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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted February 17, 2014

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  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date July 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Big River Poetry Review publishes lots of poems online—eight in January 2014 and nine in December 2013, for example—then gathers them all annually in this journal. This first volume covers the period between the review’s founding in late May 2012 through the end of the year. Based in Baton Rouge, LA and published in an unwieldy eight and a half by eleven format with a bright red cover, it includes 154 poems by almost as many authors. The magazine is open to a wide range of styles, subject matter, and skill levels, including poems that would benefit from being workshopped.
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  • Issue Number Issue 45
  • Published Date Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Brevity, the staple for flash nonfiction writing, puts forth another fascinating issue, with authors I couldn’t wait to read.
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  • Issue Number Volume 63 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Because of its length (about 133 pages), this issue of The Carolina Quarterly relies heavily on the strength of each of its components. Every sentence must move its alphabetical weight, more so than in one of those torrentially heavy volumes that seek to delight and have enough statistical room to dare to dismay—this collection is systematically frank and urgent.
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  • Issue Number Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Through this riveting inaugural volume of China Grove, an editorial team rooted in Mississippi unveils the identity of the last of the great Southern literati, Mark Twain’s intellectual property battles, and love stories real and apocryphal, in one polished collection.
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  • Issue Number Issue 001
  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
East Coast Ink’s very first issue is themed “New Again,” perhaps fitting for a first issue, perhaps not. In the editor’s note, Jacqueline Frasca writes, “Every one of us has a moment where we recognize, This isn’t me anymore. It can leave you lost, hopeful, hopeless—but whether you perceive it as a misstep, a leap forward, or a tragic mistake, you are one thing for sure: new, again. All over again.” For Frasca, this magazine is an attempt to move forward. But more importantly, it’s a place to showcase authors’ works:
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  • Issue Number Number 89
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Rather than mar pristine journals with my unkempt scribbles, I’ve taken to flagging particularly insightful or arresting passages in them with sticky notes. Suffice it to say, my copy of Field’s latest issue has more flags in it than the parking lot of a Toby Keith concert. Where other journals can feel bloated with uneven material, the new issue of Field weighs in at a lean one hundred pages. Sporting cover art by British artist Gary Hume, as well as poetry and essays by established and emerging writers, the new issue eloquently makes a case for Field’s place near the top of the poetry heap.
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Issue 2
  • Published Date January 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Ghost House Review is a new digital publication that claims to put forth “poetry that haunts the heart.” And while I don’t think that is quite the way I would describe the work in this issue, I would say that it is quality poetry.
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  • Issue Number Number 39
  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
“Unpredictability” is the word editor Nathaniel Perry chooses to describe what unifies the many poems in this year’s issue of The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review. And whether you’re reading quatrains about pay phones, a narrative about catching dinner in a water hazard, or an inscrutable ode to the beauty of inscrutability, the narrators encountered in the new issue are an undeniably unpredictable bunch. Boasting over one hundred pages of poetry, poetry reviews, and conversations about poetics, the staff of the review have done their level best to tide readers over until next year’s issue arrives in the mail. The issue’s unpredictability even extends to its individually illustrated covers, a refreshingly communal touch from such an established magazine. Nearly forty years on, the review is still finding new ways to spice things up under its covers as well.
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  • Issue Number Issue 50
  • Published Date January 2014
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online
Jersey Devil Press celebrates their fiftieth issue, and they even made a playlist to accompany it, with a song pairing for each of these intriguing stories.
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  • Issue Number Volume 7 Issue 3
  • Published Date September 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This particular issue of Meat for Tea carries a theme of “Bone.” Visual artists and wordsmiths took every possible definition of that single word, and the editors did a good job weaving together a cohesive, enjoyable 91 total pages of work. A sprinkling of images kept the words from running together, sort of like commercials that I was excited to encounter.
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  • Issue Number Volume 19 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly



It would be tempting. Imagine saying,
“Let there be light.” And, poof, there’s light.
The magic word is any word you want it to be—
bucket, for example, or asphalt, and into the world
tumble jet planes, hair dryers, and vegetarian restaurants.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Really System is a brand new journal that publishes solely poetry, offering up four issues a year and seeking “new, interesting writing that exhibits a keen awareness of the forms, patterns, and channels through which we find ourselves connected with other people, other things, other worlds.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 3
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This is one of the most attractive lit mags I’ve viewed. For the astonishing price of five dollars, you can hold in your hands this substantial (eight-inch-by-eight-inch) volume with a technologically progressive cover and an extremely pleasing page design, whose innards are divided between visually striking color art, outstanding poetry, provocative interviews, and stories so good from the first line you want like crazy, but can hardly stand, to reach the ending.
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  • Issue Number Volume 22 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
A reader who gets a copy of this issue of So to Speak: a feminist journal of language and art will find that it delivers on the promise of its title. A mix of prose, poetry, and images, this print issue from a well-established publication has beauty, intelligence, and provocation. The journal doesn’t insist on any one definition of feminism, preferring instead to take whatever touches women’s lives as its subject. Anyone who cares about women and/or cares about good art will appreciate it.
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  • Issue Number Issue 45/46
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
If you are a starving artist, take $22 from your last hundred bucks and purchase a subscription to Tampa Review. Every time you behold the volumes, you will feel rich. This journal is one of the most lavish and beautiful publications in the world of literary magazines. Hardcover, with a four-color dust jacket and visual art throughout, the large-format Tampa Review is an instantaneous wow. The dust jacket flaps contain an eloquent orientation to the content, indicating the editorial goal of creating an integrated experience within each single issue. Contributor notes are relatively lavish, providing almost five pages of information about the 55 artists and writers represented in this issue.
  • Issue Number Volume 34 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
As a south Texas native who relocated from the state in 1966, I immediately associate the town of Huntsville with its state prison. The Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville is the oldest of the state’s prisons, having been in operation since 1849. The unit boasts two distinctions: it houses the execution chamber where the largest number of prisoner executions in the United States are carried out, and from 1931 through 1986 it sponsored the Texas State Prison Rodeo. The rodeo arena was razed in early 2012, marking the end of a colorful piece of Texas history. Today, according to the Texas prison inmates’ handbook, the authorized team sports available to prisoners are softball, volleyball, and baseball.
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  • Issue Number Volume 25 Number 3
  • Published Date Autumn 2013
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Thema’s distinguishing feature—the prompt that drives every issue—is still and always its delightful strength. Like a well-designed skeleton, each issue’s prompt provides a scaffolding from which to build a full body of coordinated limbs, each of which is, in its imperfect excellence, a strapping member of an unexpectedly vigorous whole. You want to examine every one, especially carefully in this issue, since its theme is perception, seeing well: “Eyeglasses are needed.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
I’m going to refer to this publication as a “class in a book” for its incredible depth and breadth of content (in only 78 pages); ambitious would be an understatement. Transference is a new journal of poetry in translation published by the Western Michigan University’s Department of World Languages and Literature, which includes Arabic, Chinese, French, Old French, Classical Greek, Latin, Japanese, and Russian.
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