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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted February 15, 2013

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  • Published Date Winter 2012-2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
American Athenaeum invites you to step into their “museum of words” with their latest “Understanders” issue. Inspired by T.S. Eliot’s unwavering dedication to his craft in the face of stinging criticism, the editors dedicate this issue “to every artist who stays true to their art and vision amid the naysayers.”
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  • Published Date Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
From the rugged state of Montana comes Camas, a unique literary journal that focuses on environmental and cultural issues in the American West. Their winter 2012 issue features essays, fiction, and poetry revolving around work, but they’re not talking about white collar jobs here, folks. This issue is dedicated to the men and women who perform manual labor found in the rural parts of the United States. It celebrates, questions, and examines all aspects of this form of work, whether good or bad, legal or illegal.
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  • Issue Number Issue 42
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual online
While Cellar Roots is only open to submissions for students at Eastern Michigan University (where the publication is published from), if you are looking for something good to read and scouting for up-and-coming writers, it’s definitely worth the read. Filled with art, poetry, and prose, the issue is brimming with words to read and images to view.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1/2
  • Published Date February 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Cleaver Magazine starts the hype about their brand new publication with a preview issue, all focused on “flash.” This gives you a hint of the magazine’s style in short bites. But it doesn’t just include flash fiction; there are also micro essays, short poems, and even a section called “tiny art”—where Blake Martin writes about Instagram and self-portraits.
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  • Published Date Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Damazine, published out of Damascus, Syria, aims to “become the treasure house for quality literature related to the Muslim world.” Editor Serene Taleb-Agha writes that “For those of you who search for truths that can’t be expressed in news reports or feature articles, we pray that Damazine will become one of your regular stops.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 5
  • Published Date January 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Lingerpost offers a fruit salad of poetry (some long, some round, some sweet, and some are fun to utter out loud—like kumquat or papaya) and accepts a wide variety so long as it, as the editors say, is “interesting.” Well, there is certainly a lot of interesting poems in this collection, in several different forms.
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  • Issue Number Volume 17
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Mudfish, a journal founded by Jill Hoffman in 1984, marries poetry and art in a spellbinding series of verve and verse. For a quick and accessible view of the art in full color, the Mudfish website has an exquisite introduction to a moving collection of drawings, paintings, and photographs included in this volume. The poetry is likewise compelling and contains this year’s contest winners, as selected by Mark Doty. But for the poetry in its entirety, you may have to schlep it to a Barnes & Noble, where select stores feature the journal—see the website for participating locations.
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  • Issue Number Volume 77 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
North Dakota Quarterly is a scholar’s delight. The well-chosen creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction are bookended by two incisive papers and eight book reviews. All of the work is informed by an interesting frame of reference; the beautiful Great Plains can be found in these pages, as can knowing glimpses of the rest of the world.
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Here, complete, is Mathias Svalina’s “Poetry Prompt: Reformation” from this thoroughly intriguing second issue of Phantom Drift:
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  • Issue Number Issue 88
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
By the time you read this review, the so-called Mayan Apocalypse has passed, and the human race is still kicking (whether we like it or not). But just because we missed our extermination date doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the latest batch of poems, essays, and stories from River Styx. Editor Richard Newman has dedicated issue 88 to the End of the World: “Something in us, often a small, barely suppressed voice, roots for destruction. Evangelicals have their own reasons—eternal rewards in heaven—but most of us harbor an itch to see the demise of things.” The works presented in this issue deal with The End in different ways, from personal and absurd to global and horrific.
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  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Northwest Institute for the Literary Arts (NILA) is a community of writers on Whidbey Island (Washington state) which supports, teaches, and guides upcoming writers by means of a freestanding low-residency MFA program, an annual conference, and this publication, Soundings Review. This was the last issue to be produced under the direction of founding editor Marian Blue. Subsequent issues will be produced by students and faculty in the Whidbey Writers Workshop, the Institute’s MFA program, where, according to the website, production of the Review is to become an aspect of the proposed MFA in Publishing and Editing. It’s apparent from the bionotes of the journal that much of the work published in Soundings comes from within the NILA community—but that doesn’t mean it’s local, or even regional. It especially doesn’t mean that it’s anything but “high quality poetry, fiction, and nonfiction” by writers whose deepest value is to create community and contribute to the field of writing. The institute’s website is emphatic about this; I find it very exciting.
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  • Issue Number Volume 4 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
SpringGun, available through issuu, publishes work that is “unexpected, sudden, immediate, urgent—it’s happening now.” In the words of the editors, SpringGun is “simultaneously insane, comical, violent, practical, ingenious, irresponsible, terrifying, vulnerable, and deadly.”
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  • Issue Number Number 3
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Now this is fun! Published out of Canada, Sterling gives us a handy (128 pages), portable (of course, most literary art is portable), and extremely enjoyable collection of poetry, fiction, plays, manuscripts, and an “interview.” The cover of the issue evokes the idea of Boy Scout merit badges, but for writers. With badges such as “First Typewriter,” “Rejection Letter,” and “Rhymed with Orange,” the cover puts forth its main badge that says, “All Stories Matter.” I like variety, and the Sterling premise is “I want to hear everyone’s stories.” Me too.
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  • Issue Number Issue 31
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
This issue of Terrain features the winners and finalists for the magazine’s third annual contest—in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Themed “ruin + renewal,” the issue is filled with stories of survival and growth amongst the destroyed, the decayed, and the dirty.
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Unstuck, a relatively new literary journal based in Austin, Texas promises “literary fiction with elements of the fantastic, the futuristic, or the surreal . . . everything from straight-up science fiction and fantasy to domestic realism with a twist of the improbable.” After reading this thick—well over 500 pages—issue, it is that last line, “domestic realism with a twist of the improbable,” that seems most applicable to the surprising pieces in Unstuck. While many of the selections could be called “weird” in one way or another, most of the pieces are grounded in a reality.
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  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
There is persistent music in this volume, and it is not limited to the poetry. From Denise Low’s “Gambling in the Heart of Winter” to Dawn Karima Pettigrew’s “An Indian Doctor,” the prose narratives invoke other echelons in a mesmerizing language. “Mesmerizing” is a very fat word for what I mean specifically—that is, the success of these writers in engaging tradition to create new meaning. The language is rich, the styles often magical, but even in a lush literary landscape the authors in this volume evade over-writing or purple prose. It’s a tough and beautiful presentation.
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  • Issue Number Volume 28 Number 3
  • Published Date Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
ZYZZYVA publishes prose, poetry, and artwork from West Coast writers and artists. This regional focus is hardly limiting as this issue is made for consistently compelling reading. The stories are on the longer side, allowing the writers to burrow down into the characters, whose lives skew towards the bleary and darkly complicated.
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