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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted April 15, 2011

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  • Issue Number Volume 22 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Jude Nutter’s starkly eloquent “16 October, 2009, 17.55 PM: Little Elegy” is illustrative of the issue’s approach and strengths, with its description of life with horses, somehow both intimate and personal, yet distant, a portrait of another life:
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  • Issue Number Number 50
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This is the journal’s 50th issue includes the work of 14 poets, the most recognizable or established among them being David Trinidad; 10 fiction writers, the most recognizable or lauded among them being Achy Obejas and Bayo Ojikutu; two nonfiction writers; a number of reviews; and “Et Al.” hybrid and uncategorized work by Joseph Gallimore and Jill Summers.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date January 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Editor Bryan Borland introduces readers to this new journal by announcing that Assaracus has “no formula” other than that all poems are authored by gay men, a “place for our poetry to dance with its own kind.” Poems are preceded by bios documenting writer’s credentials (poets who are both quite experienced and first-time in print are included in this premier issue), and the poems reflect much diversity in style, tone, and approach. Shane Allison contributes a spare “Dream” of bare single lines, “Used to / wonder / late at night // Boxers / or / Briefs”). Jay Burodny contributes a sense poem all in italics, “A Needy God.” Raymond Luczak contributes a prose poem, “Six Gallery, San Francisco: October 7, 1955.” Matthew Hittinger contributes a long poem of couplets, “A Bus Journeys West”:
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  • Issue Number Number 38
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The work in this issue of the Birmingham Poetry Review is terribly moving, highly accomplished, and unexpectedly inspiring. How not to be simply undone by Deborah Ager’s “A Poem in Which My Father is Not the Villain,” which opens the issue? “I believe we commit errors we want no one to know about, / that we wish we could bathe and be healed and sip whisky and be clean.”
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  • Issue Number Number 40
  • Published Date Winter 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Issue 40 is a special theme issue on animals, the centerpiece of which are an excerpted essay and an interview with the talented, perplexing, and always-provocative Lauren Slater, who has a book forthcoming on animals, and who was first published many years ago by this journal. Essayist par excellence Phillip Lopate contributes “Show and Tell” about the human animal, “the ethics of writing about other people.” Well-known writer Susan Cheever describes her encounters with much maligned house mice in “Of Mice and Women,” and Jennifer Lunden, Kateri Kosek, Randy Fertel, Jeff Oaks, and Chester F. Phillips contribute strong essays on butterflies, starlings, grunions, zoos, dogs, and lions.
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  • Issue Number Number 246
  • Published Date Winter 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Fiddlehead has been a Canadian literary delight since 1945, when it began as the mimeographed paper-child of The Bliss Carman Poetry Society. Published quarterly by the University of New Brunswick, this treasure is an eclectic journal. I relished five stories and was enthralled with deliciously crafted writing from fifteen poets.
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  • Issue Number Volume 5 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
I know that I’m not the ideal reader for journals that feature art. I usually don’t pay attention as I should, and consider the pieces selected as speed bumps. In this aspect, the art in Front Range isn’t exceptional, but it has been selected with an informed eye to complement the text. The journal’s words, however, are satisfying and, dare I say, practical.
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  • Issue Number Issue 39
  • Published Date Summer-Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Fugue is one of my favorite journals. There is always something exciting, inventive, original, and unexpected; something that reinforces my confidence in the state of American literature; something I am grateful to have encountered; something special in the best and truest sense of the word. In this issue, this includes prize-winning fiction from Colette Sartor and Paul Vidich; poetry from Margarita Delcheva, Bryan Narendorf, and Patty Crane, among others; fiction from Luther Magnussen and Heather Jacobs, among others; nonfiction from Sarah Fawn Montgomery, David Shields, and David McGlynn; and interview by Steve Heim with George Saunders; and an “Experiment” by Kevin Sampsell, “This is Between Us.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
There is a point in the conversation between poets Adam Clay and Timothy Donnelly in this issue of Grist where they are discussing truthfulness in poetry. Both poets agree that when reading a poem it doesn't really matter to them whether what's happening in the poem comes directly from the poet's life or not, whether it is “true” to life outside the poem. But then Donnelly brings up the issue of what to do when you, as a poet, do want to “engage with realities outside the poem in a sincere way.” How do you communicate this to a reader? As Donnelly so pithily remarks, “it’s not like you can use a special font for sincerity.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 34 Number 2
  • Published Date Autumn/Winter 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of The Journal flexes its tensile strength in both poetry and fiction. The first poem to shake me was Frannie Lindsay's “To the Petermann Glacier,” which seems to portend an environmental holocaust (the glacier moving “down each torn strand of latitude”) while hinting at the post-disaster world to come, one where we find “the newly erected Cathedral of Zero / with its pulpit tangled in sumac.” Meanwhile, “the lost gulls float inland scavenging sticks // as you lay down the calm heat of listening before / the great barrier requiem.”
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  • Issue Number Number 8
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The annual Juked print issue opens with a tight piece of historical fiction by James Scott titled “Watertown,” in which two of Babe Ruth's questionably well-meaning associates decide to do something about Babe's addict wife:
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  • Issue Number Issue 9
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
“Symposium: Poems Disliked, Poems Loved” is advertised on the cover, so it’s hard to pay attention to much else before turning immediately to the back of the magazine, where the special feature is located, to find out who is willing declare their dislike of certain poems or types of poetry in a public forum. The journal asked poets Wayne Miller, Helen Nelson, and David Rivard to present for discussion a “bad poem” (“weak or shallow or disappointing”) and a “good poem” (not defined!). The poets then “conversed” about these six poems via e-mail.
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  • Issue Number Volume 32 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The magazine’s 2010 fiction contest winners open the issue and they are, indeed, award-worthy. Tori Malcangio’s “A History of Heartbeats” is a smartly structured story that plays out the metaphors of heart rate, flight, and the body’s flight from its own heart (anorexia) in a heartbreaking story of substance (body) and soul (flight). Short-short fiction winner Darren Morris follows—in a stroke of editorial genius—with “The Weight of the World,” with its appealing and insightful narrator (“When you’re a kid the summer lasts forever, and that summer lasted two lifetimes.”). Short-shorts by honorable mention recipients Edith Pearlman, Jendi Reiter, and Thomas Yori are also terrific examples of the short-short genre. Their work is well matched by fiction from another 14 writers; nonfiction from 6 contributors; and 50 pages of poetry, including poems by the ubiquitous Bob Hicok, and 6 marvelous poems by Traci Brimhall.
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  • Issue Number Number 10
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
PMS poemmemoirstory is so good that the journal’s already-annoying title becomes extra irksome.
  • Issue Number Issue 12
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
A Public Space publishes lots of up and coming literary stars and this issue seems particularly packed. A swift survey of the bios gleans that only one of the contributing writers in this issue is sans book, while the others have a title or two in print or one forthcoming from a major house or a well-respected small press. With regards to A Public Space, amateurs need not apply.
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  • Published Date March/April 2011
  • Publication Cycle Fortnightly online
This entertaining lit mag changes its homepage fortnightly, updates its archives monthly, and issues a print edition yearly. They offer poetry and flash fiction and they read year-round. They also have audio poems presented online for those who like to hear poetry read aloud.
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  • Issue Number Volume 33
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
California State University’s student-edited journal Watershed is cohesive in its content and approachable in its length. This collection of poetry, prose and photography centers itself around recollections of childhood and of family, bringing the past and present together—illustrating through apt detail the way people live, work and connect with one another. While slim, only 66 pages, it shouldn’t be rushed.
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Issue 1
  • Published Date Winter 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Women Arts Quarterly launches its slender first issue with poetry by Julia Gordon-Bramer and Kelli Allen, a novel excerpt by Jacinda Townsend, nonfiction by Beth McConaghy, an interview with violist Kim Kashkashian, artwork by Ellen Baird and Vanessa Woods, and a music review. The journal “aspires to nurture, provide support, and challenge women of all cultures, ethnicities, backgrounds, and abilities in their role in the arts and seeks to heighten awareness and understanding of the achievements of women creators, providing audiences with historical and contemporary examples of the work of women writers, composers, and artists.” The inclusion of work about and by composers is unusual and does distinguish WAQ from other publications.
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