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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted January 18, 2016

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  • Issue Number Issue 19
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Alligator Juniper is named for a tree in the juniper family with bark like alligator skin, and the editors of the magazine say the name “invites both the regional and the exotic.” The magazine does so successfully by including pieces from their National Writing Contests in Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, and Poetry along with the winning pieces from Prescott College’s annual James & Judith Walsh Undergraduate Creative Writing Awards. I admire how undergraduate students receive the opportunity for publication alongside outstanding pieces by professional writers. In addition to the award-winning pieces and nominees, the magazine includes an interview and a curated gallery of creative works.
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  • Published Date Winter 2014/15
  • Publication Cycle Annual
If focus is the key to success, Barrow Street is throwing straight bullseyes. Forget author interviews, genre-jumping, and flashy art, and delve into the text, straight into the words on the page. The Winter 2014/15 issue has a simple no-nonsense design. Authors are listed alphabetically. Bios are found at the back in fine print jammed together to save precious real estate. No editor’s letter. No ads. Just a tight masthead and a New York address and 96 outstanding poems, running the gamut from short and sweet to epic and tragic. Sixty-two poets are published, ranging from first-timers to big names from big institutions with supporting bibliography. Whatever process the Barrow Street editors and readers are using to sift through their slush, which I imagine to be a mountainous snow bank, doesn’t change a thing: because it is working. Since 2000, they have had 18 poems selected to be anthologized in Best American Poetry.
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  • Issue Number Number 5
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
BULL Number 5 is covered in colorful, urban-styled art, created by the late Patrick Haley, whose work is profiled at length in this issue. Inside, his black and white drawings of surreal settings, strange creatures, and highly-detailed settings take influences from a variety of interesting visual sources such as Salvador Dali, R. Crumb, Heavy Metal magazine, and street graffiti. Each of the thirteen pages of drawings and sketches plucked from the artist’s notebooks tells a story, even the most basic “practice” sketches, with a couple in particular that could make one feel as though they could fall right into the page.
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  • Issue Number Issue 10
  • Published Date October 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Common magazine aims to present “bold, engaging literature and art.” Two informative essays accompanied by art definitely meet that criteria. The first, “Millennium Camera” by Jonathon Keats, is a fascinating look at a pinhole camera he created “with a one-thousand-year exposure time that will remain inside Amherst College’s Stearns Steeple until 3015” when an image over time will be captured for a future generation to see. With that in mind, there’s a wonderful surprise for current readers. On the last page of this magazine is a diagram for a Century Camera that can be cut out, assembled, and exposed for 100 years.
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  • Published Date January 2016
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Crab Fat Magazine—already a publication seeking more diversity in literature—presents their January 2016 “QPOC Issue,” featuring work by 14 queer poets of color. This issue is a strong one, filled with a variety of poetic styles that will leave readers entranced, their eyes opened.
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  • Issue Number Volume 21 Issue 3
  • Published Date Fall 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
If I were shipwrecked on a deserted island, I would take a machete and a subscription to Rattle. Perhaps a seagull could deliver quarterly. I’d open a coconut and start reading the conversation with the working poet that is included with each issue, then work my way randomly through the alphabetical compilation, memorizing and reciting to all my friends: the geckos, turtles, butterflies and rocks. If I lost my sanity, at least I would be happy.
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  • Issue Number Issue 7
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual
In 1981, I spent two weeks in the former Soviet Union. Every city was a highlight, but the most breathtaking destination was Peter the Great’s summer palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. The garden fountains were fun, yet I found the dazzlingly golden statues most extraordinary. Those recollections piqued my interest in reading an issue of St. Petersburg Review.
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  • Issue Number Issue 40
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Annual
A lot of originality is packed into a smart little anthology called Studio One. Take a look at the bright cover art, “Old Lady with the Black Eye” by multi-talented Ernest Williamson, greeting readers. Williamson has an additional painting within the volume, “Artist Delving into Her Craft,” which on the one hand I can’t quite figure out, and on the other hand I find impossible to stop looking at. Also outstanding is a portfolio of five luminous scenes by Colorado photographer Rita Thomas. “Pixie Forest,” which appears to be frost-covered trees by moonlight, is most stunning.
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  • Issue Number Volume 50
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
A beautiful hardcover issue, the 50th Anniversary Issue of Tampa Review is rich with colorful images and powerful contemporary writing. Though there is no set theme, each piece contains strong yearning from the characters or figures, bringing the reader close to intimate thoughts.
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  • Issue Number Issue 104
  • Published Date Fall 2015
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
ZYZZYVA’s Fall 2015 issue took me a very long time to review. Not because it was long or dense or difficult, but because I did not want to finish reading. Every time I started to write, I, like a vortex, would be sucked back into reading and my critical abilities would evaporate. I would become that teenie-bopper hiding under the sheets with a flashlight late into the early morning savoring each page, each character, each line.
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