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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted November 15, 2012

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  • Issue Number Issue 17
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Like the magazine, the alligator juniper tree is native to Arizona (the journal is a yearly publication of Prescott College), but, as its unusual name implies, the magazine “invites both the regional and the exotic.” What sets this journal apart from other lit mags is that the only avenue for submission—open to all levels, emerging, early-career, and established—is through their national contests. These include a general one for fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and photography, and a separate Suzanne Tito contest for fiction, CNF, and poetry. The prizewinners and finalists selected for this issue are supremely worth reading.
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  • Issue Number Issue 23
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
American Letters & Commentary defines itself as “innovative,” “challenging,” “daring,” and “diverse.” In this issue, John Phillip Santos reviews the poetry of John Matthias, saying that his “work imbeds us in his mind’s ceaseless flow of intimate memories, archival citations, insurrectionary readings, free associations and liberated play that seeks to unsettle the unexamined phenomenology of the reader’s attention to the world.” These phrases characterize ALC 23 as a whole.
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  • Issue Number Volume 23 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In The Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (January, 2006), researchers argue that “emotion enhances remembrance of neutral events past.”1 Investigators speculated that the reason for this might have to do with more pointed attention during the coding process or enhancement after the event, but what they showed more centrally was that emotion enhances long-term memory, “determining what will later be remembered or forgotten.”2 Virginia Woolf wrote in her journal that there was a certain advantage to memory stripped of its emotional coloring, which doesn’t contradict the recent claim of the Academy, but adds to the complexity of the relationship between memory and emotion which would have considerable impact on literature and its sibling sciences—the law and psychology.
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  • Published Date October 2012
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online
Although the November issue went live literally minutes after I finished reading this issue, I urge you to excuse the fact that this review is for the October issue. The October issue marks the magazine’s one year anniversary, and I figured it needed a celebration. And there’s a lot to celebrate here.
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  • Issue Number Volume 63 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Whenever I review a poetry journal, I look for one or two poems that stitch all the poems to each other and, ultimately, to the fabric of my conscience. I trust the editors, whenever possible, to produce a publication that ties itself together with a common theme, a certain style, or a period in literary history, to name a few of the devices at an editorial team’s disposal. If I leave myself open to all the ways that such a “stitching” can happen, I am almost always pleased—as I am with the Fall 2012 Beloit Poetry Journal, which is a gem of a journal. The poem “Above the Lake,” by Stephen O’Connor, manages to pull the journal together.
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  • Issue Number Issue 25
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Blue Mesa Review, a product of the creative writing program of the University of New Mexico, almost did not see publication this year. Editor-in-Chief Suzanne Rose Richardson reports that her fellow editors had to fight to keep their magazine alive during their school’s funding crisis: “They organized fund raisers, attended countless meetings, and they brainstormed in order to bring you this very issue you’re holding. Each editor gave above and beyond to ensure this issue had a chance to make it.” The folks at Blue Mesa have a lot to be proud of in this issue. The result of their hard work and dedication is a handsome journal with great content.
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  • Issue Number Volume 2 Number 2
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In his editor’s Note, Deputy Editor-in-Chief Jonathan C. Stalling explains that part of the publication’s mission is to offer “to non-experts a multifaceted portal into contemporary China through literature and literary studies.” To do this, he refers readers to the issue’s featured scholar, Yue Daiyun, whose work in comparative literature has led to the conclusion that the traditions of the West and those of China (Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism) no longer exist independently of the other. Indeed, as Stalling explains, Yue’s vision is one in which comparative literature is preparation for “an era of global multicultural coexistence.”
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  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Digital Americana is living up to its name; it is redefining literary magazines in the digital world and ever enhancing the reading experience. This special “Redact” issue encourages breathing new air into the writing already published there.
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  • Issue Number Issue 13
  • Published Date October 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
Hear the name The Fib Review and you may think it is a journal dedicated to literature about lies. But actually, it showcases a unique form of poetry—the Fibonacci poem. Based off of the Fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 . . . or Fn = Fn-1 + Fn-2), the poems use the number of words or syllables on a line to build the pattern, making the journal a wonderful creative outlet for math-lovers.
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date October 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
For each issue, Five Quarterly publishes five poems and five pieces of fiction, all selected by five judges (which also change with each quarter). The judges for this issue are Stephen Paul Miller, Fernando Perez III, Jasmin Rosario, Cheryl Wilson, and Tiphanie Yanique.
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  • Issue Number Issue 42
  • Published Date November 2012
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online
This issue of Fogged Clarity contains poetry, one piece of fiction, music, an interview, and a review. At first, I was concerned about there being so little in the issue (not realizing at first its monthly publication cycle), but each piece is strong and worth reading.
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  • Published Date Autumn 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
To set the feel for the rest of the issue, the editors of Goblin Fruit start it off with the haunting image of “The Vigil” by Mike Allen (for a visual of this “woman,” check out the art by Elisabeth Heller for the issue): “Where her eyes affix cannot be guessed. / Beneath a hat of iron wire / hang tattooed skins that veil her face.” Reading the rest of the issue, you’ll get the sense that she is watching you:
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  • Published Date September 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
This issue of Halfway Down the Stairs, the “Chaos” issue, features poetry, fiction, and nonfiction that have been written, as Editor Joseph Murphy says, by overcoming “chaos, distraction, frustration and more.”
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  • Issue Number Number 42
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Reading the Harvard Review was a pleasure. I could read this journal anyway I liked. I could freefall, flipping forward fifty pages at a whim, and know whichever piece I landed on would catch me. The obvious wow-factors include Spain’s poet laureate, Vincente Aleixandre; Antoni Tàpies, a Catalan painter whose work has been displayed at the most prestigious museums around the world; and Charles Simic, a Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur Fellowship recipient.
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  • Issue Number Issue 21
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Jubilat 21 is an eclectic issue packed with both surrealism and honesty, insight and fun. I’ve always loved jubilat for the bold, inventive work it features, and this issue is no exception.
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  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The Labletter is the product of a small group of artists in Oregon who wrote together for ten years before inviting formal submissions. At its core, the Lab was a place where artists could experiment with their work and benefit from the group’s diverse mediums. The journal’s fourth annual issue stays true to its Oregon Lab roots—it is steeped in nature, whether captured by the photographer, the novelist, the poet, or the painter.
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  • Issue Number Volume 4 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
Before you read The Medulla Review, take everything you think you know about our world and throw it out the window; the stories contained within the issue will challenge new ways to think about the way it actually works. You’ll discover a world in which all men turn, quite literally, into pigs; you’ll meet a man who removes, again quite literally, the faces of women before he can sleep with him; you’ll be introduced, in biography form, to Judas Horse, the world’s greatest cheese artist (“he is best known for his map sculptures of each of the fifty United States and territories of Puerto Rico, Guam and the USVI done entirely in cheese, chewed into shape by his own unique teeth”); and you’ll even find yourself navigating a maze as a lonely lab rat.
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  • Issue Number Issue 18
  • Published Date November 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
Populated by winners of each contest, each issue of this magazine has a different premise. This issue includes three winners and three honorable mentions on the premise of time. At first, I wasn’t looking forward to the pieces, expecting the classic race against time scenario, but I was pleasantly surprised to see time handled in a much different way.
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  • Issue Number Number 4
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The cover art for this issue—“The Little Prince” by Andrew Robertson—speaks greatly to the aura of the writing held within. The Little Prince stands on his asteroid, back turned to us, with just his rose. The fiction, poetry, and nonfiction held within the magazine emit these same senses of loneliness and solitude, though in a way that is both beautiful and poetic.
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  • Issue Number Issue 25
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Per Contra's fall issue offers a varied sampling of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art.
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  • Issue Number Volume 2 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
In an introduction to this issue’s featured artist—Caleb Cole—Joshi Radin discusses how Cole takes old group photographs and whites out all people but one. “We focus on this individual,” writes Radin, “plucked from the crowd. Confined by the white space where companions once crowded, she is alone even in the company of others.” Take, for example, “There Yet,” in which you can see a young girl’s blank expression, barely visible. It may have been lost in the photo originally, blocked out by the other children. Each of the photographs emits loneliness, solitude. “As a group,” Radin says, “They are all alone together.” The pieces of writing contained in this issue speak that same message to me.
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  • Issue Number Volume 9 Issue 2
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Redivider releases their spring 2012 issue loaded with a mix of strong and diverse works of fiction and poetry. From the absurd to the tragic, this issue was a pleasure to read from beginning to end.
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  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
It’s Rhino. I don’t know how long it’s been around, but it is one of the best annual collections of poetry you can find. Once you know the quality is there, what would you like me to tell you? It’s always good. If you are not familiar with it, you can count on it to enrich your day and entertain your evening. If you are familiar with it, you look forward to it. So, what did I do?
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  • Issue Number Volume 3
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Upon reading Volume III of Sakura Review, I had an immediate interest in finding out what the word “Sakura” referred to. I, of course, went first to Wikipedia where I learned that “sakura” might refer to “the Japanese term for ornamental cherry blossom trees and their blossoms.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 46 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
When money’s involved, what constitutes a document can be volcanically contested. Prior drafts, letters of intent, symbols sketched on a corner of a tablecloth are material one way or the other, if at all. Not so with every literary magazine. The summer 2012 issue of Southern Humanities Review is the first out of maybe twelve issues that I’ve reviewed that is curiously harmonic, down to the detailed footnotes of an essay. The Minutes of the Executive Board Meeting of the Southern Humanities Council, the copyright attribution on the last page from November 1931 are allusive, contributing to a cohesive whole, teasing, in the vein of a modern Nabokov, what is real, what is to be believed.
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  • Issue Number Number 8
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
What makes the lit mag experience special? Editor Vivian Dorsel provides one interesting answer in the short introductory essay that opens this issue of upstreet. Dorsel describes the experience of arriving in Bermuda for a vacation. The narrow Bermudan roads wind you “through a landscape both commonplace and exotic—simple cottages and family homes and forms and hues foreign to your native New England, palm trees in myriad sizes, shapes and shades of green whose fronds clatter in the gusty wind . . .” upstreet creates a similar experience, introducing the reader to unexpected people and places that are nonetheless familiar.
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  • Issue Number Volume 3 Issue 3
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
If you’re looking for a great amount of reading packed into one issue, look no further than the latest issue of The Writing Disorder. And this issue is even larger than their typical issue, expanded to accommodate even more writing.
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