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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted January 15, 2011

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  • Issue Number Volume 47
  • Published Date 2010
ABRAXAS describes itself as an “irregular, independent poetry magazine” from Wisconsin and introduces readers to contemporary writers of lyrical poetry.
As child I remember singing, “This land is your land, this land is my land. From California to the New York Island [...] This land was made for you and me.” Like Woody Guthrie’s famous song, the Amerarcana brilliantly encompasses a broad spectrum of voices that represents the collective identity of American poets from coast to coast. The Amerarcana is a rich steaming stew of folklore, language, and cultural identity. Piping hot and savory too! Each poem is a tantalizing slice of western spirit.
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  • Issue Number Volume 27 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
From the unknown writer expecting a rejection letter, rather than a publication, to authors well-known to the New York Times—all meet together in Amoskeag. This collection of voices focuses on what Editor Michael J. Brien expresses as, “recollections and reconstructions of hazy, distant memories, and memories so fresh they scream to be captured before they begin to […] lose breath.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 23 Number 2
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
After winning a year’s subscription during last year’s National Poetry Day, I discovered the joy of the Crab Creek Review. What had drawn me into past issues was the range of voices, both from experienced writers and fresh, emerging writers. There has always been a certain charm to the pieces selected, whether their tone leans towards the more serious or whimsical, and this issue is no exception.
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  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Feile and festa mean “festival” in Irish and Italian, and indeed there are many pieces in this journal from the Mediterranean Celtic Cultural Association worth celebrating. Much of the work explores the effects of Irish and Italian diaspora in the United States, particularly New York City.
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  • Issue Number Number 83
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Bruce Weigl, Annie Finch, Steve and Stuart Friebert, David Young, Beckian Fritz Goldberg, Carole Simmons Oles, and Stephen Tapscott contribute to “A Symposium” on poet Richard Wilbur, in anticipation of his 90th birthday, with essays responding to particular Wilbur poems, reprinted here. These thoughtful essays of close reading, and Wilbur’s “consistently brilliant” poetry (as aptly categorized in the editors’ introduction), are well accompanied by new work from David Dodd Lee, David Wagoner, Elton Glaser, Jon Loomis, Kimiko Hahn, and Sandra McPherson, among others.
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  • Issue Number Number 18
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Uljana Wolf’s work, translated by Susan Bernofsky, excerpts from DICTHionary. A German-English Dictionary of False Friends, True Cognates, and Other Cousins, is like the best of the work jubilat always gives us, inventive, unusual, confusing, smart, and full of itself—always in the best sense. Here, dictionary letters and their representative words are followed by prose poems that play out the letters in clever streams of connected and disconnected images and opinions.
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  • Issue Number Volume 3 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Simply put, the collection of poems in Knockout Literary Magazine is breathtaking. This edition includes a wide variety of topics such as suicide, oppression against homosexuality, and love (straight and queer). In its third volume, the heavy-hitting journal presents forty astounding poets, who make their way to the page bringing dark imagery, fearless honesty, and fresh voices, including Jeff Mann, Robert Walker, Joseph Massey, Jim Tolan and Ronald H. Bayes. Knockout also features translations from Dag T. Straumsvag, Yannis Ritsos, Harry Martinson, Jesus Encinar, and Olav H. Hauge.
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  • Issue Number Volume 105 Numbers 3/4
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The cover of Poet Lore is wondrous, a photograph of ice skaters posing for the camera on Mirror Lake in Yosemite in 1911. The Editor’s Page describes the photo as an appropriate introduction to the issue’s work with its—unanticipated—focus on winter as metaphor. The photo’s technical and artistic qualities are, to my mind, the finest metaphor for poetry, or, perhaps, an apt metaphor for fine poetry—making the real seem both more and less real than seemed possible, drawing what is far-off into close view and moving what is right in front of us into the background. The photo is clear in its misty-ness and misty in its clarity, like much of the poetry in this issue.
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  • Issue Number Number 30
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This issue is a beautifully composed collection of poetry and black-and-white photography commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of Slipstream Magazine. Elegant, hauntingly surreal images by David Thompson and Lauren Simonutti, interspersed among the poetry, compliment perfectly the magazine’s tone. Poems contributed by authors from walks of life ranging from the academic to the janitorial present a similarly diverse range of perspectives, yet the poems feel like they were meant to be published together. The collection flows seamlessly from beginning to end in a way that makes reading it in its entirety not only easy to do, but extraordinarily rewarding as well.
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  • Issue Number Volume 6
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The Tusculum Review plunges into an odyssey of self-reflection, confession, and recollection. The review calls itself, "an annual venue for new voices," and each voice within its pages is entirely unique from its counterparts. The sampling highlights a fusion of character voices within the short stories, drama, poetry, and illustrations; each piece retains a beautifully rendered resonance to its own statement.
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  • Issue Number Volume 84 Number 6
  • Published Date November-December 2010
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly
Every glorious issue of World Literature Today is an argument for print! There is simply no way to duplicate the experience as cyber reading. This is not to say that you might not want to try “Zinio,” the virtual magazine-reading option for WLT. But, for my money (and it’s only $4.95 on the newsstand!) there is no way it could duplicate the feel of the glossy paper, the vibrancy of the large and small format color and black and white photos, the clarity of the illustrations (maps), or the smartly designed pages. This issue’s special section is on India, and the gorgeous, beautifully reproduced full-color, full-bleed photograph that opens the section, “Girl in Red Slippers by the Blue Door,” the work of guest editor and poet Sudeep Sen of New Dehli, is hard to picture on a small screen.
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