The NewPages
Literary Magazine Reviews

Edited by Denise Hill

Posted November 11, 2005

 

Beloit Poetry Journal

Volume 56 Number 1

Fall 2005

Quarterly

Beloit Poetry Journal threw me for a loop with this issue, by including not one, or two, but seven poems by Mary Molinary at the beginning of the journal—and in a slim journal such as this one (48 pages total) this makes quite an impact. The upside of having so many poems by a single artist is that you get a good solid idea of that artist’s work. Molinary’s seven poems are seven lyric, existential takes on the time 8:38—in a style more post-avant-garde/experimental than you might expect from this journal. Does this signal a shift in editorial preference? I await the next issue to find out. The issue also features four poems by Albert Goldbarth. Of course, most of us are already familiar with Goldbarth’s body of work - in the poems here, he is exploring with typical expansiveness and whimsy the secular worship of objects. With her poem “Things I Would Do for You,” Lee Ann Roripaugh charmed me with me her meditation on love and beetles, among other insects: “I would capture dragonflies, boil them with / ginger, garlic, chili pepper, onions, and coconut / milk, serve them with an herbed coconut soup / drizzled with red ant eggs, like caviar…” Marion K. Stocking, in the review section, takes on (with her usual intellectual vitality) poetry in translation again, this time a sweeping glance at Scandinavian, Germanic, and Slavic poetry. [Beloit Poetry Journal, P.O. Box 151, Farmington, ME 04938. E-mail: sharkey@maine.edu. Single issue $5. www.bpj.org] —Jeannine Hall Gailey

 

CARVE

Numbers 4, 5 & 6

2005

Quarterly

Among hundreds of saddle-stitched paper magazines, the Ithaca-based CARVE begs but one comment from this reviewer: I hope it continues its bold showcasing of unknown talent. Through the course of these three issues, CARVE has stuck to its formula, featuring as many as five poems or poem excerpts from each of five or six poets. The contributor demographics, though largely concentrated in New England, have diversified to include New Zealand and the U.K. And the poems are next to impossible to publish just about anywhere, but you’ll find them rewarding if you keep pace with them. Issue 5 includes a small biography of late British poet Ric Caddel, whose self-described style summarizes much of CARVE: “Part of the poetic process which is going on, is precisely that of jamming diverse elements together to see how they work, associating dissociated things.” In issue 6, we see how diverse such elements can be. Bill Marsh toys around with his wordplay meter on high in five excerpts from his magnetic Songs of Nanosense:

courting speeds
progressive leads

a soul
way as
always

key’s in the
ognition

Following Marsh, Clark Coolidge changes up the tempo with longer, but equally wacky, lines from “This is the man who broke the cornflake code” to “Winesaps / for deutschemarks with the snap of a spitfire,” which all somehow make maddening sense in context. CARVE has also announced plans for a series of chapbooks from past poets in its growing collection to accompany its periodic issues, a move that just might elevate it from a starting pixel to a platform for unknown and experimental writers. [CARVE, 221 W. Lincoln #2, Ithaca, NY 14850. E-mail: carvepoems@yahoo.com. Single issue $5. www.carvepoems.org] —Christopher Mote

 

The Chattahoochee Review

Volume 24 Number 4

Summer 2004

Quarterly

“Everything that once made him rage is now reason to smile,” says the narrator in Judith Oritz Cofer’s “Tio’s Nostalgia” of her uncle, though she could just as easily be describing the contents of the latest Chattahoochee Review. This issue couples celebration and darkness; Cofer’s piece is at once a story of homecoming and of the desire to leave. Robert Parham’s terrifying poem “What Boys Hunt” recalls the brutal ignorance of adolescence: “They smile and point, laugh, / the way at sixteen we talk / of women because we’re not men.” Many of the stories and poems in this issue are stories of coping—coping with family, puberty, or in Gary Corseri’s “Shodo: The Way of Writing”—another excellent piece in this volume—death and culture. Corseri writes about learning the art of Shodo from his Japanese father-in-law after the death of his own father. In addition to well crafted poetry and prose, The Chattahoochee Review also publishes book reviews, a feature too often neglected by other literary magazines. This issues’ rich selection is five reviews, four of which are of books of poetry. Of particular note is James Rioux’s skillful and glowing dissection Franz Wright’s Walking to Martha’s Vineyard. There is a sense through these pieces that art is a healing process that we enter into as deficient and come out of more complete. The Chattahoochee Review offers a similar experience and is well worth the reading. [The Chattahoochee Review, Georgia Perimeter College, 2101 Womack Road, Dunwoody, GA 30338-4497. E-mail: gpccr@gpc.edu. Single issue $6. thechattahoocheereview.gpc.edu] —Dan Brady

 

Columbia Poetry Review

Number 17

Spring 2004

Annual

This handsome perfect-bound journal out of Chicago with its heavy matte cover first drew me in with its impressive and diverse list of contributor’s names on the back: Nick Carbó, Karen Volkman, Wanda Coleman. From lyric narratives to post-avant experimental work, the poems have in common a certain hipness, an investment in emotion and image, and a conversational directness that draws the reader in. I liked too many poems to like to quote from them all—Maureen Seaton’s “When I Was a Sex Goddess” is funny and confident, as is Liz Berlands’s “a feminine fix-it handbook”; Matthew Thorburn’s “Honeymoon Snapshot” (“September // in Glasgow wasn’t April in Paris, but good / enough for a bad movie…”); the incredibly sad “fathers aren’t Gods, either” by Kristin Aardsma. Here are a few lines from Nick Carbó’s poem, “Pelos”: “I have white rabbits running around / my dreams at night. See the streaks / they leave on my temples? You! You put / them there so I would never forget / the lines of your face as you bent / to lick my belly button.” Stimulating and witty, the work represented has a youthful, edgy appeal. [Columbia Poetry Review, English Department, Columbia College, 600 South Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605 E-mail: columbiapoetryreview@colum.edu. Single issue $8. http://www.colum.edu/columbiapoetryreview/index.html] —Jeannine Hall Gailey

 

Feminist Studies

Volume 31 Number 2

Summer 2005

Triannual

Feminist Studies, a glossy, intellectual journal that balances its essays on research and theory with literary fiction, poetry, and art, manages again to spark interest in its intelligent, clearly written essays—this time, my favorite essays were on a post-post structuralist approach to feminism in Simone de Beauvoir’s writings by Sonia Kruks and a study of beauty pageants relations to college life by Karen W. Tice. The art work consisted of photo reproductions of mixed media work by Jehanne-Marie Gavarini; sometimes mixed media work doesn’t translate well to the page, but at least you get the idea of what the artist was trying to do in the photos, which looked interesting. I particularly liked a poem called “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, Lived” by Eloise Klein Healy, describing the speaker’s childhood in North Hollywood, which ends: “…where Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, / really did walk around her backyard / in leopard skin lingerie, / and her hair was blonde, truly blonde, / and it was rumored / she occasionally did swing from her trees.” This journal continues to prove that cutting-edge feminist studies are still vibrant, and integral to our understanding of contemporary culture. [Feminist Studies, 0103 Taliaferro, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742. E-mail: femstud@umail.umd.edu. www.feministstudies.org]
—Jeannine Hall Gailey

 

The Georgia Review

Volume 59 Number 2

Summer 2005

Quarterly

The summer edition of The Georgia Review is dedicated to “the art of the rant,” an idea that is, without exception, brilliantly explored in this outstanding issue. The topic is broadly interpreted, from frenetically paced poetry to a father’s tense conversation with his disturbed daughter to Robert Cohen’s essay that discusses the necessity of “going to the extreme limit.” I especially enjoyed G.C. Waldrep’s long poem, “The Batteries,” Joanna Goodman’s stunning prose poem, “Rounds: After Pascal,” and Robin Becker’s “Against Pleasure”: “All films end badly. / Paintings taunt with their smug convictions. / In the dark, Worry wraps her long legs / around me, promises to be mine forever.” Other standouts include Frederick Busch’s short story “Mental Fatigue” and Robert Cohen’s “The Piano Has Been Drinking: On the Art of the Rant”: “Plath’s poem [“Daddy”], for all its brilliance, is disproportionate and therefore in both ethical and aesthetic terms at least partly (perhaps usefully) stupid: the emotional energy gained from its awful, obscene conflation is a cheap high. And yet it’s a hell of a rant.” The issue also includes a striking portfolio of artwork by Gaela Erwin, titled “Self-Portraits as Saints,” and a good selection of book reviews. I highly recommend this installment of The Georgia Review, a typically stellar magazine that reaches new heights with its homage to the rant. [The Georgia Review, Gilbert Hall, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-9009. E-mail: garev@uga.edu. Single issue $9. thegeorgiareview.com ] —Laura van den Berg

 

Good Foot

Number 6

2005

Biannual

Quick summary of the use of the term “experimentalism”: Some people impose the label on themselves as a license to do anything, while others get the label applied to them for lack of any better term. Good Foot poetry journal, where it is experimental, sits on the edge of the second camp. Coincidentally, the NASA lab photo scheme is appropriate: Here is poetry that seeks to reach a higher understanding, to communicate with an unknown end. It’s what makes a line like “the aubadal dream urinal of grail-good intentions” fit in place in a poem about the otherwise serious subject of famine. For 76 pages, the poetry never rests. Tom Sheehan, in “When Blue Fails,” shuffles through image pieces that suggest the color (mood?) without naming it (“Wallpaper in a friend’s hallway, / where no light happens”; “This forearm vein a doctor / tries, calls it anfractuous”), while Leslie Hoffman partakes in dissection logic in “Moravia’s Realism”: “If the worm being cut is the worm / of consciousness, we are all increasingly in danger / of awareness (a more specific condition of being / disturbed by reality).” But the best moments in Good Foot aren’t experimental at all. Rynn Williams’ “Chaplin in West Texas” features children overdressed by their elders to protect them from fire ants, and their awkward steps call the Tramp to mind: “stiff legs, / toes turned out, shuffling like encumbered penguins— / what we lacked in bamboo canes and charm we made up / in old bald brooms and lots of eyebrow.” Even if there can never be enough NYC mags, Good Foot surely qualifies as one of the standouts. [Good Foot, Box 681, Murray Hill Station, New York, NY 10156. E-mail: info@goodfootmagazine.com. Single issue $8. www.goodfootmagazine.com] —Christopher Mote

 

Hanging Loose

Issue 86

2005

Biannaul

The front and back covers of Hanging Loose’s 86th issue features paintings by Paula North of fruit that has either been torn in the eating or split open in ripeness. North’s paintings form an appropriate skin for a magazine bursting with fresh voices and ideas. This issue includes four poems dedicated to the memory of editor Ron Schreiber, who passed away in 2004, and careful translations of Ángel Crespo and Henry Parland. Hanging Loose also prints short fiction and poetry by high school students in every issue. In addition to these special features, the magazine’s regular content is worth noting on its own. Gary Lenhart’s “A Note on Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams” reminds us, “It’s hard to exhaust a vein / so mercurial it / slips even as you tap.” One gets the impression that this crisply designed magazine is a welcoming and growing family. Many, though not nearly all, of the contributors have books published by Hanging Loose Press. This in conjunction with the mourning of an editor and the celebration of young people’s involvement in literature convey a deeply caring and responsible outlook. That is not to say that the magazine is homespun or quaint; in fact, it is ambitious, daring, and anything but simple. The magazine’s unique combination of personal grief, inclusive aesthetics, and optimism for the literary future adds up to more than the sum of its parts, packed with so much juice and fertility that the cover might rip wide open. [Hanging Loose Press, 231 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217. E-mail: print225@aol.com. Single issue $9. www.hangingloosepress.com/current.html] —Dan Brady

 

Harpur Palate

Volume 4 Issue 2

Winter 2005

Biannual

The winter edition of Harpur Palate, published by Binghamton University, contains a quality selection of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and a portfolio of artwork by Kara D’Angelo. The winner of The Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry is included in this issue, along with four honorable mentions. The winning poem, Gail Waldstein’s “Prayers for the Light Baby,” is truly remarkable: lyrical, surreal, and structurally innovative. Much of the poetry approaches the realm of the experimental, while the fiction is characterized by sharp, immediate narratives, an aesthetic perhaps best embodied by Lee K. Abbott’s stunning story, “One of Star Wars, One of Doom”: “The slaughter hasn’t started yet. Tango and Whiskey, in fact, have just left bowling class at the Mimbres Valley Lanes off Iron Street. No one know about the Intratec DC 9 or the Savage sawed-off double-barreled 12-gauge. No one knows about Little Boy and FAT MAN, the propane tank bombs set up with egg timers and gallon gasoline cans.” Other standouts included Roy Kesey’s story, “Blind Spot,” and poetry by Kristin Abraham and Dara Cerv. Check out this issue of Harpur Palate for a dose of bold poetry and prose. [Harpur Palate, English Department, Binghamton University, P.O. Box 6000, Binghamton, NY 13902-6000. E-mail: hpfiction@hotmail.com or hppoetry@hotmail.com. Single issue $10. http://harpurpalate.binghamton.edu] Laura van den Berg

 

The MacGuffin

Volume 21 Number 3

Spring 2005

Triannual

The spring issue of The MacGuffin, published by Schoolcraft College, is a rich offering of poetry and prose, the landscapes ranging from the pastoral to the urban, and much of the work possessing a sense of lyrical realism. This edition includes an interview with Conrad Hilberry and the winners of the 9th annual National Poet Hunt—Rebecca Vlasic, Craig Kenworthy, and Rachel Langille—along with a brief commentary by judge Bob Hicok. Rebecca B. Rank’s poem, “Pears in a Porcelain Bowl,” was a definite standout: “If you hold a pear / faint iambs will pulse / a warm beat through your fingers / to its fine grain of skin.” Many of the stories feature first person narrators and strong voices, one of my favorite examples being “Lunch With Jeffery Munt,” by Thomas Boulan: “A woman with a large bust and a fish-like mouth said something stupid about a banana, and Jane laughed loudly, along with the moronic voice inside the television’s box.” Overall, this issue of The MacGuffin is a solid selection of prose and poetry. Worth checking out. [The MacGuffin, Schoolcraft College, 18600 Haggerty Road, Livonia, MI 48152. E-mail: sdolgin@schoolcraft.org. Single issue $9. www.macguffin.org]
Laura van den Berg

 

Natural Bridge

Number 13

Spring 2005

Biannual

In just six years, Natural Bridge has exhibited a remarkable ambition to become a comprehensive journal of national prominence. The upstart magazine from the University of Missouri at St. Louis has retained flavor by featuring a series of guest editors and themes. For Volume 13, it’s Eamonn Wall and the subject of Diaspora as it plays out in the themes of exile, immigration and reinvention throughout the world. There’s no lack of cultural discovery in the fiction, even in tried-and-true storytelling frames: the journey of a Cuban cigar box links three countries and recalls a century past; a troubled homeland reunites three Kenyans who once parted and tried to blaze their separate paths to salvation in the present. In the poetry, the voice of the immigrant resonates, as when Christine Casson writes of “a sanctuary so profuse / as to almost fool the traveler,” touching every ear with an immediately palpable feeling that we are all exiles from some aspect of our past. Overall, however, the magic in this issue is sometimes found wanting. The poetry translation section is a treasure, but it’s far too small. Gerald Dawe’s essay on a changing Europe is informative, and Angie O’Gorman’s jeremiad about Big Oil exploitation in Nigeria is unsettling, but the arguments take too much away from the personal accounts of the immigrants involved. Following the “Diaspora” theme, the “general,” non-Diaspora section, even with strong content, follows like a watered-down encore. I hope I’m not playing the hype card: Natural Bridge is still one of the better lit mags around. I’m just waiting for it to grow into one of the best. [Natural Bridge, University of Missouri - St. Louis, One University Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63121-4499. E-mail: natural@umsl.edu. Single issue $8. www.umsl.edu/~natural/] —Christopher Mote

 

New American Writing

Issue 23

2005

Annual

The 2005 issue of New American Writing, an annual out of California, is dedicated to contemporary poetry and includes two outstanding portfolios of work by Canadian and Vietnamese poets. Much of the poetry has a strong political and experimental edge, and while some pieces were wonderfully rich and provocative, others left me feeling a bit hollow. Pick up the latest installment of New American Writing for the featured Canadian and Vietnamese poets. Todd Swift, who edited the section of Canadian poetry, certainly put to rest poet Michael Schmidt’s assertion that “Canadian poetry is a short street not worth going down” with his stellar selections. I loved Christian Bok’s “Vowels,” the prose poetry of Sina Queyras and Louise Bak, the skewed humor of David McGimpsey’s “Architeuthis,” and Ray Hsu’s “Chamber Music. The portfolio of Vietnamese poetry, pulled from the book-length manuscripts of seventeen leading Vietnamese poets, doesn’t disappoint either. Standouts include Thanh Thao’s “March 12” and the stunning imagery of Nhat Le’s “Myself”: “Everywhere I look is / black / The autumn opens its bra for the sky to suck / its huge imagination.” Both the features make for great reads: eclectic, modern, frequently charged with socio-political commentary, and always infused with superb craft. Strongly recommended for any lover of poetry. [New American Writing, OINK! Press, 369 Molino Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941. Single issue $10. www.newamericanwriting.com] —Laura van den Berg

 

New Zoo Poetry Review

Number 8

2005

Annual

Grief.” “Elegy.” “EMPATHY.” Pillars of loss stand the highest in the titles of this 32-page issue, and the scope, even when they address serious matters, is personal more than political. Louis McKee admits he doesn’t know how to write about the victims of 9/11, which may trigger a few social commentary false alarms, but at least he’s being honest. Nay, the New Zoo Poetry Review doesn’t pull the wool; it doesn’t try to offer anything more than a standard volume of thoughtful verse from seasoned poets. Maybe it’s that quality that led me to enjoy “At Sea,” a simple elegy by Donna Pucciani for a drowned fisherman, over the other more conspicuous titles. Elsewhere, James Doyle reinvents the streets of “Downtown” and with elaborate metaphors: “Like any hunter, I used the full moon / for a desk laptop. I had a midterm coming up / on trapping stray cigarettes or rats for fun and profit.” And there’s no harm in some lexicon-savvy pieces where the personal further blends with the technical. For Marlys West, “A Little Etymology” goes a long way: “Ficus, Fidem, Filum, Finis. Roughly, the pretty / Fig tree, ever faithful, bid farewell to the threads of its blanket.” This range is New Zoo’s strength, and for a break at the café it does the trick. [New Zoo Poetry Review, P.O.
Box 36760, Richmond, VA 23235. E-mail: newzoopoet@aol.com. Single issue $5. www.members.aol.com/newzoopoet/] —Christopher Mote

 

PEN America

Issue 6 Volume 3

2005

Biannual

You won’t find a lot of new voices in this well-known journal, but you will find work by the stellar writers of the age, including Salman Rushdie, Edwidge Danticat, Bill Clinton and Angela Carter. The theme of this issue is “Metamorphoses,” and the fiction, memoir, poetry, and “dialogues” between writers discuss all forms of transformation, from translation to transmogrification. Short reflections, called “Tributes,” on Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Pablo Nerudo illustrate the influence these writers still have on writing, politics, and modern thinking. My favorite pieces were “Cinderella at Big Sur,” a poem by Yusef Komunyakaa, and Matthea Harvey’s hilarious short prose piece, “Once Upon a Time: A Genre Fable.” Here’s an except from the beginning of Harvey’s piece:

“That little Narrative is so adorable,” said Neighbor Lady One to the baby’s proud Mama & indeed she was, nestled there in her pram like a love scene in between pages of description. Papa called her his bella novella, lifted her over his head & cried, “subtext, subtext!”

Also fantastic (and dryly funny) was a short story by Angela Carter called “Werewolf,” a new take on the Red Riding Hood fable. This is a must-read issue of an established and venerated literary magazine. [PEN America, c/o PEN American Center, 568 Broadway, Suite 401, New York, NY 10012. E-mail: journal@pen.org. Single issue $10. www.pen.org/journal] —Jeannine Hall Gailey

 

Pleiades

Volume 25 Number 2

2005

Biannual

Eclectic, substantial, and invigorating, Pleiades presents an array of poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews in a handsome, glossy package. The fiction and poetry tend to be a bit more experimental than, say, Shenandoah or Prairie Schooner, but I felt that the work made an effort to connect with rather than befuddle the reader. For example, Lara Glenum’s poem “In the Gynecological Museum” may seem at first a bunch of disconnected utterances, but taken together, present a disturbing whole, an addled glimpse at the horror of the women whose anatomy has been in the hands of untrusted but powerful men: “How I wish the lacy valentine had not been flocked out in mongoose / pelt! I’d never have come. I rode in on a horse named // Exhibit A. The doctor inoculated me against pink-eyed rabbits. A / key turned in my petticoats. “Your hair needs cutting,” he said, // settling me into stirrups… / Off to tea-time, I muttered, spitting out history like a terrible pill.” Mark Halliday’s tongue-in-cheek take on theory-heavy post-avant-garde essay writing, “Vexing Praxis/Hocus Hexus,” presents us with a hilarious send-up of the genre, and then, in a more serious bent, later on in the issue he takes on the almost universal admiration of James Tate and the book On James Tate, a collection of essays on his writing, in “The Wise Guy in the Back Row.” The adversarial yet entertaining essay that challenges readers to think about why they admire the Pulitzer-winning poet. The shorter reviews in this issue on writers from Rachel Dacus to Heidi Lynn Staples to Ilya Kaminsky are well-written and thought-provoking. [Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing, Department of English, Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, MO 64093. E-mail: Pleiades@cmsu1.cmsu.edu. Single issue $5. www.cmsu.edu/englphil/pleiades/] —Jeannine Hall Gailey

 

Potomac Review

Number 39

Spring/Summer 2005

Biannual

Anyone who savors an against-odds publishing story should advance straight to the latest Potomac Review and read founding editor Eli Flam’s commemorative history, “Ten, Eleven—Who’s Counting?” One can count on a magazine like PR to be self-effacing about anniversaries (is 1994 that far away already?). It has expanded to over 200 pages and broadened its parameters without getting caught up in flashiness or pretense, remaining dedicated to the arts of the local D.C. community. The literature and the artwork actually complement each other, and in the case of the Portraits of Life series on Holocaust survivors, no words are necessary. In her essay on mental illness, Anita Darcel Taylor tries to come to terms with the suicide of an esteemed poet and friend. “Mixed mania is an episode in terror,” she writes, “an abundant supply of kindling that keeps the flames high and crackling red-blue hot. Everything burns in its path—reason, love, faith.” Bravely addressing the conventional wisdom that equates artistry and genius with madness, Taylor compensates grief with new discovery. Throughout PR, you can grasp writers of all stripes and backgrounds (there are a few lawyers and doctors in the mix) who have messages and tell them honestly. Not that everything’s perfect. Could PR do without so many mother-dying-of-cancer stories? Probably. Although the fiction is mostly fuel without fire, a few stories are amusing in concept. Susan Frith’s “The Visitor” is a vignette of academic life in a college town as seen by a ten-year-old boy, and Tom Navratil’s “Playing Arlington” tries to turn the National Cemetery into a golf course, gradually creeping around its main subject before closing in. [Potomac Review, Montgomery College, The Paul Peck Humanities Institute, The Arts Institute, 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, MD 20850.. E-mail: judith.gaines@montgomerycollege.edu. Single issue $10. www.montgomerycollege.edu/potomacreview/] —Christopher Mote

 

Rock & Sling

A Journal of Literature, Art, and Faith

Volume 1 Issue 1

Fall 2004

Biannual

Rock & Sling is not what you might expect of a journal with “Faith” in its subtitle, though it certainly addresses “Faith” with a capital “F.” What you’ll find in its glossy pages is spiritually centered, self-examining poetry and prose that broadly define faith and God and man’s relationship with both. The first issue delivers ample poetry, crafted fiction, and thought-provoking interviews and commentaries. Poet Li-Young Lee is the magazine’s first interlocutor, and the result is a rambling, shimmering, and expansive conversation. There are generous selections from featured poets, including Peter Pereira and Michael Bonacci. Pereira’s “The Judas Tree,” an “Editor’s Pick,” explores the motivations of Judas Iscariot in elegiac and humanizing terms. Laurie Lamon’s three imagist poems blur the line between the romantic and the sacred. The magazine is full of surprises and great writing. Perhaps the introductory essay, “Postmodern Christianity: Not an Oxymoron,” explains it best: “We intend to explore Christian faith for new ways of thinking about the world we live in as well as the Divine. Some scholars claim God continues to reveal Himself over time. We believe in a God who still has a few aces up His sleeve.” If Rock & Sling’s first issue is any indication, so do the editors. This promising new journal can be enjoyed on multiple levels by anyone with an open and hungry mind. [Rock & Sling Press, P.O. Box 30865, Spokane, WA 99223. E-mail: editors@rockandsling.org. Single issue $10. www.rockandsling.org/contents.htm] —Dan Brady

 

Salamander

Volume 10 Number 2

2005

Biannual

Salamander, a slim, attractive volume of prose and poetry, makes for an enjoyable and rewarding read. The contributors are a mix of notable writers, like poets Gail Mazur and Lola Haskins, and newer names. The writing is regionally eclectic, ranging from the rural south to New England to the Midwest. I particularly enjoyed the poetry of Lisa Beskin, “On the Cusp of Spring,” Sima Rabinowitz, “Notes to my Biographer from Rosalind Franklin,” a rich meditation on the famous scientist, and Kasey Jueds’s lyrical “To Swim”: “Blue more blue and the quiet / more quiet, where I could be / the anhingas I’d seen, floating / there & gone & there.” Other standouts include “The House of Boys,” a short story by Sandra Shea, and Tehila Lieberman’s compelling nonfiction piece, “Border Crossing”: “There is a tank in my living room. It stands about three feet long and one foot tall and its turret holds a solider who carefully aims his gun at my piano.” Pick up this edition of Salamander for a stimulating, eclectic selection of fiction, poetry, and memoir, for work that will linger in your mind long after you finish the magazine. [Salamander, Suffolk University, English Department, 41 Temple Street, Boston, MA 02114-4280. Single issue $7. http://www.salamandermag.org] —Laura van den Berg

 

Sleeping Fish

Number 0.75

2005

Now this is some fun good dope stuff. An anarchistic uber-zine with a dead-serious mission, Sleeping Fish resembles the kind of underground text that college kids flaunt around to look hip, and it may serve no better purpose. But there is method to this madness. In issue 0.75, a halfway step towards the “destination” of number 1 after issue 0.50 (meaning 0.875 would be the next in volume), editor Derek White sees “new possibilities for visual poetry and the exploration of new valiances of signification,” including “the thinking of language on terms entirely foreign to us.” Poetic prose ramblings and fragments, textual art, exhaustive imagist dictionary entries and all-inclusive logic, not to mention a healthy obsession with math—is that a fish or an infinity sign on the cover?—all tingle the eyes and ears even when they don’t register in the brain. Consider James Wagner’s “auralgraphic” poetry: “A scope bored a moon finished, for losing and for losing. / A prior ecto-question nosed under a raconteur. / Inserted umber. Auto-mart. Cervical counting.” Peter Conners’ rambling on performance art is more coherent, but no slower. Among other things, he pledges, “I will not reward a day-glow parade of midget pimps and whores forming a conga-line down my street! And besides, just because you’re a midget doesn’t automatically make you a performance artist, now does it?” There’s even room for a spotlight on visual poetry in Mexico, proving that no medium, or culture, is out of the equation. With such dynamic energy, there’s a good chance that by issue 0.96875 Sleeping Fish will have rendered itself obsolete. [Derek White, 35 Essex St. #7B, New York, NY 10002. E-mail: white@sleepingfish.net. Single issue $11. www.sleepingfish.net] —Christopher Mote

 

Wicked Alice Poetry Journal

2005

Annual

Fresh and provocative, the yearly saddle-stitched print version of the online journal Wicked Alice continues to be fun to read and a good place to discover younger, third-wave-feminist poets. Fans of writers like Catherine Daly and Simone Muench will find their work here. I particularly enjoyed “My Sister’s Tattoos” by Teresa Boyar for its whimsical exploration of her sister’s self-determination through ink: “I’m jealous of this skin, the way / it refuses to wait quietly for age or accident… / she’s filling it in as she goes along, / this map that her body is becoming, / its wrath of dolphins corralling / her navel, its blue explosions, its flowers / that peel open in a wild storm of ink.” Also exceptional were Jenny Sadre-Orafai’s “Playing Cards,” about the awkward transitions of a woman’s honeymoon and what she left behind, and “In the Black Widow’s Kitchen” by Arlene Ang. As more online journals offer print versions, the hope is that the two mediums—internet and print—will complement each other. I hope this innovation will continue to allow the editor, Kristy Bowen, to bring exciting new work about women’s lives to the attention of readers. [Wicked Alice. E-mail: wickedalicepoetry@lycos.com. Single issue $5. www.sundress.net/wickedalice/] —Jeannine Hall Gailey


Reviewers - Contributors Notes

NewPages Literary Magazine Stand Archives

October 2005
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December 2004
November 2004
 

Cumulative Index of Lit Mags Reviewed