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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted August 30, 2011

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  • Issue Number Issue 12
  • Published Date Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Admittedly, I was smitten with the idea behind this summer’s issue of Alimentum long before I’d had the opportunity to read it. This biannual literary journal, which dedicates itself to the subject of food, has gathered together work for its twelfth issue with a focus on food memories. Whether they are good—that first icy Bombpop of summer—or perhaps, not so good—think glace fish mold—we all have them. The editors at Alimentum have chosen carefully its ensemble of voices for this issue. Collectively, they offer up a very soulful celebration of first foods.
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  • Issue Number Volume 40 Number 3
  • Published Date May/June 2011
  • Publication Cycle monthly
The American Poetry Review is an old school classic. Like the New York Review of Books, its large, newspaper sheets enchant readers who nostalgically yearn for the days of yore before Wasteland iPad apps and “liking” poems on Facebook (or the social media engine of your choice). This is not to say that APR is a musty old rag littered with obscure and dank Poundian cantos. Intriguing interviews and poetry grace its pages.
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  • Issue Number Volume 2 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
After twenty-four online issues, apt, in existence since 2005, has done something uncommon in today’s literary scene. At a time when many journals are abandoning print altogether to establish themselves exclusively as online venues, no doubt as a strategic move toward long-term viability, apt has decided the two mediums can and should exist alongside one another. For its 2011 inaugural print issue, apt has brought together the work of Curtis Tompkins, Janelle M. Segarra, Christina Kapp, and David Bartone among others.
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  • Issue Number Number 116
  • Published Date Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
MoMA advertises in Bomb. To be more specific, MoMA advertises on the entire back cover of Bomb. I noticed it immediately, and it wired my expectations for what I would find inside. MoMA doesn’t advertise in just any magazine.
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  • Issue Number Volume 3
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Come for the literary fiction and enjoy some fine photography while you're here. This issue is worth the cover price just for Adam Peterson's award winning story “It Goes Without Saying.” The story follows a travel writer as he navigates a personal crisis while attending a conference abroad where he is the guest of honor. Peterson incorporates apothegms of travel wisdom, without pretension, and avoids the pitfall of didactic lecturing while incorporating just the right amount of comic relief: “The world went on around him, he just wasn't home to watch it. This was another mistruth of travel writing. The distance one felt when getting away was an illusion. Everything, including the traveler, fell hopelessly forward.”
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  • Issue Number Number 24
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Re-reading through Columbia Poetry Review (read first for the pure pleasure of reading, and second for reviewing), I noticed that I had dog-eared a third of the pages of the journal. Why have I marked all of these poems? I wondered. Were they all really that good?
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  • Issue Number Volume 24 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
On its homepage, the editors of The Gettysburg Review proclaim an unwavering commitment to literary excellence and “emotionally stimulating” art. This issue of the quarterly journal certainly attests to that commitment, making it easy to see why the editors have earned many awards over the past several years. With so much that is good, choosing which pieces and which writers to highlight is a challenge.
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  • Issue Number Issue 22
  • Published Date July 2011
  • Publication Cycle Monthly
This is an attractive, well-organized journal that does something I really like: the stories are presented both in regular script or can be downloaded as a pdf. Their contemporaries often do one or the other, and it is nice to have a choice. The editors describe their interests the following way: “Our tastes tend more toward the offbeat and the absurd, the unclassifiable and the insane, stories most other publishers can’t be bothered with.” Well, they certainly have been successful in finding and publishing work to their taste. I had a great time reading their offbeat and usually humorous tales.
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  • Issue Number Volume 42 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle annual
Perhaps of all the poetic forms—sonnet, ghazal, villanelle, sestina— the haiku is the most elegant. A tiny, carefully constructed edifice, its 5-7-5 pattern must contain within some image or message. And of all the poetic forms, perhaps the haiku is the poetic form that is most contemporarily relevant. For those of us who are constantly texting or emailing, brevity is king. It’s not surprising that there is a form of Twitter haikus called Twaikus.
They say that good things come in small packages, and this gritty issue certainly backs up the claim. Neon is a perfect take-along for the train, bus or plane, tucked in a pocket or a bag, and will transport you to a world full of stark visuals, poetry and prose perfectly accompanied by sharp black and white photography.
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  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Imagine a roomy, comfortable venue somewhere in Knoxville, Tennessee. You’re there just in time for a marathon read-in: Fiction writers, memoirists, poets, almost 100 of them, coming up one after the other. There are widely published writers, college writing teachers, and students in MFA programs, and there are other folks who identify themselves as neurologists, gardeners, grandmothers, homebuilders. A couple of young people present their work for the very first time anywhere, and it’s good, and everyone applauds and encourages them: Keep writing, keep it up.
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  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The population of the Buckeye State is famously diverse, blending urban and rural, conservative and progressive. This diversity of perspectives is reflected in Issue 8 of the New Ohio Review. The editors eschew an opening comment, allowing the poetry, fiction and nonfiction to speak for itself.
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  • Issue Number Volume 4 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
I am of the firm belief that all writers should read a lot. The problem with this is, most of us still schlep to “real jobs” and grab our writing time when we can—that hour after the kids go to bed, or early Sunday mornings, in the basement, when everyone else is still asleep. How are we expected to have time to read, for pity’s sake?
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  • Issue Number Volume 32
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Parnassus is a brick. At 500+ pages, it holds forth as a mammoth among literary journals (Fulcrum and Vlak being two others having recently published issues that come immediately to mind). The other night at Glen Park Station after a poetry reading, a friend, who himself happens to edit a literary annual, remarked that he finds such a size far too unwieldy and awkward to get around in as a reader. Yet nonetheless, there’s a rather charming and fascinating draw towards large volumes. They possess a seductive quality that’s difficult to resist as they always bring on the feeling that the next round of reading is going to yield another surprise. In this regard, the new issue of Parnassus does not disappoint.
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  • Issue Number Volume 36 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle annual
The pleasure starts as soon as you pick up this magazine. Striking black-and-white linoleum block prints by Melissa West on front and back covers are worth lingering over before you even get inside. Their design and typography call so little attention to themselves that you may not even stop to think about how beautiful type can be when it’s handled well. Instead, you sit back and let yourself be drawn effortlessly into some wonderful writing.
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  • Issue Number Number 70
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of Poetry East is a compendium of 100 short poems evenly divided into four sections?Morning, Midday, Evening, Night. While readers will be treated to a few poems from household names, what is far more significant is the natural flow from one piece to the next regardless of who authored them. I have never heard literary magazines, or poetry collections for that matter, referred to as "page turners," but there is a kind of lightness in these poems that leads to precisely this end. Take for example Andrea Potos's poem "Abundance to Share with the Birds," which evokes the image of hair strands removed from a brush taken up by the wind to be collected by birds for a nest.
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  • Issue Number Volume 54
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Polaris has always been about undergraduate writing, specifically the undergraduate writing of students at Ohio Northern University. The issue I reviewed, however, offered a slight twist on the focus. Editors Brian Hohmeier and Andrew Merecicky explained that “for the first time in the over fifty years of our history as a magazine, the staff and editors were pleased and excited to open up submissions to the global undergraduate writing community.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 58
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of Whiskey Island is a good one. In fact, it inspired me to buy a subscription to the magazine. And I'm stingy, so that should tell you a lot.
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  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Thought has been publishing fiction, poetry, scholarly essays, and art from the perspective of pre-colonial peoples since the Spring of 2007. The cover art for the Spring 2011 edition provides a visual cohesiveness to the broad theme—the tradition of change in indigenous art and literature—addressed in its 256 pages. This issue contains works primarily from North American authors, with a smattering of writers representing indigenous peoples from other parts of the globe.
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  • Issue Number Volume 24 Number 5
  • Published Date May 2011
  • Publication Cycle Monthly
Claiming to be an "independent magazine of critical thinking on political, cultural, social and economic life in the U.S" and that "seeing racial, gender, class, and political dimensions of personal life as fundamental to understanding and improving contemporary circumstances,” Z Magazine “aims to assist activist efforts for a better future.” It is published by South End Press, and is committed to “the politics of radical social change.”
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