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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted October 15, 2013

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  • Issue Number Volume 4 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The aims of Bone Bouquet’s editors have been abundantly achieved in this issue. The writers represented are women experimenting with imagery and poetic forms while at the same time exploring social agendas, dilemmas, and personal experience. Most of the selected poems subvert language and present readers with vocabulary and symbolism that confounds all expectations, expressing voices that are not often found in literary magazines.
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  • Issue Number Volume 2 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The writers in this issue of The Conium Review have a talent for keeping things moving: tension, mystery, good old-fashioned action pulled off with clarity and skill, and the occasional bombshell of a metaphor. I found myself constantly itching to find out what was going to happen next, which is a feeling that literary magazines should induce more often in their readers.
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  • Issue Number Volume 17 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
It was a surprise to find Dunes Review on the shelf at NewPages. As it happens, I have Volume 1 Number 1 of this publication—dating back to 1997. The mastheads confirm this is one in the same: Founding Editor Anne-Marie Oomen still figures prominently as a submissions reader. Hers is a name that sounds of “home” to me. Home being northern lower Michigan, the launch site of this journal, now published by the Michigan Writers with the Glen Arbor Arts Association and the Beach Bards. Dunes Review has always been and remains Pure Michigan—at least behind the scenes. As for content, that is geographically open.
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  • Issue Number Issue 15
  • Published Date Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In his comic strip in this issue of ecotone, Jeff Koterba tells readers that people move through life “never imagining that we carry the bonds of home, wherever we go.” This idea is a connecting thread, in keeping with the theme of home that Editor David Gessner tells us has been “with us from the beginning.” He also writes that “Human beings are animals,” and “we are living in a time of deep danger and uncertainty,” and “making a home in this uncertain world has never been harder than it is now.” Readers of this issue will be certain of these truths as they are uncovered and rediscovered by writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in this spring offering from the magazine whose title means “a place of danger or opportunity.” This issue brings it all back home for the editors, writers, and fortunate readers.
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  • Issue Number Issue 9
  • Published Date May 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
I find that in a lot of online and digital journals, editors are sticking to shorter pieces, grabbing readers’ attention for a short while, and then letting them go about their day—not surprising in the age of text messages and tweets. But while that is certainly well warranted and effective, it is certainly refreshing to see a journal like Gulf Stream that isn’t afraid to publish pieces that take more than 5 minutes to read.
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Intentional is a new magazine that aims to “capture the twenty-something experience and explore innovations that might augment quality of life for millennials.” After reading Kate Jenkins’s editor note in the first issue, I, as a twenty-something myself, knew that this would be a magazine worth reading, and I was right; I read this second issue cover to cover, start to finish, all in one sitting.
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  • Issue Number Volume 3 Number 5
  • Published Date July 2013
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online
Unfortunately, this is the last issue of NAP. As they said on their Facebook page in June, “Nap wants you to know that quitters never win so don’t be like NAP and don’t be a quitter.” But their last issue is certainly not filled with quitter writers.
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  • Issue Number Volume 10 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Ninth Letter, entering its tenth year with this issue, is published by the University of Illinois, with faculty directing a large corps of students in presenting work from established and emerging writers. The magazine has a reputation for being ambitious, brash, lively and visually challenging, and this issue lives up to the reputation. You may not find everything to your liking, but Ninth Letter will reward the time you spend finding out.
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  • Issue Number Issue 28
  • Published Date Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue of Ruminate is titled “not forgotten” and contains stories and poems of memories and of preserving them. Editor Brianna Van Dyke writes, “it is not our memories that give us solace, but rather the promise that we are not forgotten, that with tender mercy the morning sun rises upon us. I try remembering, try holding it all—the hard truths and the good truths, together.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date September 30, 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biweekly online
A brand new litmag, Sassafras Literary Magazine, may be in its third issue, but it has really only been publishing for a month. Putting out an issue every other Monday, Sassafras surprises me in that it has so much material in an issue, but kudos to them—or I should say “to her,” as it’s a one-woman show. There’s a selection of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and artwork, viewable online (in which they each open as new pages) or easier to read as a downloadable PDF.
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  • Issue Number Volume 43 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that reading a collection of lyric essays can require more concentration, more effort, than reading a collection of short stories or personal essays, and that is true of the pieces in this issue of Seneca Review. This intense hybrid genre, a form of many forms, gives rise to responses like responses to poetry—visceral, shocked, troubled, enraptured—partly because it is filled with images, juxtapositions, and gaps, yes, but partly because it depends on the frontal lobe too, the facts and footnotes of argument and persuasion, at the same time it claims the personal, the fragile and emotional.
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  • Issue Number Volume 65 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The mission statement of The Southern Literary Journal is to publish “articles on the literature and culture of the American South and especially encourages global and hemispheric comparative scholarship linking the American South and its literatures and cultures to other Souths." This issue features both articles and reviews that present fresh and compelling ideas to the strong body of comparative scholarship that already exists on the literature and culture of the American South. Articles range from analyzing Gone with the Wind to the trauma of lost sovereignty within the South to the analyzing of Ellison’s Invisible Man as a “public jazz dance” in which each individual chapter on a grand scale represents the movements of syncopated communities.
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  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual online
As part of SpringGun Press, SpringGun Journal has just transitioned from a biannual publication to an annual one with this issue. I hope that they still get decent readership, because the writers—at least in this issue I know—deserve it. Without given much to go on about editorial taste, you really have to read the journal to discover how it feels. While I wouldn’t necessarily categorize it as themed, it does seem to ask, “Where are we going? What’s next? And how do we get there?”
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  • Issue Number Volume 13 Issue 3
  • Published Date September 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
In this issue, a lot of the pieces seem to deal with a void, something missing. Take “Absence” by Sarah Clayville: “You only wake for silence. The absence of a baby’s cry, the silence of my womb no more capable of speaking up to you than I am.” And “Eating Now” by Andy Cochran: “I consider telling him how I woke up hearing her voice. How it faded. How losing her voice felt like losing her all over again.” And Marchell Dyon’s poem: “Sometimes I wish I could be as vacant from emotions as the moon. / To be just another spirit free to wander.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 89 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The theme of this issue of The Virginia Quarterly Review is “People and Place.” The featured writers are Ann Beattie, Catherine E. McKinley, Garret Keizer, and Tess Taylor, but all of the 25 contributors are impressive and well worth reading and re-reading.
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  • Issue Number Number 73
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Two strains run through this issue of West Branch: personal interiority and power. Most of the poems, with nonlinear narratives, seemingly unrelated images, and a variety of traditional and more unorthodox forms, are concerned with the former. It’s harder for these private and original forms to reach the reader, and so I find myself more interested in the latter theme explored in this issue: what happens when people become aware of their relative weakness in the world they live in.
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