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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted June 15, 2015

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  • Issue Number Volume 32 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date Spring & Summer 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
At 300 pages, this double issue of Alaska Quarterly Review packs a quantity of poetry and prose, including 44 poems, 10 stories, and 3 pieces labeled nonfiction.
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  • Issue Number Volume 41 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Before I began reading this issue of Black Warrior Review I skimmed its pages to see what they had in store for me. As it turned out, the pages held more than I could have ever expected, such as a chapbook by Nicole Walker, the graphic prose of Jeffery Chapman, a small section of featured work which includes everything from fiction and nonfiction to a graphic short story and artwork by Melissa Zexler. Needless to say that before I even started this issue, my mind was buzzing with excitement to read every single page.
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  • Issue Number Issue 12
  • Published Date February 2015
  • Publication Cycle Annual
When I first laid my eyes on the cover of the newest issue of Caketrain, I knew I would be in for a treat. The cover images titled “Kingdom of Heaven” by Yonca Karakas Demirel are both aesthetically pleasing and intriguing—they ask the reader to open the journal and explore what is within this issue’s pages. I expected fresh, new, and inspiring ideas that would make me want to write and that is exactly what I got; Issue 12 of Caketrain will not leave lovers of contemporary creative writing unsatisfied.
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  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date Spring 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
If you have young people in your life you want to inspire to read and write, The Caterpillar is your way to reach them. Published by the same folks who bring The Moth to young adult readers, The Caterpillar is geared toward an even younger crowd, the 7 – 11-ish range, which can be a tough group to target with the right amount of enjoyable silliness as well as seriousness for the more critical among them, but The Caterpillar gets the mix perfectly.
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  • Issue Number Issue 191
  • Published Date Spring 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Cimarron Review touts that they’re “one of the oldest quarterlies in the nation,” with a founding year of 1967. The Spring 2015 issue demonstrates why they’ve been around so long, with compelling poetry and fiction spread across 104 pages, sure to win over new readers and keep subscribers around.
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  • Issue Number Number 87
  • Published Date Spring 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Perhaps my favorite poem in this issue of Crazyhorse is the “Poem for the Giraffe Marius,” written by Christopher Kempf. The poem details the death of Marius, a giraffe who was executed via a bolt gun at the Copenhagen Zoo, “Because they said genetics [ . . . ] inbreeding. Because when the steel bolt retracts, the giraffe’s / skull crumpling // on itself like a cup.” Kempf continues, “There is [ . . . ] an element / of cruelty rooted in every spectacle.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date May 2015
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Grist is an annual magazine published in paperback by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Subtitled “the journal for writers,” the masthead says that Grist is “devoted to contemporary literary art and essays that present and represent the writer’s occupation.” The operation is run by students, so the accent is on “contemporary.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
It may seem counterintuitive to begin with the end, but that is where I want to start with one of my favorite pieces. The last narrative in the Winter 2015 issue of Jabberwock Review follows a father, who, after the death of his wife (who appears to him post-mortem as a physical manifestation of his subconscious much like the ghost of Hamlet’s father), frames his drug-addicted son for grand larceny in hopes to save him from his addiction. In her prose, Sonia Scherr explores how our losses define us while remaining visible like stars in the night sky, where the stars are dead long before we gaze upon them, yet are “not a reflection or a picture, but the living star” that we see. The stars, like our losses, leave “A Hole in the Universe.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 206 Number 2
  • Published Date May 2015
  • Publication Cycle Monthly
The May 2015 issue of Poetry prompts us to ask questions, and to observe without judgement the ways in which we act and operate as humans. In the opening poem, Frank Bidart’s “The Fourth Hour of the Night,” a young boy murders his half-brother for stealing a freshly-killed lark, and after, justifies his actions: “He looked / around him. Human beings // live by killing other living beings.” The poem positions us in a setting filled with slavery and brutality, a ruthless desire for power, and the search for immortality. Here, the boy acts based upon what he observes in a world that caters to those “stronger, taller, more / ruthless than you.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 51, Issues 3 & 4
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
What stuck out to me the most in this issue of the South Dakota Review was the poetry section, not only because I am a poet by nature, but because of the depth and breadth of range from ghostly lines to historical narratives. The poetry section begins with “Black Tigers” by Angela Penaredondo. Borrowing its epigraph from Wole Soyinka’s “Civilian and Soldier,” “Black Tigers” follows the life of a young female civilian soldier and the everyday preparations of dying. In the poem, she “shall be severed. Spread with voracity, / then refined to seeds and meat. / This land. All hunger girls.”
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