In the first issue of Fifth Wednesday Journal, publisher and editor Vern Miller provides a brief explanation for the origin and purpose of creating this new literary magazine. Established as an extension of a group of “literary pilgrims,” known as the Fifth Wednesday Writers, Fifth Wednesday Journal’s primary purpose is to reflect “a wide spectrum of styles,” and will therefore institute a rotating series of guest editors who will have “maximum latitude” in their editorial choices. The journal hopes to encourage both well established and new writers by reading submissions “blind.”
I was thoroughly encouraged by Miller’s introduction and was therefore absolutely determined to love Fifth Wednesday Journal, but the truth is, it took me awhile to find a submission I particularly liked. The journal is huge, a total of 185 pages, including one interview, approximately 29 poems, 13 short stories, 2 nonfiction compositions, and 1 very brief photo essay.
Although all of the submissions were solid and well rendered, they lacked that particular edge I tend to prefer. The fiction submissions, in particular, struck me as mildly sentimental, slightly naïve, absent of sharp edges and cutting depth. But then, midway through, I landed on Daniel Borzutzky’s “Aegean Sestina,” and finally hit solid ground. Although I am admittedly an incurable poetic idiot, I have an amateur’s affection for a smooth sestina, one that subtly reminds me of its repetitions but refuses to overwhelm me with repetitive monotony. Likewise, Patricia Spears Jones’s poem “Beuys and the Blonde,” was definitely worth multiple reads.
Further on, I was swept away by the two nonfiction submissions which included Chiquita Mullins Lee’s piece titled “Neck Bone,” and Molly McNett’s “The Lifeguard.” And finally, in the final third of the Journal, I loved Michael Spring’s short story “Night Boat.”
In short, Fifth Wednesday Journal fulfills its primary purpose and provides a wide range of literary styles. It is an admirable publication which is sure to suit literary tastes of all types. I look forward to future issues of Fifth Wednesday Journal which, I hope, will continue to reflect its stated mission.