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NewPages Literary Magazine Reviews

Posted June 15, 2011

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  • Issue Number Number 10
  • Published Date Winter 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In the inaugural print edition of Able Muse, Marilyn N. Taylor's essay on the recent rise of semi-formal poetry, mentions “the poetry wars” between “the shaggy free-verse stalwarts vs. the tweedy New Formalists.” It’s nice to see that the new New Formalist critics published in Able Muse definitely do not write in a tweedy style, as evidenced by Taylor’s piece and Julie Stoner’s review of new books by Maxime Kumin and Carrie Jewell, which begins “After the Revival…reminds me of an after-school snack. I enjoyed the combination of salt and crunch and grease and hellfire and cheese, even if I had to overcome the occasional wave of nausea. (I’m still referring to the book.)”
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  • Issue Number Number 95
  • Published Date May/June 2011
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly
This issue of Adbusters, subtitled POST—with an Arabic word insertion—WEST, is at first glance an irreverent avant-garde (the publishers probably think using avant-garde is passé) mish-mash of advertisements, graphics, photographs, art, essays, book excerpts, observations, and poetry about economics, capitalism, politics, jihad, revolution, militarism, overpopulation, aquaculture, genetic modification, anarchy, and you name it.
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  • Issue Number Issue 70/71
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Published by C.A.L. Press, Berkeley, CA, Anarchy purports to "Disarm authority! Arm your Desires! with provocative, creative, and critical anti-authoritarian discourse and art."
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  • Issue Number Volume 37 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Spring/Summer Issue of Black Warrior Review, featuring Graham Foust, Aaron Kunin, Bhanu Kapil, Sarah Gridley, Joshua Cohen, Megan Volpert, and many other fine writers, is difficult not to pick up and thumb through. The ritualistic cover art gets the issue going: two guys, two girls, all with skeleton heads, watching a horse as it is either pulled into the sky or brought down from it. More in this series by Joseph McVetty can be found later in the issue, in the Nudity Feature.
  • Subtitle The Whiskey Edition
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  • Issue Number Volume 7 Number 1
  • Published Date 2011
Burnside Review is a diminutive delight. Readers at the outset learn, from editor and founder Sid Miller, that whiskey is an "instigator.” Also both a "prelude" and an "epilogue."
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  • Issue Number Number 9
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In his Editor’s Note, Rhett Trull explains that, while she has “learned the patience, struggle and mercy of a body as it heals,” she recognizes—in the dying of Pita, her 20-year-old cat—that “one day” we will “reach a point past healing.” As a result, “My appreciation for each moment,” she says, has been “reinforced” by the poems she helped select for this issue. The poems, lyric and narrative, feature speakers whose distance from the poets seems slight.
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  • Issue Number Volume 65 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Wow, this issue of Georgia Review is a true literary bonanza! Subtitled “A Home in Other People,” the issue offers a broad retrospective of selected stories and art from 1984 to 2007. This is the second retrospective that the Review has done; the first one came out in 1986, and now the staff is both celebrating the 25th anniversary of that first retrospective, in addition to marking the start of the Review’s 65th year.
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  • Issue Number Number 89
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Fiction rules in this issue of the Greensboro Review. Not to say that the poetry failed to capture my attention, but the stellar stories strung together here hooked me from the first, “The Drift Line” by Charlotte O'Donnell. It's a tale of preteen female friendship, with the complexities of that friendship's dynamics laid bare on a rocky shoreline:
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  • Issue Number Volume 23 Issue 2
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This gorgeous twenty-fifth anniversary issue of Gulf Coast—a celebration in poetry, prose and art—while anchored in the present, salutes contributors of past years with luminous grace.
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  • Issue Number Issue 18
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Most of the poetry in this issue is exemplified by Nico Alvarado’s “I Dream I Dreamt a Form”:
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  • Issue Number Number 5
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
If the unsettling cover art is meant to hint at the contents of this thick annual print issue of PANK, I'm at a loss as to the meaning of the hint, even after reading through to the very end. I'm not sure if that says more about the nature of the artwork, or the disparity of the work within. The pages hold prose poetry, visual poetry, and flash fiction, as well as more traditional poetry forms and longer short stories, and virtually everything in between. In the truly liberating fashion of contemporary experimental literature, PANK does not require its writers to classify their work, or if it does, it chooses not to disclose those labels within its table of contents. This can be refreshing, or occasionally annoying.
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  • Issue Number Issue 49
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This journal is a joy, and my only critique is that it’s not pages and pages longer! I found Ted Kooser's "A Farmhouse in Winter" instantly. This edition opened to this poem, as though I were assigned to encounter a chilly personality, first. As one who worships summer heat, I forgot that when I read, “It's taken weeks but at last the cold / that poured down out of Alberta / has found its way into the old rock cellar / and up the steps to the kitchen door.” This spirit drifts into homely, hidden spaces, and somehow is expected. All is well. Are those "shelves of canned tomatoes" and "dusty rags of cobweb" prepared to move aside for this icy, temporary guest Kooser's touch is simple, not simplistic. How I cherish the sweet power of image at the end!
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  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Slice highlights lies and make-believe in its newest issue and overflows with engaging poetry, spectacular fiction, smart nonfiction, and insightful interviews with Ray Bradbury and Isabel Allende among others. Where to begin? What to highlight?
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  • Issue Number Volume 41 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Unless one is a regular reader of Social Policy magazine, there may be some confusion, despite Wade Rathke's "Publisher’s note." He says the Spring 2011 issue is “in perfect harmony with the heart and spirit needed in these times, despite the challenges of adversity…and challenges of our…heroic strengths and weaknesses.” If Social Policy is “[the] key site for intellectual exchange among progressive academics and activists from across the United States and beyond,” it would be instructive and helpful to say so in the boilerplate masthead or logo. Their website says, “Social Policy seeks to inform and report on the work of labor and community organizers who build union and constituency-based groups, run campaigns, and build movements for social justice, economic equality, and democratic participation in the U.S. and around the world.” Again, why not say so in the magazine? Its cover does include "Organizing for Social and Economic Justice."
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  • Issue Number Volume 47 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Admittedly, I was a bit tentative when I began reading the latest issue of The Southern Review. When I hear the word “Americana,” its self-proclaimed theme, certain images are conjured—flat beers, hunters waiting in the pre-dawn darkness, the barefoot and pregnant teenage fatherless-yet-sweethearted girl working in a diner on the side of a barren highway—of which I have become a bit tired. Let us call those images shortcomings of my imagination; I had no idea of the depth and variance to the works waiting inside this publication’s pages. Produced by Louisiana State University, it is an engrossing and well-balanced mix of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and photography.
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