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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted February 16, 2015

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  • Issue Number Number 179
  • Published Date Autumn 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
I’m honored to review this particular issue of The Antigonish Review because it announces the 2014 poetry and fiction contest winners. I’m glad I wasn’t a judge. It must have been an agonizing process to glean the wheat—the winners—from what couldn’t possibly have been literary chaff.
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  • Issue Number Volume 72 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Fall 2014 issue of The Antioch Review took on the theme of what they have chosen to call “word trucks,” which are similar to “food trucks.” The Antioch Review positions themselves to be like a food truck, “serving up a variety of dishes that were intended to stimulate the intellectual palate with ‘the best words in the best order.’” In order to stimulate the palate of every reader, this issue is packed with essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews, thoughtfully crafted and organized.
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  • Issue Number Volume 10 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle 9-Month
When sitting down to read Burnside Review, I feel you have to be in the right mood: opening to something different with every turn of the page, and craving something that makes you see things in a new way. At my first sit-down, I wasn’t quite prepared, but during my second chance, I got lost in the words, wanting more when I had finished.
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  • Issue Number Volume 6 Number 6
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Returning to "Girl Eating a Bird" by Vanessa Zimmer-Powell published in this issue of Ekphrasis is becoming a habit. The language haunts as it depicts, surmises as it reveals. In just ten lines, the poem written after viewing Rene Magritte's painting, Girl Eating a Bird, exposes more of the painting and its subject. The first line "She chewed open cardinal" evokes in iamb, trochee, and dactyl, a nearly cannibalistic gnaw at the bone. In the next line, in the single syllable "raw," a reader might feel a twinge of sulfuric delight before reading on to the satisfying end. "She won't stop / until it is well tasted," and neither will readers.
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  • Issue Number Number 17
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Not long after opening Eleven Eleven Issue 17, the reader finds two photographs by Ken Morisawa (“Fishman speed light #4” and “Fishman #18”). The two black and white images ostensibly depict a man diving into dark water, surrounded by chaos and a disturbance of bubbles. One may read this in other ways, but it strikes me as a man diving into the wild, the unknown, a bold and determined move. He may not know what to expect, but he jumps anyway. It is exhilarating. This interpretation fittingly mirrors the experience of opening Eleven Eleven.
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  • Issue Number Volume 8
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual
If Volume 8 of Enizagam is an accurate measure, age is no indicator of ability. The literary magazine is produced by 9th-12th grade students at the School of Literary Arts at Oakland School for the Arts in Oakland, California. The urban public arts charter school students design, edit, and publish the journal, and they do an excellent job. Enizagam is a beautifully designed read, full of the kind of poetry and fiction that not only delights, but sticks with the reader long after putting the publication down.
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  • Issue Number Volume 5 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Literature is at its best when it resonates, when the reader is inclined to make connections to other texts, genres, and media in an effort to make sense of the work at hand. The resonant quality of the summer issue of Gigantic Sequins is high, indebted to the finely crafted works within its pages. According to Editor-in-chief Kimberly Ann Southwick, "The whole reason we do this thing is to present you some of the finest writers and artists around these days." In this issue, they have fulfilled this promise.
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  • Issue Number Issue 92
  • Published Date Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
In my admittedly brief career as a reviewer, I’ve not encountered any literary journals that concentrate almost exclusively on the short story. I really like the idea, and obviously so do many other readers. Two differences I noticed about Glimmer Train Stories: this is the only lit mag I’ve read so far that isn’t connected to a college or university; and it’s the only one that includes a bookmarker as a bonus.
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  • Issue Number Volume 27 Number 2
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of Green Mountains Review focuses on different moments, how writers choose to capture those moments, what they bring into those moments, what they take out of those moments, and what these shared moments can provide to the reader. Every piece of work seems to say “This is a moment that has happened or is happening and how, dear reader, will you handle it?”
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  • Issue Number Number 100
  • Published Date Winter 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The centennial of anything is generally cause for celebration, but when one is an independent gardening magazine with homegrown roots (pun intended) and a lot of heart, reaching Issue 100 is an even more exciting accomplishment. Issue 100 of GreenPrints does not disappoint. It is a celebration of not only the gardening and gardeners GreenPrints regularly embraces, but also the magazine itself and all those whose impassioned writing is surely on par with their artfully tended begonias and apricot trees.
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  • Issue Number Number 38
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Annual
For their final print issue, after the recent passing of their editor and publisher, Csaba Polony, Left Curve provides readers with a strong collection of essays, poetry, and a variety of other musings, including a play and an interview with artists Victor and Margarita Tupitsyn. Although the journal will continue to make use of their website, the final hard copy, like Dylan Thomas suggests in his canonized villanelle, does not go gentle into that good night. The selections are designed, written, and selected by thinkers.
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  • Issue Number Volume 19 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Main Street Rag has a different vibe from your distantly intellectual, even-tempered literary journal. It’s unpredictable, quirky. At the very beginning, Publisher/Editor M. Scott Douglass writes in The Front Seat column about why the issue is late and about the kerfuffle of the North Carolina governor inserting himself into the selection of state poet laureate. When he’s had his say on these topics, he directs us to The Back Seat (distinguished by cream-colored pages) toward the end of the issue, where he takes on the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina. This is a hands-on, opinionated rag.
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