NewPages.com is news, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.

NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted September 15, 2010

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Number 13
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Absinthe 13, “Spotlight on Romania,” opens with an essay by Carmen Musat, editor-in-chief of the Romanian cultural weekly Observator Cultural, as translated by Jean Harris. Musat offers a brief overview of Romanian literature in recent decades, reminding us that until fairly recently Romanian writers had little freedom to write what they needed or wanted and expressing optimism about the future of Romanian literature.
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Number 21
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
“Not works that simply transport the reader/viewer to another place, but ones that become places in and of themselves – unknown regions of poetic exploration, visual mappings of the unconscious, uncharted terrains of language,” say the editors of this issue’s theme “terra incognita.” Unknown, however, is not the case for many of the issue’s contributors, who include Jim Daniels, Anna Rabinowitz, Tony Trigilio, and Dan Beachy-Quick. And unknown is not the case for the inspiration for Rikki Ducornet’s exquisite, intricate illustrations – the fiction of Jorge Luis Borges.
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Number 21
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
They won’t sell you this issue unless you promise to perform jumping jacks while you’re reading it! This issue’s theme is “Bodies in Motion. Dance, Sport Momentum.” And, wow, does it have momentum. From its tall skinny profile (maybe all that exercise helps the mag keep its shape), to the movement metaphor page numbering system (“ace,” “alley-oop,” “balance,” etc.), to the baseball diamond staff list, to the illustrated contributors’ notes for the issue’s “schematics” (a rollerblader, a juggler, etc.), this is one issue on the go.
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Number 1
  • Published Date 2010
My thinking wasn’t foggy – it was just wrong! At first glance, I didn’t expect to like Fogged Clarity, the first print publication from online journal producer Benjamin Evans (despite my pleasure at seeing a publication expand to print from electronic production, instead of the other way around). I didn’t care for the title or the burnt orange cover and its image of a cosmonaut. Even the name of one of my favorite writers, Terese Svoboda, on the cover couldn’t sway me. But, did I have water on the brain? I loved the magazine, beginning with Howie Good’s poem, “Gifts for the End of the Decade.” An excerpt:
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Number 111
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue of Granta, subtitled “Going Back,” is a delightful combination of the old and the new, such as a beginning with a stand-out story by Leila Aboulela and ending with the essay, “The Farm,” by literary legend Mark Twain.
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 32 Number 1
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The quality, skill, and star power you expect from Indiana Review – it’s all here. The range of voices and approaches (Denise Duhamel, Fady Joudah, Joy Katz) – that, too. And Bob Hicok, who is these days (or was it always?), it seems, everywhere. The issue’s special feature is “Blue,” which opens with wonderful paintings by Armando Meriño, one blue in obvious ways, the other less so, which is true as well of the literary works included in the feature.
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 27 Number 1
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Louisiana Literature’s latest publication features two short stories and poems by two dozen poets who all, in one way or another, want to be clearly, directly, and immediately understood. Here, for example, are excerpts from Marguerite Bouvard’s “Human Landscape,” translating a tender painting of a moment:
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Number 5
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Three beautiful postcard inserts on quality uncoated cardstock of artworks by Rachel Burgess, William Gilespie, and Sasha Chavehavadze that appear in the issue extend Marginalia’s theme – ekphrasis – and impact. Ekphrasis is, essentially any work of art based on another. The most cited example, though by no means the earliest, is Auden’s poem on Bruegel’s painting “Musée des Beaux Arts.”
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Number 19
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
North Carolina Literary Review is a joint production of East Carolina University and the North Carolina Literary & Historical Society and is quite an elaborate creation. The journal has yearly themes and this year’s theme concerns the Appalachian region of the state. There are numerous book reviews, along with poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, interviews, literary criticism, plus many illustrating photographs and paintings – 240 pages altogether.
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date December 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Kerplooey! Brand spanking new, Organs of Vision and Speech’s first issue bangs its way into the literary magazine world with an impressive array of poets and artists. Launched by Stephen and Ivy Page in December 2009 and based out of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, OVS publishes new and established poets. Their only criteria? Great writing. This issue begins with an interview with and re-printed poem by the acclaimed poet Maxine Kumin. Um, fireworks anyone? You can’t help but be impressed with a new lit mag whose very first issue boasts the work of such an important contemporary poet. But there’s more. Known and unknown poets alike, the pages of OVS will blind you with fresh new work.
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 4
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
One of the first pieces in this issue of roger is a lovely poem by Shuntaro Tanikawa, translated by Diane Furtney and Asuka Itaya, entitled “One of the Haniwa.” Haniwas are the clay figurines and statues, mostly used for funerary purposes, of the 3rd to the 6th Century, that show the history of Japan. Writes the poet, translated,
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This thin, yet surprisingly full journal is a collection of poems far more diverse than their numbers might suggest. It was a wonder reading all these lovely pieces, and I’m hoping that there are many more issues of Supermachine to follow.
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 7 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Though death – “the leavings of stories,” say the editors – is the theme of this issue of The Los Angeles Review, the work is quite lively, nevertheless. The relationship to the general theme is expansively considered, beginning with the reprinting of a poem by Judy Grahn (also the subject of a special feature essay) on the infamously dead Marilyn Monroe.
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 3 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Think. Think. Think. A bold title, Think Journal’s very name is a promise to its readers. As Editor Christine Yurick says, “I am drawn to work where something happens, something more than a fleeting moment of insignificance, something with depth and importance.” Something that makes you think. It’s a promise that is fulfilled. There’s no lack of action or rumination in this journal, which is certainly something worth applauding. Think Journal publishes pretty much any genre by emerging and established writers. Its writers ask you to think about issues that are both personal and universal – love, desire, grief, etc.
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Number 8
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Produced in Amsterdam, universal in terms of themes, distinctly European in terms of innovation and overall quality, borderless in its aspirations, and utterly accessible to US readers, thanks to its publication in English, this issue of Versal is provocative, inventive, perplexing, and stimulating. Standout contributions include Paul Lisson’s short story “In Progress,” Norman Lock’s prose poem “Alphabet of the Birds,” Stacy Elaine Dacheux’s stroy “The Sociology of Containers,” and sudden fiction by June Melby, “In Soup”:
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Issue 66
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Willow Spring’s Fall issue’s centerpiece is the Fiction Prize winner “Color by Numbers” by Stacia Saint Owens, the tale of parallel lives with divergent destinies, recounted in parallel columns that merge and then separate again. It’s an effective and appropriate form and an emotionally challenging piece. A long interview “conversation” (multiple questioners) with fiction writer and journalist Jess Walter takes up much of the rest of the issue. Walter is adamant that reports of narrative’s demise are dead wrong, everyone yearns for story, and he’s thoughtful and articulate about his own plots, devices, and creative tendencies.
newpages-footer-logo

We welcome any/all Feedback.