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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted December 15, 2013

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  • Issue Number Volume 11 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Each issue of 32 Poems is an intimate encounter that is made the perfect size with clever cover art that makes me want to carry it around everywhere. This issue of 32 Poems features cover art from Elliot Walker as well as a humorous back cover titled “32 Things We Really Should Apologize For” by Aaron Alford and Liz Anderson Alford. Literally, this issue of 32 Poems is a must read from front to back.
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  • Published Date October/November 2013
  • Publication Cycle Updated Regularly online
With a url such as “readthebestwriting.com,” Ascent offers up some high expectations. While I’m not certain how to qualify any writing as “the best,” there is no argument that Ascent really does publish quality writing.
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  • Issue Number Volume 2 Number 4
  • Published Date October 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue of Blue Lyra Review has a special theme: “Stories We’d Rather Not Tell.” This, of course, is a little contradictory considering if the authors didn’t want to tell the stories, they wouldn’t submit. But it’s intriguing nonetheless, and I dove right in. I was instantly drawn in to the nonfiction section, eager to hear those stories first, and I wasn’t disappointed.
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  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Chagrin River Review, now in its third issue, publishes fiction and poetry, leaning toward the more traditional styles, nothing extremely experimental or flashy, just good writing.
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Compose has a wide variety of writing to enjoy from fiction, to nonfiction, to poetry, to a couple of features. The artists conjure up images of a widow-bearing tequila bottle that sits on the kitchen table, mermaids that “swim the high school pool,” mussels and clams and a bonfire, “Lint from your best-loved old jumper / sprinkled with grains from your childhood / sandbox,” and 26 tea lights in memory of those lost in the Sandy Hook shooting.
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  • Issue Number Number 4
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Jelly Bucket is the literary magazine of the Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University. As previous reviewers have noted, this magazine welcomes a broad diversity of work in fiction, nonfiction, interviews, poetry (including translation), and art. Graphic design is bright and lively without sacrificing readability. Big pages and proportionally ample margins present writers and artists well. The quality of the work is a bit uneven, but overall, standards are high and there are some really fine works.
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  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Harvest time is my favorite time of year, so I was naturally drawn to this “Harvest” issue of Kindred. From the photographs to the stories and poems to the how-to pieces in this issue, Kindred not only brings the harvest season to life on the page, but also accomplishes its goals of bringing the sense of home and togetherness, fusing two themes of harvest and community.
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  • Issue Number Issue 16
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
This issue of Lines + Stars is the perfect introduction to winter, as in some poems, the snow has already fallen and is already deep, and in others, it has only just begun. Many of the pieces are reminiscent of the holidays, with the sounds, smells, and tastes of the seasons. They all have vivid imagery that brings the poetry to life. See, for example, these lines from Dan Ferrara: “dancing red from ice and vodka, / juggling knives and strangling accordions.” And:
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  • Issue Number Issue 14
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In the most recent issue of New Ohio Review (NOR), the editors feature a series of “Translation Cruxes,” inspiring meditations on the method by which we are able to access voices from afar. The trick, of course, is that the journal is full of translations—maybe not in the nature of the subjunctive, but rather in the way feelings are translated.
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  • Issue Number Volume 31 Number 2
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
If surrealism is a vehicle for expressing the unsaid, then The Southeast Review smartly packages its fiction in a way that says a great deal through a scrim of restraint. In this way, the magazine honors the Southern vernacular tradition of saying something poignant innocuously.
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  • Issue Number Volume 2 Issue 25
  • Published Date Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Above the lintel of a passageway in Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol is a quote from Dante that reads: “Abandon all hope all ye who enter here . . .” The struggle for Irish independence mirrors this bleakness, but that struggle also corresponded to a pantheon of literature that no occupation could suppress. In this issue of The Stinging Fly, a literary journal based in Dublin, the Irish spirit is robust enough to signal outward. Not only did the editors cull a magnificent, relentlessly balanced collection of short narratives, they did so through translation. Voices from Brazil, Morocco, Belgium, Italy, China, Rwanda, Poland, Ukraine, Greece, The Netherlands, Spain, Austria and Finland come through translated from their native tongues into a worldwide map of disciplined craft.
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  • Issue Number Volume 15 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This “Wild” issue of Tin House is special in that it contains both cover art and a feature from Matt Kish’s illustrated version of Conrad’s classic Heart of Darkness. As usual, Tin House features great work from poets, fiction writers, essayists, and reviewers. It has everything from essays on Vegas brothels or snakes to a “Readable Feast” that ends with a recipe for barnacles. Fair warning though, with a cover this visually stunning, you may never be able to actually open it.
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