eimers, and Christina Mengert, who is interviewed by Amy Wright. Wright’s questions are provocative (“Do you have recurring dreams?”). Mengert’s responses to Wright’s questions are as captivating as the excerpts from her piece, “Anatomy of Ascent.” Of the reference to “true things” that appears in the work, Mengert says:
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