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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted December 15, 2010

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  • Issue Number Number 21
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
How is it that there have been 20 issues before the one I’m holding—die cut corner, rubber band binding, and all—in amazement of this charming and worthwhile little journal and I had not heard of it or seen it anywhere? Published by Ugly Duckling Presse, 6x6 features the work of just 6 (of course!) writers (in this issue: Julie Carr, Marosa di Giorgio, Farid Matuk, Amanda Nadelberg, Sara Wintz, and Michael Barron) in an innovative, but low-key design that is original, clever, but unassuming. The poetry is paramount. And it deserves the attention the design enables.
  • Subtitle Endurance
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  • Issue Number Issue 7
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The “Endurance” issue of Annalemma should be abysmally depressing, as all of the stories and essays in it are sad. The great care put into its design, however, gives one answer to the editor’s question of “what gives a person forward momentum when every sign around them says give up.” Editor/publisher Chris Heavener says that “to endure means having a purpose.” His publication shows that one can find purpose though literature and art.
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Arcadia is an annual produced by students at the University of Central Oklahoma. The inaugural issue features fiction, poetry, drama, an essay, and several black and white photographs. A brief bio page precedes each writer’s piece. This issue includes work by writers from around the country widely published, for the most part, in a variety of literary journals and by a number of independent presses.
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  • Issue Number Volume 16 Number 2
  • Published Date Autumn 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue features a marvelous interview with and series of poems by Ana Minga, a young journalist and poet from Ecuador, whose work is translated here by Alexis Levitin. Having grown up in a religious community where her father worked, Minga says her childhood ended at age six; she suffered dreadful insomnia by age 11; and by her teens she was writing and publishing award-winning poetry. Her best friends, she claims, are her dogs; investigative journalism provides the adrenalin “rush” she needs to thrive. Her work reflects these realities:
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  • Issue Number Volume 3 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
“A themed journal of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography and miscellany,” this issue is a “Chekhov Bilingual” comprised of an introductory essay by editor Tamara Eidelman; excerpts from “Notebooks” by Ivan Bunin (1870-1953), one of Chekhov’s contemporaries; a poem by Sasha Chyorny (1880-1932) “Why Did Chekhov Quit this Earth So Soon?”; and 8 stories and play excerpts by the great master, some newly translated. It is fantastic, even for those of us who do not read Russian, to have the originals and the translations side by side, and I wish more journals would follow suit and publish the originals as an integral component of presenting non-English work. I was delighted, too, to learn in the publisher’s note, that 1,000 copies of the journal were given to Russian language students at several hundred high schools and universities around the US, thanks to a grant to the magazine from The Ruskkiy Mir Foundation.
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  • Issue Number Volume 15 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Known for its colloquial writing, The Main Street Rag, in its latest issue, features an interview with Steve Roberts, author of the Main Street Rag poetry book Another Word for Home; six fiction entries (though one is also, perplexingly, labeled as “Commentary”); over 100 pages devoted to poetry, including writers such as Lyn Lyfshin; five book reviews, and a page of feedback from readers.
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  • Issue Number Volume 38 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of the Mississippi Review somehow evokes a European tone, though the journal is firmly rooted in the Deep South. Editor Frederick Barthelme’s selections for the Review’s fiction and poetry prizes are united by the narrative risks taken by the authors. These gambles pay off for the most part, resulting in work that grabs more attention than conventional work while still fulfilling the reader’s craving for the standard story elements, including plot, character and setting.
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  • Issue Number Number 66
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
In the latest issue of the New York Quarterly, we are reminded why it has survived for over 40 years while so many other literary journals of import both large and small are now defunct. The diversity of poetry in this journal makes it extremely inviting as if many disparate voices are having an energetic conversation so stimulating there is no need of a proper segue.
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  • Issue Number Number 194
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Those who wish to participate in the latest literary world gossip should read The Paris Review. Articles have been written about its new editor, Lorin Stein, for months. Moreintelligentlife.com reports that the 37 year old former Farrar, Straus and Giroux editor is looking for “the best of the best, period—except I don’t really believe in The Best.” According to New York Magazine, Stein’s publishers told him they were looking for “boldness.” The Financial Times reports that “the magazine’s relationship with reportage has ended.” Poets are lamenting the choice of Stein and new poetry editor Robyn Creswell to reject all of the poems previously accepted and slated for future publication. (Many of the rejected poems can be found at The Equalizer.)
  • Subtitle Empathy
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  • Issue Number Number 1
  • Published Date August 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Pedestrian is curious. In the best sense. A compilation of essays written by long-dead writers and today’s up-and-comers, The Pedestrian is dedicated to immortalizing what some may view as a dying art, the essay. With the rise of creative nonfiction, the essay has been sorely missing from many modern journals. The existence of this magazine is promising, and, like any good essay, ripe with curiosity, wonder, and philosophy.
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  • Issue Number Volume 35
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This volume of the Roanoke Review features the work of 8 fiction writers, including the journal’s three fiction prize-winners, 24 poets, and an interview with poet and novelist Lee Upton. Contributors’ notes include the writers’ statements about the genesis of their pieces and/or their writing process. Poetry and fiction are characterized by affable, accessible voices, and moving stories.
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  • Issue Number Volume 5 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Published by Pacific University in Oregon, Silk Road includes fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. As diverse as these three genres are, so is the work presented within each.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date Fall 2010
This is a tiny little journal, literally, despite its large ambitions—“this journal is designed as an opportunity to bask in the general shiftiness of translation…serves as a home to foreign poetry, as a tool for developing new work, and as an experiment in translation,” the editors tell us—Telephone fits snugly in one palm. This inaugural issue features the work of Berlin poet Uljana Wolf whose original five poems serve as a “jumping-off point” for more than a dozen poets writing in English, including Mary Jo Bang, Matthea Harvey, Robert Fitterman, Erin Moure, and Craig Santos Perez, among others.
The editor of the first issue of Trachodon, named after a dinosaur that never existed, writes in his editor’s note, “I want TRACHODON the magazine…to be this weird, sort of impossible thing. Something that’s up for debate because it’s always leaning a little toward the unreasonable. And, maybe, to be something that’s never quite finished.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 7 Number 2
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue’s theme is “renegades,” perfectly apt for the journal as a publication of “new international poetics.” New poems from the prolific and ever-renegade-ish Tomaz Salumun, translated from the Slovenian by Michael Thomas Taren and the author, serve as a fitting start: “The relation between you can and you cannot / is art, / therefore the line is art.” The “you can” is poetry from two and a half dozen poets, reviews, and provocative visual art from Tanya Cooper and the journal’s marvelous—appropriately curious and disturbing—cover by Mathieu Bories. The “you cannot” is ignore Vallum as a poetic force to be reckoned with.
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