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NewPages Literary Magazine Reviews

Posted May 15, 2012

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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Published by the New York City College of Technology, 2 Bridges Review is a new magazine that seeks to publish both unknown and established writers and artists. The magazine is named after the East River Bridges that connect downtown Brooklyn with downtown Manhattan. Editors Kate Falvey, George Guida, and Yaniv Soha say that “between these bridges a community of writers and artists has found a home in the former warehouses and factories of New York’s most literary outer borough.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The stories in Adanna are not only for women and about women, but they are also all written by women, each illustrating in some way, either directly or indirectly, what it means to be female.
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  • Issue Number Volume 4
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Arroyo Literary Review, published by the Department of English at Cal State East Bay, takes advantage of its geography and the demographics of the San Francisco area to establish its identity as a multicultural literary feast. This issue features several international contributors, including writers associated with Peru, Japan, India, and China. Sixteen poets are represented—only three with a single poem—poetry translations from the Chinese and the German appear, and award-winning translator John Felstiner is interviewed. Four short stories ring changes on themes of love, creativity, and the absurd. The compact size and the feel of the cover communicate accessibility and quality. There is really nothing about this magazine not to like.
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Bad Version is a new literary magazine, and this is only its second issue. While showing many signs of promise, the magazine is clearly still suffering some growing pains. The mission statement on their website says that the name of the journal “comes from the collaborative art of screenwriting, where the first attempt at a scene, that wild idea that gets the process going, is called a ‘bad version.’ Likewise, this magazine is dedicated to beginnings: to pieces that are taking risks, trying to broach new ideas, experimenting with new forms, starting new conversations.”
  • Subtitle {Men's Fiction}
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  • Issue Number Number 1
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
BULL {Men’s Fiction} is best described as “handsome,” both for its subject matter and its appearance. The journal boasts a clean, striking design and attractive line illustrations by James-Alexander Mathers and Patrick Haley. I expected BULL editor Jarrett Haley to explain his journal’s subtitle in its debut print issue. Perhaps Haley’s silence is an indication that he wishes the reader to forge his or her own concept of what “men’s fiction” means.
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  • Issue Number Volume 8 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle 9-month
Burnside Review is a beautiful and compact little book. Subdued and nostalgic tones greet the reader via full-sized photographs on both covers that complement each other and set the feel for the contents: introspective and aesthetically conscious poetry that begs the active attention of the reader. Burnside begins sans editor’s note or introduction, opting instead (and starting with the cover) to let the selections speak for themselves. As each page is turned, the magazine reveals a strengthening theme of contemplation of the human condition, with a sprinkle of Americana and a return to the nostalgia of the cover.
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Issue 1
  • Published Date Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Sometimes, very good things can happen on a shoestring when capable people decide to jump in and fill a niche. That seems to be the case with burntdistrict, a new poetry journal from Omaha, Nebraska.
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  • Issue Number Issue 178
  • Published Date Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Cimarron Review, with its clean, slim design, wants to be read. The cover art speaks of rural America, and the pages blister with the richest poetry. The fiction and nonfiction, while skillful, act like a gap-stuffer, filling out the space between poems.
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  • Issue Number Volume 9
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
I earmarked dozens of pages while reading through the magazine as it is absolutely brimming with bright pieces that speak for themselves. Many poems are just a few lines but force the reader to stop and ponder the full impact and resonating meaning. After I read Charles Jensen’s one sentence poem, I got up and started telling everyone in my house about the amazing poem I just read: “Planned Community.” I mean, wow! There is setting, characters, description, action, movement, sound, and the list goes on. So much is accomplished in just a short sentence. Court Green putting out a dossier for short poetry was not a tall order; there are many more fantastic poems just like it.
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  • Issue Number Number 80
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Crazyhorse, its pages wide, heavy, and flexible, curls over the hand. The paired-down design seems to say, “let the work speak for itself.” And the work does just that. A well-handled mix of genres, styles, and subjects makes this issue of Crazyhorse exciting to read and disappointing to finish.
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  • Issue Number Issue 76
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Published by the University of Montana, CutBank turns a neat trick: the journal reads like a great radio station sounds. Each short story, poem and piece of nonfiction flows into the next in an interesting, thematic way. A short story about a man who tickets rainwater collectors precedes a pair of poems about the calmer ways in which rain complements our lives. A short story featuring an uncle who stands in, slightly, for the boy’s father is followed by a nonfiction piece in which the author seeks to understand his uncle’s suicide. In this way, Editor-in-Chief Josh Fomon has created a sense of momentum, propelling the reader through the slim volume.
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  • Issue Number Volume 3
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
I opened the third volume of Elder Mountain: A Journal of Ozarks Studies with some trepidation. I have limited knowledge of the Ozarks and literally no exposure to Missouri’s highlands, so I worried about reading and reviewing a journal dedicated to publishing poetry, fiction, and nonfiction about an area which was completely foreign to me. But, I need not have worried so: this volume is rich with details that help reconstruct the Ozarks in terms of place, people, and culture.
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  • Issue Number Inaugural Issue
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Exit 7 is as beautiful, bizarre, and bewitching as its cover suggests—a man standing amongst seaweed near the shoreline, with flippers for feet and a fish’s head who appears to have emerged from the sea, a whole new creature. Exit 7 is a whole new creature, glistening and brilliant.
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  • Issue Number Volume 6 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Front Range “features work from writers and artists, not only from the Rocky Mountain West but from all around the world.” These writers, many of them award winners, seem to share a focus and connection with nature and their relationship with it. While poetry dominates the journal, the few short fiction and nonfiction stories add diversity and depth to the journal. Front Range looks for artists who have works of “high quality,” which allows the journal to explore many aspects of the human condition. Also, the artwork placed throughout the journal offers another perspective on the human experience that Front Range looks to capture. Almost all the images published are landscape photos, but perhaps the most unique and interesting photo in this issue is one taken by Ira Joel Haber called “Reflections.” This photograph shows the reflection of a mannequin in a shop window, which calls into question self-reflection in a bustling modern world.
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  • Issue Number Volume 3 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
With a title like Gigantic Sequins, you may suspect to open a journal full of brilliant and flashy work, but, inside, what you’ll actually find is a whole collection of poetry, fiction, and art that is brilliant without being flashy. Dispersed in between the writings is art from Gillian Lambert and Sarah Schneider that at first seem odd or grotesque, but, with a closer look, you see that there is beauty in the strangeness, and you feel compelled to stare, to think, and to mull over the meaning of the images—proof that the art is doing its job.
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  • Issue Number Volume 24 Number 2
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
If F. Scott Fitzgerald stopped writing in 1940, and the movement subsequently classed as “confessional poetry” emerged in the late 1950s, what kind of legacy might the modern writer extract from this kind of heritage? Take Fitzgerald’s themes forced through the turbulence of Plath (who plays a role here, later) and, let’s say, Ginsberg (who also plays a role here, later). The year is 1931, and seeking real life solace, Fitzgerald published “Babylon Revisited,” a story of a father seeking to obtain custody of his daughter and rinse away his reputation from Jazz Age mania and hedonism.
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  • Issue Number Volume 11 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
No other compilation of creative writing has ever touched my heart in quite the same way as this issue of The Healing Muse. I read page after page of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry all living up to the to the editor’s introductory note: “This issue [bears] witness to love and faith, to people dedicated to shepherding loved ones through procedures and side effects, through altered bodies and weary minds.” The journal, and certainly this particular issue, beautifully portrays the “ravages of cancer” as promised by the editor. The Healing Muse tells tales of life and death, hurting and healing.
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  • Issue Number Number 16
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual and Online
Hunger Mountain is a beautiful, elegant journal. It offers a wide assortment of reading experiences. The usual fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction are here, but there is also a young adult and children’s literature section, which includes a long poem by Heather Smith Meloche entitled “Him.” It’s a clever, visually enticing poem; its form varies in the length and structure of lines, and, paired with the poet’s apt use of white space, it creates a journey for the eyes. The poem recounts a simple teenage romance, but the wonderful use of imagery and rhythm breathes new life into the old story:
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  • Issue Number Volume 34 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Kenyon Review, from its heartland perch in Gambier, Ohio, has captured the map of American experience for some seventy years. Over time, it has grown to represent international literature and the arts, with a lively internet presence and a summer residential writing program. It has been easy to obtain (a submariner once purchased a gift subscription for me from a faraway port), which is important in a business sense; some publications have mysterious distribution practices, and now, more than ever, each literary magazine should be ubiquitous. To this end, over the past year, The Kenyon Review has been available on electronic platforms, which is a great advantage to the otherwise unforgiving minute, as Kipling might say. I hope more literary journals are available electronically so that, as a reader, you can salvage from the loss of time—waiting on a train or a bus, stalling in the supermarket line—remnants of loss, joy and redemption.
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  • Issue Number Number 2
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
For a fledgling magazine only on Issue 2, Kugelmass has snagged some pretty impressive comedic authors. It offers 13 writers of essays, stories and “whatnot” and starts us off with “nonsense from the editor,” David Holub. It promises uncompromised humor, and it definitely delivers. It’s not humor in the slapstick sense, but in the emotionally distressed, heartbroken psychosis variety, which makes for some pretty hilarious thought processes woven into essays and stories.
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  • Issue Number Issue 9
  • Published Date January 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue might be the last of Magnapoets, as Editor Aurora Antonovic is taking a year-long break to work on other projects and assessing whether to let her publication die or give it a new birth. The cover—a gorgeous red photograph of the Horsehead Nebula, taken by Don McCrady—is a perfect tribute, as nebulas are either the remains of old stars or material for new ones.
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  • Issue Number Volume 5 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This edition of Nano Fiction was intriguing from the bright cover art to the flash fiction that jolts you along like a wooden roller coaster. The artist behind the front and back covers, Jason Poland, includes an artist statement and comic strip in the shape of honeycombs titled “The Sting and the Sweet.” In his statement, Poland explains how he took up beekeeping in 2008 and learned that each queen bee seeks to kill her sister queens. She who survives, reigns; however, in his comic strip, he shows two sister queens seemingly joining forces but remaining in diplomatic battle for queendom. On the covers, the queen sisters are holding hands and have a gothic essence about them, especially in their facial makeup and markings. The images are quite stunning, but only through following the comic strip does the real story begin to unfold.
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  • Issue Number Issue 15
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
PEN America is the journal of the PEN American Center, and so has access to a venerable stable of contributors for each issue. This issue, the theme of which is “Maps,” is no exception. It contains many short pieces, some less than a page long, by a number of esteemed writers. Writers were asked to respond to a prompt: “We hope you’ll allow us to accompany you as you reencounter a world you’ve come to know through literature . . . Or, if your mood is more essayistic, tell us about maps that guided or misguided you as a writer.” As one might imagine, the responses are quite varied, highly personal, and mostly interesting.
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  • Issue Number Volume 41 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Phoebe “prides itself on supporting up-and-coming writers, whose style, form, voice, and subject matter demonstrate a vigorous appeal to the senses, intellect, and emotions of [its] readers.” I found this issue to be proof of that: with each turn of the page, I found more new and exciting forms and subject matter. As a writer who can’t seem to hit a creative bone without form, I loved reading each and every one of these pieces—sifting through the forms and pondering on how each one opens up something new to the story or message.
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  • Issue Number Volume 11
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Poemmemoirstory, also known as PMS, is both written and edited by women writers. This annual magazine includes exactly as its name suggests: poems, memoirs, and stories. Many literary journals have a certain aesthetic or style of writing that remains consistent throughout the pages; however, I thoroughly enjoyed how diverse each piece was. In addition to various topics being discussed, the approach to writing and how it looks on the page changes with each writer.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
After nearly five years of being solely an online quarterly, Prick of the Spindle has finally released its first print issue. The goal of the journal is to “both recognize new talent and to include those who have a foot planted in the writing community.” It was satisfying to see this journal continue its goal by taking its first step into the print world with a display of impressive literary work.
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  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 1
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Celebrating its thirty-fifth volume of publication, Room is an achievement in many ways, starting with the quality of its writing and cumulating in its mission. Room is Canada’s oldest literary journal by and about women and is independent of an educational institution. With many operational and editorial aspects managed by volunteers, there remains in the spirit of the journal a deliberate emphasis on the collective. As editor Clélie Rich quips in a retrospective (of sorts) “Roomies,” Virginia Woolf has a room of her own and a house full of servants, “Consider us, the collective, as those servants.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 18
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This journal from the University of Northern Arizona is, as the title indicates, thin (only 78 pages), but it is dense with works that push the boundaries of fiction and poetry. Sometimes weird, often times experimental, and certainly not boring, Thin Air is a little, big journal that deserves attention.
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  • Issue Number Volume 13 Number 3
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue, titled “Science Fair,” does something remarkable. That’s not news for Tin House, which is known for being remarkable in regard to its high literary quality and appealing, light-filled design. But this issue is uniquely wonderful because it shows in a variety of ways how literature, which you love, and words, which transport you, are all intertwined with the materiality of science—and that’s not all science fiction (though there are some wonderful examples of that). It makes science mysteriously accessible to those of us who revel in metaphor and myth. It makes metaphor and myth accessible to science-eaters by showing them how one came out of the other, how both are in us, both make us what we are.
  • Subtitle A Journal of Personal Narrative
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  • Issue Number Volume 17 Number 1
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Tiny Lights comes out of Petaluma, California. It may have “tiny” in its title, and it may have only sixteen stapled pages between its newsprint covers, but “lights” are everywhere in its pages. This issue—which was published in the summer of 2011—contains the winning entries in the “standard” and “flashpoint” categories of its annual essay contest, plus submissions by readers to two regular “columns.” The whole issue can be read in an hour. And what a pleasant, rewarding hour it is. Susan Bono, the founder and editor of this tiny journal, loves personal essay and personal voice, and the magazine is a vehicle for this love.
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  • Issue Number Volume 5 Issue 2
  • Published Date Winter 2011/2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The subtitle on the moonlit cover of this issue is “Illumination from the Mountains.” If you’re from the West (Whitefish is in the northwest corner of Montana), if you love mountains, if you’re not afraid of a worldview from the rougher edge of the country, this is a magazine for you. Look for “illumination” throughout.
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  • Issue Number Issue 17
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Issue seventeen of the Yalobusha Review opens with a quote by Barry Hannah: “The brain wants a song. You steal it, and then you smile a while, hoping it will stand, for your friends and even enemies, while we are alive and dying.” The type of song Hannah is talking about can only be found in good writing. This literary journal from the University of Mississippi delivers a satisfying playlist of fiction, poetry, and interviews that will keep you, your friends, and your enemies (alive or dead) smiling for a long time.
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  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Yellow Medicine Review is an illuminating, varied and enjoyable read. True to its subtitle—“A journal of Indigenous Literature, Art and Thought”—the magazine offers a rich bouquet of different literary experiences, distinct expressions of what it means to be Native American.
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