Established back in 1948, the tiny literary magazine known as The Carolina Quarterly is a model of humility: a pamphlet-style book not even a hundred pages long, yet filled with writing of such distinction that the reader is provoked to the kind of loving pondering elicited by publications of the snazzier variety. After careening straight through this winter issue, I found myself turning it over and over in my hands in wonder. Nanci Kincaid’s Polaroid-style novel excerpt, “First I Shoot You, Then You Shoot Me,” chronicles the humiliating inaugural moments of ten women entering a state prison, and in four brief, laconic pages manages to pack a wallop equal to that of a great documentary film: “I haven’t even gotten inside the prison and locked away, but already I’m thinking dangerous thoughts like the dangerous person they believe I am.” Utterly different but wonderful is Kevin Wilson’s second-person narrative, “The Choir Director Affair (The Baby’s Teeth),” about a man helplessly endeared to his lecherous friend’s baby, which has sprung from the womb with a full set of pearly-whites. The poetry selections include fine metrical compositions by Chris Childers and Robert West. This is a journal whose value far exceeds the subscription cost. Read it in one sitting and find your enamorment of great literary writing well met.