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  • Issue Number Number 10
  • Published Date Winter 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In the inaugural print edition of Able Muse, Marilyn N. Taylor's essay on the recent rise of semi-formal poetry, mentions “the poetry wars” between “the shaggy free-verse stalwarts vs. the tweedy New Formalists.” It’s nice to see that the new New Formalist critics published in Able Muse definitely do not write in a tweedy style, as evidenced by Taylor’s piece and Julie Stoner’s review of new books by Maxime Kumin and Carrie Jewell, which begins “After the Revival…reminds me of an after-school snack. I enjoyed the combination of salt and crunch and grease and hellfire and cheese, even if I had to overcome the occasional wave of nausea. (I’m still referring to the book.)”
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  • Issue Number Number 12
  • Published Date Winter 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Although it’s slightly twee, David J. Rothman’s Able Muse conversation with poet David Mason exemplifies the sort of experimentation that makes the magazine well worth reading. Rothman plays with the interview format by occasionally posing questions in poetry, wondering why “prose is what we have to use when we / Decide to have a conversation on / Why we write verse?”
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  • Issue Number Volume 20
  • Published Date Winter 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The vicissitudes of pain, a stranger who won’t leave, a talking hole in a shoe. These are just a few of the poetry plot lines in the Winter 2015 issue of Able Muse which individualizes itself by publishing work “with a focus on metrical and formal poetry.”
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  • Issue Number Number 16
  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
While poetry and short story collections provide more in-depth exposure to the vision of a single writer, they don’t offer the same opportunity to unexpectedly stumble onto your next obsession like a good journal can. Able Muse, with its eclectic blend of fiction, essays, book reviews, art portfolios, artist interviews, as well as its focus on metrical poetry, provides readers with a bevy of opportunities to do just that. In fact, Able Muse even manages to offer a bit of an extended look at the work and processes of a featured writer and artist in each edition. This issue features poet Jehanne Dubrow and photographer Peter Svensson.
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  • Issue Number Volume 47
  • Published Date 2010
ABRAXAS describes itself as an “irregular, independent poetry magazine” from Wisconsin and introduces readers to contemporary writers of lyrical poetry.
  • Subtitle New European Writing
  • Published Date 2004
"While I was reading your poems, my tailbone went numb many times. I'm afraid, my dear friend, that you're a poet and nothing can be done about it. I'm expressing my immense sympathy." That's a quote from Zbigniew Herbert in a letter to poet Janusz Szuber which he reads, at her request, to interviewer/translator Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough. Tailbone numbing writing is a perfect description of the superb work collected in Absinthe. A dozen poets and fiction writers from 11 countries appear here in expert translations (with the exception of poems by the British poet Fiona Sampson whose work, obviously, appears in the original English). What distinguishes this journal overall is that there is nothing occasional here, not a single piece that seems remotely casual in intent or outcome. What numbs the tailbone is not merely the exquisite control demonstrated by each of these authors, but the overwhelming sense of responsibility this control suggests—every word, no, every syllable, counts in poetry and prose alike. While there is much variety in the subject matter treated and the style of the pieces collected here, what they have in common is a particular seriousness or authority that seems, to put it bluntly, unmistakably not-American. These are accomplished and successful artists, widely published and recognized in their own languages and countries. They deserve a wide and grateful audience in English, as well.
  • Subtitle New European Writing
  • Published Date 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This is an attractive journal with the death images one would expect of the title on the slick cover. Nevertheless, Absinthe 4's prose and poetry present fresh and unfamiliar prose rhythms from the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, and Turkey.
  • Subtitle New European Writing
  • Published Date 2006
  • Publication Cycle Annual
In a recent New Yorker article, Milan Kundera charted the genealogy of some of the most important writers of the last five centuries by tracing a map of "influences" that criss-crossed continents, hemispheres, and oceans. In doing so, he made a case for the importance of translation, which allows literature to jump outside of the "provincial" context of the country (and language) in which it was written, and resituate itself in the vastly more important "supranational territory of art." Absinthe – a journal that dedicates itself to publishing translations of "new European writing" – is a small but wonderful island in that territory. Some of the pieces (from writers working in Greek, Italian, Spanish, Polish, and a slate of other European languages) are occasionally tinged with a tone of political irony that struck me as clichéd. Although these writers are clearly "correct," I found their seemingly rote anger disturbing. 
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  • Issue Number Number 13
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Absinthe 13, “Spotlight on Romania,” opens with an essay by Carmen Musat, editor-in-chief of the Romanian cultural weekly Observator Cultural, as translated by Jean Harris. Musat offers a brief overview of Romanian literature in recent decades, reminding us that until fairly recently Romanian writers had little freedom to write what they needed or wanted and expressing optimism about the future of Romanian literature.
  • Subtitle New European Writing
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  • Issue Number Number 18
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Published out of Farmington Hills, Michigan, Absinthe identifies its contributors with the help of more than 40 editorial advisors, including Aleksandar Hemon, Adam J. Sorkin, and Sonja Lehner. These advisors, themselves writers and translators, along with Absinthe’s editors, have selected for this issue a preponderance of Eastern European works, including contributions from Romania, Moldova, the Czech Republic, and Croatia, as well as Spain, France, and Scandinavia.
  • Issue Number Issue 27
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
In Abyss & Apex, the reader is transported to speculative worlds that have an air of the suspense thriller movie or the ideas prevalent in the science fiction genre. Whether it is short fiction, flash fiction, poetry or haiku (or as they call it, the “Short Form Set) you will encounter the mysterious, the strange and the unknown until your curiosity wears out or is satiated and must wait until the next issue.
With this issue, ABZ becomes a biennial journal rather than an annual. It’s a shame it will come out less often, because the poems here arise out of deep feeling, place, and lived experience. They are about things that matter. No wonder the volume is dedicated to the memory of Lucille Clifton “who always knew how to make poetry even when it hurt.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The stories in Adanna are not only for women and about women, but they are also all written by women, each illustrating in some way, either directly or indirectly, what it means to be female.
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  • Issue Number Number 95
  • Published Date May/June 2011
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly

This issue of Adbusters, subtitled POST—with an Arabic word insertion—WEST, is at first glance an irreverent avant-garde (the publishers probably think using avant-garde is passé) mish-mash of advertisements, graphics, photographs, art, essays, book excerpts, observations, and poetry about economics, capitalism, politics, jihad, revolution, militarism, overpopulation, aquaculture, genetic modification, anarchy, and you name it.

  • Issue Number Volume 8 Number 1
  • Published Date Summer 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
A fascinating feature of this online magazine is that each issue is published “as it comes together,” right before your web-weary eyes. It is a double treat to witness the process as some of the finest poetry, fiction, and art available are assembled; however, that pleasure doubles a reviewer’s troubles. The “emerging” Fall issue waits while I offer a response to the summer issue.
  • Issue Number Volume 37, Numbers 2-3
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2003
I remember reading about the controversy over Amiri Baraka’s poem, “Somebody Blew Up America,” written and performed after 9-11 and after Baraka’s appointment as poet laureate of New Jersey. One line in the poem— “Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers / to stay home that day”—was condemned as anti-Semitic and led, ultimately, to Baraka’s sacking as poet laureate. In this issue, African American Review explores not only that incident (and whether it is legitimate to condemn Baraka as anti-Semitic), but they publish several controversial Baraka poems, an interview with Baraka, and essays covering the range of Baraka’s career as a poet and radical. Among the most notable poems, “Somebody Blew Up America” and “The McVouty Bible,” both showcasing Baraka’s anger and politics. My favorite essay was “Sometimes Funny, But Most Times Deadly Serious: Amiri Baraka as Political Satirist” by Jiton Sharmayne Davidson, which explores the history of Baraka’s satire, from his earliest, humorous attempts to his latest jabs at former New York Mayor Giuliani. [African American Review, Saint Louis University, Shannon Hall 119, 220 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103-2007. E-mail: . Single issue $12. http://aar.slu.edu/] - JP
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Issue 1
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Although, with most magazines, I’m drawn in mostly to the prose (as a personal reading preference), Agave’s first issue held such strong poetry that I couldn’t help moving from one to the next, eager to see what the next poem had to offer.
This eclectic and entertaining collection of full-color art work, poetry, short fiction and memoir provides space for highly ironic voices to mingle with the highly sincere. The eccentrically goofy tale of cons gone wrong, “That Kind of Nonsense” by Patrick Tobin, was a highlight, as were the poetry translations, including Robert Pinsky’s translation of Anna Akhmatova’s poem “The Summer Garden” and Taylor Stoehr’s translation of Li Po’s “Fighting South of the Wall.” Another short story, “Heathens,” by Alden Jones, describes the complicated relationships between a teacher, one of her young female students, and a church group teen on a mission trip in Costa Rica. The fascinating (and weirdly beautiful) photographs of decaying books by Rosamond Purcell lend irony to the reading experience.
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  • Issue Number Number 59
  • Published Date 2004
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
First, the time has come with this magazine to praise Sven Birkerts as an editor. He’s a ferociously intelligent author (most recently of My Sky Blue Trades), and he took the helm of Agni three issues ago, initiating his run with what was one of the single best printed journals of last year, Agni 57.
Yes, after sixty issues, AGNI is still going strong, but more importantly it’s still finding new ways to reinvent itself. The theme here is “reading at the limit,” inspired by Katherine Jackson’s rendering of written text into “liminal” (i.e. at the surface) visual art. If you want to test the limits at the reading level, there’s no going wrong with Robert Olen Butler’s “four pieces of Severance,” a group of concept sketches best defined as “beheading monologues” that you’ll have to read for yourself to truly appreciate. Among the poetry, I enjoyed the account of innocence lost in Richard Hoffman’s “Gold Star Road”: “Ignorant // as goldfish in a plastic bag, / as mayflies mistaking the road for the river, / we assured one another, // keeping up our spirits / as we had long been taught.” The fiction has something for everyone, but the nonfiction has the most room to challenge our notions of limits and categorization. Joshua Harmon, in “The Annotated Mix-Tape,” weaves an eclectic music review of the Scud Mountain Boys’ “Massachusetts” with his own memories of his native Bay State. I was quite amused by his treatment of my native Pennsylvania as foreign to his New England sensibilities. (Full disclosure: Harmon taught at Bucknell University while I was a student there.) Needless to say, AGNI is strangely exotic to my own eyes; it knows how to skew the current times while demanding to be re-read through the backdrop of future ages. And even when rereading, as Jackson says, “aren’t we always reading everything for the first time?”
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  • Issue Number Number 61
  • Published Date 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Perhaps the best editors are prescient, equipped with a literary sixth sense that allows them to provide readers with apt reflections at the right moment. So it was that I found myself clipping an article on the necessity of craft in memoir (as opposed to mere emotional regurgitation) by the current editor of AGNI, Sven Birkerts, out of a recent issue of Poets & Writers even as I was reading it, so exactly did it articulate thoughts I’d been having. A similar sensation attended my reading of an essay by AGNI’s founding editor, Askold Melnyczuk, in the current issue of the magazine. Seventy pages earlier, I’d been reading Ben Miller’s “Romancing the Dankerts” and reflecting on what it was about his prose that made it dense and stunningly lyric, lush in a way that made me want to taste it (and all this in piece ostensibly about trash and trashy neighbors who object to the trash!). And then there was Melnyczuk, ruminating on the same question: “I’m curious about why certain sentences read quickly, why others force us to slow down...” and quoting Susan Sontag: “Every style is a means of insisting on something.” I must insist that editors of this ilk are the reason AGNI consistently dazzles. Volume 61 is no different; I starred so many pieces as worth mentioning that I can’t mention them all. Birkerts may begin this issue by lamenting that with Sontag’s death, he lost his “ideal reader,” the person he felt he was editing for, even if she’d never seen a copy of the magazine, but I have a feeling that even without her guiding presence, AGNI will continue to deliver what readers are looking for–even if they don’t know it yet.
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  • Issue Number Number 64
  • Published Date 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Call AGNI brain food. This issue is full of literature that is not meant for mere entertainment; it’s meant to be digested. “215. Philosophy is to the intellect what art is to the imagination; philosophy is—and ought to be a kind of art.” Parallels can be drawn to Issue 63; in addition to the art of story, this journal uses words to exalt all art. Vietnam and other wars are referenced in several pieces, and traditional themes like parents’ deaths are juxtaposed with a Slovenian parable, reservation blues and renderings of bats and witchcraft. The artistic references, especially in A.P. Miller’s “Blessing the New Moon” can be daunting more than esoteric—the contributors imbue so much passion for art that it never waxes on artistic pretension. Not art for art’s sake—art for sustenance and at over 250 pages it’s quite a helping. Paul Eggers’s “Monsieur le Genius” is, for instance, about a chess player who initially fools Burundi officials into believing him to be a master chess player. The insistence of the official to maintain the comic masquerade is undercut by the Hutu-Tutsi war that is spilling over the border from Rwanda.
  • Issue Number Number 68
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Editor Sven Birkerts begins this issue of AGNI with “The Inadvertent Eye,” an interesting essay about Robert Frank, an essential American photographer. Those who carefully consider decades-old photographs will see much more than a simple collection of long-dead people in a long-gone landscape. To prove that Frank is a “master of moody vacancy more than of the crowded frame,” Birkerts does a strikingly close reading of a powerful photograph.
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  • Issue Number Number 70
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
From artist Joomi Chung’s colorful gouache on clayboard “Scapes” and her intricate ink drawings, to the many insightful personal tributes to the late painter Michael Mazur, Agni’s strength is, as always, distinctive and authentic voices and visions.
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  • Issue Number Number 74
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This stellar, solemn issue of Agni begins with Sven Birkerts’s “The Golden Book,” a lament about certain things that have been lost in time, and certain things that can be rediscovered through writing, photography, and books. At the forefront of what has been lost, he implies, is the bookstore—in this case, a Borders that provided him with his first post-college job in Michigan. What can be gained from reading and looking at books is a sense of immersion, that each time one returns to an image, line, or story, there is more to be sensed, more meaning to be wrung out of it.
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  • Issue Number Number 76
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
You know you should have bought a subscription to a magazine when you learn, one issue too late, that the editors were going to host a retrospective on Robert Lowell (AGNI 75). Or when, casually perusing the issue at hand, you discover apparitions of Ray Bradbury (see David Huddle’s piece), Cynthia Ozick (see Tamas Dobozy channel Harper’s The Bloodline of the Alkanas), and Allegra Goodman (see Wendy Rawlings’s ending channeling La Vita Nuova). The perceptible echo from these influences emerges from talented writers in their own right. And that’s just the fiction.
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  • Issue Number Number 79
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Because Agni 79 begins with an editor’s note titled “Ten Broad Swipes at the Problem of Structure in the Essay (and Perhaps Other Genres as Well),” I first turned to the essays collected in the issue to see how they managed to meet Sven Birkerts’s argument for the arbitrariness of chronological structure. “As we all know,” Birkerts writes, "there is a huge difference between a narration that unfolds an experience in sequence (as they say in the movies, when the witness is being questioned, “Just start at the beginning”)..."
  • Issue Number Number 3
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Issue #3 of the Agriculture Reader has a nice feel to it, literally. For one thing there’s something particularly satisfying about the paper it is printed on; it somehow feels thin without seeming fragile; somehow gives the entire issue a nice flexibility, somehow lends itself to a comfortable back pocket curl. Coming in at 103 pages, if you count the three final lined pages tagged on for taking “notes,” this issue is the perfect size for summer reading, for savoring, for holding up in a sun shielding position while swinging to and fro on a hammock.
  • Issue Number Volume 21 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date Fall & Winter 2003
This issue commences with a wonderful essay by Jane Hirshfield on the nature of language, “Language Wakes Up in the Morning: A Meander Toward Writing,” which playfully begins by describing a personified language as it goes about its day. Guest poetry editor for this issue, Michael Ryan, chose a variety of poems about loss, from a litany of everyday lost things in a little girl’s life (“My Daughter’s Sadness, a Casual Analysis”), to a mournful meditation on the brief lifespan of a hummingbird (“Anna’s Hummingbird”), to the effects of the death of a loved one (“After Your Death,” “Poem for After Peter Dies”). The art work in this issue, Richard J. Murphy’s series of black and white photographs titled “Cancer Journal,” also chronicles loss in the photo essay that movingly portrays a woman’s struggle and eventual death from breast cancer. The work throughout the issue is full of arresting images and heartbreaking moments, especially “Autobiographical Raw Material Unsuitable for the Mining of Fiction,” the piece by Charles Yu about a young man’s relationship to his mother. 
  • Issue Number Volume 22 Numbers 3 & 4
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of AQR devotes 80 pages of photo-essay to: "Chechnya: A Decade of War," by Heidi Bradner. "A Chechen woman holds photographs of her missing sons [. . .]." For those not au courant, Stalin deported the Chechen nation to this desolate area during World War IIDeborah A. Lott's "Fifteen," a moving account of her father's legacy of insanity provides this remarkable insight: "That I made the mistake of aligning myself with the parent who was crazy because I confused his intensity with love."
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  • Issue Number Volume 28 Numbers 3 & 4
  • Published Date Fall & Winter 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
I believe (but I might be convinced otherwise) that my favorite piece in this issue of the Alaska Quarterly Review is Charles Wyatt’s “An Accidental Dictionary”—a listing of strange, delicious, and mostly obsolete words taken from three late-twentieth-century specialty word-books. “Bomolluck: . . . not a thing in the night, but what you fear in the night. It can sit on your chest.” “Kist: a basket for the baby Moses or Noah’s ark or Queequeg’s coffin, or the cup of the sea, or the stinging stars pursuing . . . and the heavens see only fog, neither rising nor falling. Tuned. All attention. Will.” “Gardyloo: . . . there is no truth in truth and I have lost my cats.” To word lovers like me, these changeling glomerations of sound are glorious, and Wyatt’s explanations are grand spills of imagery. I can’t resist the temptation to use them to talk about the rest of the issue.
  • Issue Number Volume 24 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date Spring & Summer 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Alaska Quarterly Review is approaching its 25th anniversary, which alone attests to its position among the top literary magazines in the nation. Simply opening to the first piece in this issue, Samuel Ligon’s story “Drift and Swerve,” readers will learn (or relearn) that AQR surviving and thriving for a quarter-century is certainly no surprise. Ligon’s story takes the reader on a ride-along where a drunk driver may not be so dangerous when a force of nature, like a normal – if slightly dysfunctional family of four (again, pretty much normal), happens to share the same stretch of highway. Mike Harvkey’s “One Owner, Part II: Won’t Last” is a haunting story of a man-on-the-run who stumbles untouched in the wake of a mysterious plague, finally settling with a family in Mexico. Eventually, he learns that he has not escaped, he cannot; he must face the past that hounds him and account for what he has done. Harvkey renders the protagonist’s consciousness with fresh language, brilliantly weaving the story’s haunting, hallucinatory atmosphere.
  • Issue Number Volume 25 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of Alaska Quarterly Review is nice and thick and full of great writing. Of the fiction, my favorite story was “B & B” by Celeste Ng, a coming of age tale featuring a main character who suffers from pica, the urge to eat things the rest of us don’t consider food. I will never look at chalk in the same way again. I also enjoyed Shao Wang’s story, “One Voted No,” a melancholy piece about an aging Chinese widow whose life is disrupted when the town must elect a mayor.
  • Issue Number Volume 26 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date Spring & Summer 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
“Late morning, and my sister and I have arrived,” begins Nancy Lord’s essay, “About a Moment,” the first line in the journal, an inviting opening, and a promise of not only what is to come in Lord’s piece – beautiful writing about a difficult subject, a visit to parents in a nursing home – but a great start to an issue that is replete with great starts (and great finishes). The other three essays in the issue begin with equally original and inviting leads (work by Timothy Irish Watt, John Gamel, and Kim van Alkemade).
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  • Issue Number Volume 27 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Guest editor Amy Hempel selected the work of 21 writers for the issue’s special “Innovative Fiction” focus. She looked for work that was “new,” but also new to the author (poets writing fiction; fiction writers experimenting with memoir forms). And she sought work “that was visceral and visual, that joins nerve and insight, that is darkly funny, that does not back away from compassion…and that amplifies the possibilities of what a story can be.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 29 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Given my interests, while there is much to be said for the literary content of this publication, the focus on this review will be on the photography in this thirtieth anniversary issue: a special section consisting of 141 stunning glossy pages of photographs and brief essays commemorating “Liberty and Justice (For All): A Global Photo Mosaic.” From guest editor Benjamin J. Spatz’s introduction to the project:
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  • Issue Number Volume 30 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date Spring & Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Alaska Quarterly Review (AQR) is “a journal devoted to contemporary literary art.” This double issue is indeed artful, and reading through the selections is like wandering through a museum one has loved since childhood, from school trips through failed first dates and on into the future of adult wanderings, each stage of life a visitation filled with misgivings, missteps, and misunderstanding.
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  • Issue Number Volume 31 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date Spring & Summer 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Good grief, literally. Don’t let the vibrancy of those yellow umbrellas on the cover lull you into a state of blissful aesthetic appreciation; a hard rain’s gonna fall. The short stories, nonfiction, and poetry in the Alaska Quarterly Review’s (AQR) latest issue are soaked with serious consequence, with writers delving into the subjects of madness, financial distress, war, disease, alcoholism, and plain old existential funk. Only the writers’ leavening of such heavy subject matter with great humor, insight, and tart individuality kept me from developing a low-grade Zoloft habit while making my way through the 300-plus pages of this literary squall.
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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 33 Numbers 3 & 4
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2017
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

Regular readers of the Alaska Quarterly Review should already know that this journal rarely disappoints. This issue of the review meets the highest of expectations as it has set the bar in so many issues at an altitude that allows the inclusion of veteran writers as well as those writers only just setting out on their professional journeys. This issue contains works that may set the standards for contemporary literature even higher still.

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  • Issue Number Number 21
  • Published Date Spring 2010
This slim issue moves its poetry seamlessly from religion to nature to philosophy. Albatross is a small, chapbook-like magazine, stapled together in the center, featuring only poetry. On the inside of the front cover is a quote from Samuel Taylor Coleridge,
  • Issue Number Number 4
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual

“Poetry on tap,” is this journal’s tagline. But who needs booze when there are poets like Jane Mead? I was thrilled to find her here as I have loved her work since her first (watery, in fact) book, and she did not disappoint in “Dust and Rumble”:

  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Upon entering the first page of Alice Blue you encounter tiny square shaped images of odd looking stuffed animals that, when touched with clicking mouse, turns into a word denoting each distinctive section of their website. With issue number 8 of Alice Blue you are reminded of E.E. Cummings at his surrealist best with a healthy swath of absurdist tendencies incorporated into a mix of short prose pieces and poems ranging from experiments in form, language or both.
  • Subtitle The Literature of Food
  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Don't read Alimentum when you're hungry! On the second thought, read it when you're very hungry—it will satisfy your appetite for good writing, as well as for good food (not to mention spirits). I was reading Sophie Helen Menin's personal essay, "First Growth—An Essay on Love and Wine" on the bus and nearly leaped off, several blocks before my stop, when we passed a wine shop. Her essay about the wines her husband collects, and which they both savor, had me nearly desperate for a bottle of Barolo. Who knew it was possible to write such mouth watering fiction, or scrumptious poetry, or savory essays as the many appetizing works here by Michele Battiste, Patsy Anne Bickerstaff, and Jehanne Dubrow. Alimentum is more than luscious descriptions of great meals and the emotions they inspire, more than a whiff of fine coffee. 
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  • Issue Number Issue 13
  • Published Date December 2013
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online
Alimentum, a food journal, transitioned a little more than a year ago from a print biannual publication to an online monthly. Because it is now more frequent, it is unfortunately a bit smaller. There is one piece for each of the sections each month: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, featurettes, book reviews, recipe poems, eat and greet, art gallery, jukebox, food blog favs, and news.
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  • Issue Number Issue 12
  • Published Date Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Admittedly, I was smitten with the idea behind this summer’s issue of Alimentum long before I’d had the opportunity to read it. This biannual literary journal, which dedicates itself to the subject of food, has gathered together work for its twelfth issue with a focus on food memories. Whether they are good—that first icy Bombpop of summer—or perhaps, not so good—think glace fish mold—we all have them. The editors at Alimentum have chosen carefully its ensemble of voices for this issue. Collectively, they offer up a very soulful celebration of first foods.
  • Issue Number Issue 5
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Alimentum publishes “the literature of food.” When I first opened this magazine, I thought I knew what that meant. Poems about sandwiches, maybe, sentimental stories about grandma’s cherry pie. I thought that, at best, this magazine would succeed in making me hungry. Boy was I wrong. Almost from the first page, reading this magazine was an educational experience. I learned all kinds of interesting things about food, but more importantly, I learned something about the power of good writing.
  • Issue Number Issue 7
  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Poems, stories, and non-fiction in Alimentum tend to fall into one of two categories: work in which food (or food-related “stuff”) is the main character and work in which food metaphors and images are used to flavor other topics. Both approaches are used successfully in this issue of the journal.
  • Issue Number Issue 9
  • Published Date Winter 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Like a still life painting, the fiction pieces, poetry, nonfiction, artwork, interviews, and illustrations gathered in this issue are artfully placed to bring each piece into the best light. With no distinct sections, the flow of one genre into the next allows us to savor the changing role of food from work to work. Beginning with the cover art, “Pie Wrangler” by Marilyn Murphy, which depicts a cowboy of sorts struggles to keep the massive piece of pie he has roped from carrying him skyward, this issue is interested in the everyday and sometimes playful mixture of food and experience, the various forms of appetite and consumption, and food memories we attach to the senses.
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  • Issue Number Issue 11
  • Published Date Winter 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Alimentum toasts its 5th anniversary with tasty bites from members who regularly sit around its table: Fiction/Nonfiction Editor and Art Director Peter Selgin, Web Editor Eric LeMay, Managing Editor Duane Spencer, Poetry Editor Cortney Davis, Assistant Web Editor Ruth Polleys, Art Director Claudia Carlson, Menupoems Editor Esther Cohen, and Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Paulette Licitra each deliver a morsel. Every course on the menu is nutritious and filling in its own way, but one of my favorites is Selgin’s “The Muffin Man,” a history of and personal treatise about his relationship with that now ubiquitous treat, the muffin. From the “flat, round, spongy, air-filled concoction prepared with yeast-leavened dough and cooked on griddle” (the English muffin) to “granola muffins, cappuccino muffins, strudel muffins, pumpkin, blueberry, applesauce, yogurt, oatmeal, and chocolate chip muffins—muffins whose entire purpose in life seemed to be nothing more or less than denying their muffinhood,” Selgin captures the surprising rise (pun intended) of this American phenomenon.
  • Subtitle A National Journal of Undergraduate Literature
  • Issue Number Volume 22
  • Published Date 2004
What comes to mind when you think of undergraduate writing? Overwriting? Sentimentality? Fuzzy thinking? Certainly I had my doubts when I cracked open the cover of Allegheny Review, an annual devoted to the work of undergraduates. Yet, although I found one or two examples of overwriting, I was pleased to find my doubts largely ungrounded. The writing in Allegheny is clear—so refreshingly clear that some of our more mature poets could take a lesson. A stark sonnet on a woman’s abortion blows any notion of sentimentality out of the water.
  • Issue Number Volume 23
  • Published Date 2005
  • Publication Cycle Annual

Before they have the craft mastered, most undergraduate students high on talent have to settle for publishing their work in a magazine that never makes it off campus, if even outside the dorm hall. The Allegheny Review remains the lasting outlet committed to giving them the better opportunity for wide circulation. However much its selections may be arbitrary, however abundant the sloppy typos are, the magazine still packs potential. The students write about what they know: meditation on the seasons; failure to communicate in relationships; a moment of doubt while in church. "Attempting Vipassana" by Kristel Bastian is a standout, using the slightly-less-familiar theme of experimenting with Eastern meditation, but still impressive:

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  • Issue Number Volume 28
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
One can hardly believe that the astounding works within Allegheny Review’s 28th volume is all from undergraduates. The wording might be a bit self-consciously ornate; which can be put to youthful enthusiasm. However, there is an explosion of images and modifiers, working toward emotional complexity – the effort succeeds; entrancing, engaging and enchanting the reader.
  • Issue Number Volume 26
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The Allegheny Review is a national undergraduate literary magazine published since 1983 at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. But, if you didn’t know these poems, stories, photos, and drawings were the product of undergraduate students, you might reasonably assume they were created by more experienced artists. And there is something refreshing about focusing solely on the work itself, forgetting about the name at the top of the page. It’s unlikely you’ll have seen this writer or artist’s name before, and it can be a pleasure to read without expectations. I was surprised by and especially liked a sophisticated poem by Robert Campbell, “An Appalachian Book of the Dead,” one of the issue’s award winners; a story by Heather Papp, “Consequences of Reproductive Success”; and a photo by Sean Stewart. I might have mistaken any of these for work by more mature artists, clear-eyed, original, and memorable.
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  • Issue Number Issue 11
  • Published Date December 2016
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online

Travel. I can’t think of a lovelier thought as, here in the northeastern US, I look out the window to see snow blasting by with below-zero wind chills and FEMA storm warnings chirping through my phone. I can hunker down indoors, curl up with my iPod and a cup of hot tea, and travel the globe and the deepest inner reaches of emotion by reading Editor Sally Long’s selections in the December issue of Allegro

This annual journal of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and photography, published out of the Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, presents fresh voices that in this edition tend to focus on issues of social justice and responsibility, including, of course, environmental issues. I especially liked Susan Thomas’ poem “To Anna Karenina,” in which the speaker addresses and compares herself to Tolstoy’s famous tragic heroine, and Jendi Reiter’s poem “Hansel and Gretel: The Mother Speaks,” in which the speaker justifies to herself her decision to kill her children. 
Contributors' notes and their remarks take up fourteen pages and while writers' comments can enrich the work or detract from it, these comments are both useful and interesting. This is especially true for the poetry, extraordinary work by fourteen gifted poets, including student prize winner Kat Darling. There is much variety here, work that ranges from lyrical to edgy, all of it strong and original. In his remarks, James Jay lets us know that his poem was inspired by a 19th century Muslim poet from India, a poet whose confidence he humbly professes to envy, though "Today Let's Call Ourselves Gahlib," is the work of a poet who deserves to have confidence in himself: "Ghalib, dig up that cougar your father / buried at the beginning of summer. / He wants to teach you about biology. Go find that corpse, // less cleanly picked / than his science / had hoped…" I must single out poems by Jendi Reiter, Christina Hutchins, and Richard Kenefic, too, although there isn't a poem in this issue I would want any reader to miss. Michael Petracca's essay, "Plover Mind," about his work in the Snowy Plover Docent Program in California, is marvelous, part science lesson, part personal essay, part primer on haiku. 
This issue is dedicated to the theme, “Scars,” as evidenced from the dramatic black and white cover photograph of a man whose chest becomes a screen on which is projected several black birds in flight, their wings like the feathery reminders of what the body endures. While a theme dedicated to the visceral remnant of physical and emotional wounds could have solicited writing that was affected, tedious, or even cliché, this issue illustrates anything but. Instead, we read of the subtleties of pain, the nuances of grief, the faint reminders of loss or dejection, though many of these authors left me feeling hopeful — that glimmer of possibility that encircles our aches like a silvery light.
  • Issue Number Issue 11
  • Published Date 2006
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This publication of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment combines fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and black-and-white photographs from the college’s students as well as national prize winners, all chosen by guest judges. The fiction runs the gamut from the naturalistic treatment of a poor woman giving birth in a tobacco field (Vickie Weaver’s “Distance”) to the magical realism of a murderous mountain lion (Andrew Beahrs’s “Full”).
  • Issue Number Issue 13
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
It’s a good thing that Alligator Juniper comes out only once a year because if you want to take in all of it – and you should – it would take nearly that long to get through it. That is, if you give the journal the time and attention it deserves. I hardly know where to begin.
  • Issue Number Issue 14
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
I have seen a lot of photographs of birds – who hasn’t? But, I have never seen one quite as striking as Ashley Sniezek’s “Sanctuary.” Both the photo and the impeccable reproduction are so sharply focused I feel as if the slender bird’s beak might reach out and peck me if I try to turn the page. But I must turn the page, because this photo is followed by an equally marvelous one, “In the Tomb of Ramose, Luxor, Egypt,” by Sue Lezon. Twelve photographers’ work is featured in this issue, including photos from national award winner Don Fike and student award winner K. Angeline Pittinger. These are some of the finest black and white photos I have encountered in a magazine, reproduced with such clarity they appear almost surreal.
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  • Issue Number Issue 17
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Like the magazine, the alligator juniper tree is native to Arizona (the journal is a yearly publication of Prescott College), but, as its unusual name implies, the magazine “invites both the regional and the exotic.” What sets this journal apart from other lit mags is that the only avenue for submission—open to all levels, emerging, early-career, and established—is through their national contests. These include a general one for fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and photography, and a separate Suzanne Tito contest for fiction, CNF, and poetry. The prizewinners and finalists selected for this issue are supremely worth reading.
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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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  • Issue Number Volume 14 Number 3
  • Published Date August 2012
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly online
The amazing thing about online literature is that in order to put together an issue, the staff of a magazine doesn’t really have to be in close proximity. In fact, the founders of Amarillo Bay say that they haven’t lived closer to each other than 100 miles—and now live nearly 2,000 miles apart. Jerry Craven and Bob Whitsitt put out their first issue in 1999 and are now in their fourteenth year of publishing. This issue contains a wonderful collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
  • Issue Number Volume 11 Number 1
  • Published Date February 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
With the presentation of this volume, Amarillo Bay is celebrating its eleventh year of existence, certainly a notable accomplishment, and welcomes the reader to browse its archives which contain over four hundred works. The latest edition has four short stories, one piece of nonfiction, and six poems to choose from.
As child I remember singing, “This land is your land, this land is my land. From California to the New York Island [...] This land was made for you and me.” Like Woody Guthrie’s famous song, the Amerarcana brilliantly encompasses a broad spectrum of voices that represents the collective identity of American poets from coast to coast. The Amerarcana is a rich steaming stew of folklore, language, and cultural identity. Piping hot and savory too! Each poem is a tantalizing slice of western spirit.
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  • Published Date Winter 2012-2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
American Athenaeum invites you to step into their “museum of words” with their latest “Understanders” issue. Inspired by T.S. Eliot’s unwavering dedication to his craft in the face of stinging criticism, the editors dedicate this issue “to every artist who stays true to their art and vision amid the naysayers.”
  • Issue Number Issue 15
  • Published Date 2003
It’s incredibly, incredibly hard to pin down which aspect of this magazine works and sings best. The candy-striped cover with its ‘bubbles’ of text; the feature on “Senses of Humor” (featuring, at her and his best, pieces by Eleanor Wilner and David Rees, among plenty of phenomenal others), John Greenman’s “The Cowboy Poet,” Adam Dant’s mesmerizing art, G.C. Waldrep’s or Linh Dinh’s poetry (and about Waldrep: I mentioned his work from the fall Gettysburg Review without knowing that: (1) He’s in Iowa now, not N.C., and (2) He’s the 2003 winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry - remember that guy named Dean Young? Same award.). It’s a spellbinding read, this latest American Letters and Commentary, which is right in keeping with what this magazine does every time.
If, as Christine Delphy writes, "We can only analyse what does exist by imagining what does not exist," American Letters & Commentary #17 proves the verity of her words. While this sort of existential imagining does not occur without staring current states in the eye, there are innumerable ways to stare. And stare they do, each writer confronting their own serrated
truth(s) from a lens fitting their particular frame. Often, these truths relate in some way to current U.S. politics, as the issue's special section, "Wedding the World and the Word," asserts.
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  • Issue Number Number 21
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
“Not works that simply transport the reader/viewer to another place, but ones that become places in and of themselves – unknown regions of poetic exploration, visual mappings of the unconscious, uncharted terrains of language,” say the editors of this issue’s theme “terra incognita.” Unknown, however, is not the case for many of the issue’s contributors, who include Jim Daniels, Anna Rabinowitz, Tony Trigilio, and Dan Beachy-Quick. And unknown is not the case for the inspiration for Rikki Ducornet’s exquisite, intricate illustrations – the fiction of Jorge Luis Borges.
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  • Issue Number Issue 23
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
American Letters & Commentary defines itself as “innovative,” “challenging,” “daring,” and “diverse.” In this issue, John Phillip Santos reviews the poetry of John Matthias, saying that his “work imbeds us in his mind’s ceaseless flow of intimate memories, archival citations, insurrectionary readings, free associations and liberated play that seeks to unsettle the unexamined phenomenology of the reader’s attention to the world.” These phrases characterize ALC 23 as a whole.
  • Issue Number Volume 15 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2004
Jim Meirose and Andi Diehn both are writers of at least one (presumably more, hopefully more) great story. G.C. Waldrep: thank you, again and for more—he is, dear reader, one of the poets whose work we may all, gladly, turn to, hopeful that people are still making language do strange tricks we can’t imagine. Also: Nancy Eimers—bravo, and I look forward to hunting down your two books. American Literary Review is another of those great reminders that literary journals can act as: there’s literally no limit to the number of these things, and the phrase “All boats rise together” has no stronger ledge on which to stand and preside over than the ledge above we scribblers the world over without contracts or even degrees. As ever, having heard of only one poet within, I come away, post-read, with a handful of new practitioners to mentally asterisk.
  • Issue Number Volume 18 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Spring issue of American Literary Review provides readers with a rewarding balance of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. It opens with the lyrical poetry of Karen Carissimo whose poem, “Basho’s Death Poem," culminates with a haunting image of Basho’s final gift to this earth, “his dreams scattered / like seeds over moors of dry grass, / blooming into flags of iris far beyond / the first Spring of his passing.” Another highlight is the poetry of Katie Ford, poetry editor of The New Orleans Review. Included here are excerpts from her recently published chapbook that traces the fallout from Hurricane Katrina: the “guarded city” – “the dead tonnage / of seal lifted and abandoned by the astonished / laws of water,” a “stormed body,” and the dream “the earth was dry / undrowned it could speak again.”
  • Issue Number Volume 19 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
David Wagoner’s “The Shape of My Life” got it right: “Three or four beginnings, four / or five middles, and two or three / regrettable endings”(except for the endings being regrettable – they’re not). This issue is all about telling a good story, beginning, middle, and end. More than a dozen poets, four fiction writers, and three essayists demonstrate the power of narrative, the rich possibilities of an original first line, and the satisfying resolution of a clever ending.
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  • Issue Number Volume 22 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Jude Nutter’s starkly eloquent “16 October, 2009, 17.55 PM: Little Elegy” is illustrative of the issue’s approach and strengths, with its description of life with horses, somehow both intimate and personal, yet distant, a portrait of another life:
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  • Issue Number Volume 23 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In The Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (January, 2006), researchers argue that “emotion enhances remembrance of neutral events past.”1 Investigators speculated that the reason for this might have to do with more pointed attention during the coding process or enhancement after the event, but what they showed more centrally was that emotion enhances long-term memory, “determining what will later be remembered or forgotten.”2 Virginia Woolf wrote in her journal that there was a certain advantage to memory stripped of its emotional coloring, which doesn’t contradict the recent claim of the Academy, but adds to the complexity of the relationship between memory and emotion which would have considerable impact on literature and its sibling sciences—the law and psychology.
  • Issue Number Volume 33 Number 1
  • Published Date January/February 2004
Another disarming newsprint journal (as in: Aha! You may look as if you are reading a perfectly respectable newspaper, but instead you are subversively reading poetry without being ostentatious about it), the quality of the paper belies what lies within. The prose here is always fascinating, featuring interviews with well-known poets (in this case, Christopher Merrill) and critical essays. The poetry contributions usually lean heavily towards translations and prose poems, and this issue is no exception, with a series of poems by Jean Cocteau translated by Charles Guenther, four poems by Constantine Cavafy translated from the Greek by Aliki Barnstone, and some very witty prose poems by Jeffrey Skinner. The inside-joke humor of “Day One,” simultaneously complaining about the egotism of writers who write a poem a day and actually writing a poem about writing a poem a day, is contagious. His two poems exploring theories in physics, “Many Worlds” and “White Dwarf,” juxtapose mundane and extraordinary details effectively. The rest of the poetry, including works by the likes of Tony Hoagland, Chard DeNiord, Robert Bly and Toi Derricotte, is strong and engaging, all worthy of excerpting here if there were only space. Suffice it to say that fans of both poetry and poetics will be satisfied with this issue.
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  • Issue Number Volume 41 Number 4
  • Published Date July/August 2012
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly
The latest American Poetry Review has an immensely quotable essay by C.K. Williams “On Being Old.” In it, he says he doesn’t “blab” about poets whose work he doesn’t like. He once, to his current chagrin, dismissed the work of the great Elizabeth Bishop. He writes, “I think we all tend to believe we can see through the vagaries of our moment to some absolute standard of judgment—this must be a characteristic of human consciousness itself—but the conviction is absurd.”
This issue of the newsprint bimonthly American Poetry Review features an essay on Hayden Carruth (“In Measured Resistance: On Hayden Carruth’s “Contra Mortem”), along with a special supplement of Carruth’s poems, and seven outstanding poems by Adrienne Rich, which in itself is enough to satisfy most poetry addicts. But it also includes multiple poems by other well-known poets such as David Wagoner and Donald Revell. APR is justifiably famous for its essays, and usually also features a large spread of international poetry in translation – in this issue, six poems from Viktor Sosnora translated by Dinara Georgeoliani and Mark Halperin. Even the ads make for fascinating reading – one touting the newest poetry releases from Wesleyan, another for a new MFA program seeking students, and Contests! Contests! Contests! – those holy grails for upstart poets such as myself.
This issue of American Poetry Review, the bimonthly newsprint journal that keeps its readers on the cutting edge of poetry criticism, features poems by Donald Revell, translations of Vallejo by Clayton Eshleman, a review of Michael Ryan and a smattering of his poems, and several excellent poems by Anne Marie Macari, but the standout features for me were two essays. One was Dana Levin’s perceptive essay “The Heroics of Style” on the effects of stylistic pressures on the poetry of Sylvia Plath, and the other was John Yau’s piece, “The Poet as Art Critic,” on John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara’s writing on art criticism.
  • Issue Number Volume 38 Number 3
  • Published Date May/June 2009
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly
Whenever I pick up an issue of The American Poetry Review, I inadvertently stop whatever else I’m doing and am drawn into other worlds, and the current issue is no exception. These poems are beautiful but concrete, challenging yet not esoteric.
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  • Issue Number Volume 40 Number 3
  • Published Date May/June 2011
  • Publication Cycle monthly
The American Poetry Review is an old school classic. Like the New York Review of Books, its large, newspaper sheets enchant readers who nostalgically yearn for the days of yore before Wasteland iPad apps and “liking” poems on Facebook (or the social media engine of your choice). This is not to say that APR is a musty old rag littered with obscure and dank Poundian cantos. Intriguing interviews and poetry grace its pages.
  • Issue Number Volume 44 Number 4
  • Published Date July/August 2015
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly
The American Poetry Review features poetry, of course, and literary essays that are didactic, exhaustive studies on poets and poems, exploring all possible avenues of meaning from every possible angle. And that’s a good thing.
  • Issue Number Volume 36 Number 5
  • Published Date September/October 2007
  • Publication Cycle monthly
The issue contains both poems that address current events and poems with timeless themes. The best poems, as often happens, combine both the relevant and the timeless aspects. Bob Hicok, a professor at Virginia Tech, writes such poems, their main focus his silent student who became a killer: “[…]the code for language= / sight. Even now, I go back and listen / to what he was saying by not saying, I look / at my memory of the unsounding / […]but there’s nothing, no knob of sound” (“Mute”). After describing the particular murderer, he asks the general question that all witnesses ask: “why did this happen,” – a common enough question in the aftermath of any tragedy, but poignant nonetheless because no one has yet given a satisfactory answer. Susan Stewart’s response to another massacre – this one in the Amish community – is to use the victims’ names as a refrain throughout her poem.
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  • Issue Number Volume 43 Number 2
  • Published Date March/April 2014
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly
The name Donald Sterling underlines an un-sterling moment in ‘post-racial’ America, delivered in sound bites that, in many ways, reveal sensibilities lurking beneath the ‘post’ in post-racial. Sterling’s girlfriend or personal assistant, V. Stiviano, was the messenger, thanks to mobile devices that heighten our desire to spy on intimate conversations. Indeed, Stiviano had the ball; and then came the slam-dunk that catapulted the message to first-class scandal. Soon, race as topic of discussions and conversations in living rooms and social media is on center stage once again, quietly intrusive, at times, to a point where it taints the spirit of any material you’re reading in the context of race.
  • Issue Number Volume 73 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2004
In this issue, The American Scholar continues to prove it’s one of the best publishers of essays in the country (the poetry–by Rita Dove, etc.
The American Scholar deserves applause for providing a loving home for the personal essay, a wonderfully egalitarian and pliant form that adjusts itself to any voice or subject matter, however refined or rough-hewn, fact-enamored or fanciful.
  • Issue Number Volume 73 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2004
This is, in my mind anyway, the most classically high-brow literary-and-arts magazine on the market, though that opinion may only be because when I was in college I was not invited to join the Phi Beta Kappa society, the group that publishes this quarterly. And while I’m certainly a fan of ignoring those who snub you, it’s impossible to keep an antagonist front against this consistently brainy, ever clever, and intensely smart magazine. Two admissions: I’m bound to love anything Sven Birkerts writes, and his essay on Flaubert is, as ever, graceful and superb. I’m also, as of late and right along with most of the rest of the conscientious country, horrifically fascinated by all stories pertaining to farming in the US, particularly stories that detail the literally near-unbelievable industrialization and specialization processes that have taken place since, roughly, Nixon. So Richard Manning’s “Against the Grain,” the lead essay here, is disgustingly enthralling. But there’s plenty beyond that, as well. Richard Lucas’ visual essay “Roma Ineffabile” is ghastly and addictive and, like any good art, asks more questions of the viewer/reader, and acts as a vein in a copper valley. Kay Ryan’s “Nothing Getting Past” is, like all of her poetry, prickly, dense and wise, and Diane McWhorter’s “Talk” is great, great fun. The only bad part? Not enough new, unknown writers in this particular issue. Next time - always next time. - WC
  • Issue Number Volume 76 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The American Scholar celebrated 75 years with the publication of its winter issue. To mark this outstanding achievement, Robert Wilson, the journal’s editor of two years, asked two contributing editors to read every issue from the past 75 years (300 in all) and comment on the journey. The results are fascinating—both in terms of the writers who have written in The Scholar (e.g. John Updike, Oliver Sacks, Barbara Tuchman, Rita Dove, and Hannah Arendt), and in terms of how the journal’s contents trace larger social, political, and ideological movements. Wilson writes in his editor’s note that he noticed how “arguments became more specific, more rooted in particular cases or in personal experiences, more dependent on narrative”
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  • Issue Number Volume 19 Issue 63
  • Published Date Fall 2016
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

As someone who truly enjoys reading short stories, American Short Fiction literary magazine provides a real treat. I could not put it down, too eager to read each new short story. This Fall 2016 issue celebrates 25 years and, as a commemoration, the front and back covers are covered with the names of every author that has been included in its 63 issues.

  • Issue Number Volume 12 Issue 43
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Editor Stacey Swann opens this issue of American Short Fiction with a concise, impassioned defense of the short story, relishing its unique power. The modern short story, Swann says, “contains multitudes…multiple faces, multiple forms – so many, it seems constraining to define it as a single object.” The stories chosen for this issue seem to bear out this assessment. The three lengthy stories are interspersed with brief, somewhat experimental pieces that add a great deal of spice.
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  • Issue Number Volume 15 Issue 54
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
American Short Fiction differs from a lot of other literary journals in that, as its name implies, it only publishes short fiction. The Editor’s Note for this issue says that the stories explore “the voice of the collective—in particular, the women’s collective,” and while that description is not one-hundred percent applicable to all five stories in this issue, it pertains to more of them than not. The Editor’s Note also claims that these stories contain an above average share of violence and that “all this first-person plural and womanliness (womynliness?) and crime and violence may not sound like a blast to read. And yet it is.” That description, too, is a pleasingly accurate one. Many of the stories explore the edges of darkness but then allow light to resurface through reflection and humor.
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  • Issue Number Volume 17 Issue 57
  • Published Date Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

Though this issue of American Short Fiction isn’t overtly themed, Editors Rebecca Markovits and Adeena Reitberger note that they had already selected the stories when they realized “four of the five were about work, the daily grind or the vocation, the answer to what William Carlos Williams called ‘the typical American question’: What do you do?” This does indeed serve as a nice framework for the five pieces of short fiction that make up the issue, work by Tia Clark, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Antonya Nelson, Matthew Neill Null, and Rob Roensch.

  • Issue Number Volume 9 Issue 33
  • Published Date Winter 2006
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
It’s back. After an eight-year hiatus, American Short Fiction returns with a new publisher, a new design, an essay and a photo narrative, and an admission “to a certain amount of uncertainty.” The tight, 122-page journal includes five pieces of fiction that should assure readers that they “are concerned as always, and above all else, with fiction.” The writing is quality, the story-telling unconventional, the authorship distinctive though not necessarily American. Susan Steinberg’s narrator lurks in the parking lot, observing and obsessing over the “Court” of a basketball game, revisiting her past, reimagining the present. Steinberg’s style, witty and self-conscious, sparse but biting structure, elevates the undercurrent of sex and longing, brilliant and self-conscious, sparse prose-poem like narrative:
  • Issue Number Volume 10 Issue 36
  • Published Date Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The theme of this issue of American Short Fiction is prison, according to Editor Stacey Swann, whether by prison bars or self-imposed limitations. The former is the concern of the pictorial essay, "Captain, Don't You Know Me, Don't You Know My Name?" Nathan Salsburg, curator of this historical collection, notes in the preface, these stunning photographs, interviews, and work-gang songs are from the work of the late folklorist Alan Lomax during his visit to Mississippi State Penitentiary in the late 1950's. This prison, also known as Parchman Farm, is the setting for his 1993 memoir The Land Where the Blues Began, wherein he quotes a 1957 New York Post article describing Parchman Farm as "simply a cotton plantation using convicts as labor."
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  • Issue Number Issue 14
  • Published Date 2005
  • Publication Cycle Annual
A concentration of metaphors, word play, and unconventional thinking binds together the five line poems in American Tanka. From the world of subtle nuances and concrete images, I constantly had the sense of reliving a moment that had never before belonged to me. Yet through my communion with each poem, the shared joy, sadness, different perspective, that Aha feeling, I was assured that the moment was in part my own. Several authors are memorable, out of which only a few can be mentioned here. Cindy Tebo’s “old lime kiln,” the first line in her poem, is haunting. The sudden image of the kiln suggests travel, perhaps an old country road. Merely driving by, the traveler pauses in a chance meeting of past and present. The kiln “in the shadows / of a cold afternoon” emphasizes the passing, of the kiln? the traveler? Like Leonard D. Moore’s powerful seven stanza sequence “To Find My Way Home,” Tebo adds additional layers to her poem through careful word choice, placement of lines, absence of punctuation, and juxtaposition. Tim W. Younce’s repetition of the line “folds and unfolds” creates the feeling of nervousness from the perspective of a soldier “at the airport / camo clad,” holding his “boarding pass.” For a moment this soldier can stop time, fold it in his palms. We are all three connected, author, soldier, reader — through a shared awareness of both our power and powerlessness. These poems are for readers who do not want to be told what to think, for those who enjoy connecting the threads. We must compare images and/or ideas and draw conclusions using hints the author provides and our own resources. Because of the relationship we establish in the process, the poems have the potential to live on. [American Tanka, P.O. Box 120-024, Staten Island, NY 10312. Email: . Single issue $12 www.americantanka.com] —Donna Everhart
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  • Issue Number Volume 27 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
From the unknown writer expecting a rejection letter, rather than a publication, to authors well-known to the New York Times—all meet together in Amoskeag. This collection of voices focuses on what Editor Michael J. Brien expresses as, “recollections and reconstructions of hazy, distant memories, and memories so fresh they scream to be captured before they begin to […] lose breath.”
  • Issue Number Volume 3
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The editors of The Ampersand take a firm editorial stance from the get-go: “Give us God, give us god, give us the gritty, oily humanity, & make us laugh. If you can make us cry, do so. If you want to lament the loss of pets or parents, do not.” On the chance you need someone to draw you a picture, they follow this up with a chart, “The Ampersand Flow.” The flow chart reminds writers they must be “good enough” to be included in the journal and warns if you write about puppies, your work is sure to be rejected.
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  • Issue Number Volume 6
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Number six of the Ampersand Review is one packed with loads (and I mean loads; this thing is practically a monster) of juicy fiction and chomp-able poetry. It even has a couple of nonfiction selections that are beyond readable. I have recently been getting into nonfiction perhaps even more than fiction, and the reads in this issue certainly shuffle me along the same path.
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  • Issue Number Issue 15
  • Published Date April 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Anak Sastra is an online magazine that provides a platform for Southeast Asian writers to publish their work in English. It is also a place for “expats, tourists, and regional connoisseurs” to share their experiences in the area. And while I came in with little to no knowledge of Southeast Asia, I still took away important insights.
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  • Issue Number Volume 8 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
A snarling wolf graces the front cover of this issue. This jolting art, titled “The Queen/Bitch,” by Jennifer Murray provides an intriguing introduction to the central themes of the issue: loneliness and isolation.
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  • Issue Number Issue 70/71
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

Published by C.A.L. Press, Berkeley, CA, Anarchy purports to "Disarm authority! Arm your Desires! with provocative, creative, and critical anti-authoritarian discourse and art."

  • Subtitle A Beast of a Literary Magazine
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  • Published Date June 2017
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online

At the beginning of each month, Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine brings readers one piece each in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, all with an animal theme. With only three pieces per issue, readers can fully enjoy each piece at their own pace, strengthening their appreciation for animal inspiration.

  • Issue Number Issue 6
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

This is the most beautiful literary journal I've read recently, possibly ever. From the text layout to the colored paper stocks behind the illustrations, each detail contributes to a visually striking book.

  • Subtitle Endurance
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  • Issue Number Issue 7
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

The “Endurance” issue of Annalemma should be abysmally depressing, as all of the stories and essays in it are sad. The great care put into its design, however, gives one answer to the editor’s question of “what gives a person forward momentum when every sign around them says give up.” Editor/publisher Chris Heavener says that “to endure means having a purpose.” His publication shows that one can find purpose though literature and art.

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  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Anobium embraces and celebrates the strange and surreal. As a reader, sometimes this works for me and sometimes not. This is the first issue of Anobium, and I think for what they are trying to do, it's a strong start. I liked the design, for one: the journal is pocket-sized, perfect-bound, and features subtle yet effective graphic design by staff artist Jacob van Loon.
  • Issue Number Number 50
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This is the journal’s 50th issue includes the work of 14 poets, the most recognizable or established among them being David Trinidad; 10 fiction writers, the most recognizable or lauded among them being Achy Obejas and Bayo Ojikutu; two nonfiction writers; a number of reviews; and “Et Al.” hybrid and uncategorized work by Joseph Gallimore and Jill Summers.
  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date June 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Anti-(poetry) is a poetry journal that flouts the rules of poetry by saying they search for poems that are contrary to traditional standards and different than other journals and current conventions in the genre – and to be sure they have an anarchist’s glee about them in the modes of expression they utilize. They publish two full issues a year while featuring different poets every two weeks.
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  • Issue Number Issue 10
  • Published Date June 2012
  • Publication Cycle online
Anti- is, as the editors explain, “contrarian, a devil’s advocate that primarily stands against the confinement of poetry in too-small boxes. Anti- wants to provide a single arena for a wide range of styles and ideas, so these different kinds of poets and poems can either fight it out or learn to coexist.” What I found most interesting with this issue of Anti- is the vast breadth of styles that it packs; each poet seemed to bring something different. With some of the poems, I was just captured by the titles alone: "Dictator, By Which I Mean the Mother Brandishing a Pistol with a Piñata over Her Head" and "When they squeeze us the wind splinters where we used to be, which is also where we are now."
The question of national literature is never without debate, and in Canada there’s always plenty of discussion going on about what it means to be truly Canadian. While the debate doesn’t end with The Antigonish Review, it’s a very good place to begin it. I find much of the literature here to be decidedly traditional: it belongs to the outdoors, to fishing and heron spotting and crafting driftwood into spirit masks. Like Anita Lahey’s “Cape Breton Relative,” these works paint a colorful but sometimes sobering portrait of a rural landscape distinctly belonging to Canada (or at least Nova Scotia and, on occasion, Vancouver Island). But this is “Canada’s Eclectic Review,” and there are also many fine turns and surprises. In “Impaired,” Devin Krukoff hits an emotional chord by viewing the world through the eyes of suffering: “The moon is split clear through the center, / a severed tongue on the plate of my window, / while across the world the sun climbs over Africa, / a continent shaped like a spear.” Kevin McPherson’s story “On Stilts” finds a man on the edge of his sanity after his wife’s death in a car crash, using long, run-on fragments to convey grief and vengeance: “My legs threaten to betray me they want to go AWOL head for the fence but I force them back in line.” And Thomas Trofimuk’s “unfolding” is a passionate and strange tale of a poetic one-night stand whose nervous rush still makes it hard for me to let go. As it turns out, there’s a worthwhile reading venture to be had here. [www.antigonishreview.com] — Christopher Mote
  • Issue Number Number 155
  • Published Date Autumn 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue includes the Great Blue Heron poetry and Sheldon Currie fiction first, second, and third prize contest winners, poems from an additional 20 poets, three short stories, short book reviews, a review essay, and what is classified as an “article,” an “academic” style analysis of poet Anne Compton’s award-winning poetry book Processional. Solid and satisfying reading from cover to cover.
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  • Issue Number Number 179
  • Published Date Autumn 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
I’m honored to review this particular issue of The Antigonish Review because it announces the 2014 poetry and fiction contest winners. I’m glad I wasn’t a judge. It must have been an agonizing process to glean the wheat—the winners—from what couldn’t possibly have been literary chaff.
  • Issue Number Number 159
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This volume features the first-, second-, and third-place winners of the Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest and the Sheldon Currie Fiction Contest, as well as poems, fiction, and book reviews from other writers. The first line of Jennifer Houle’s first poem – “I don’t listen much for birds” – sets the tone of the issue by inviting the reader to look for birds and every manifestation of the flighty or strange, both in this poem and throughout the rest of the issue.
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  • Issue Number Volume 43 Number 169
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Although The Antigonish Review is partially supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture & Heritage, the publication does not overreach into a philosophical or political interpretation of the American experiment. Some might imagine that public funding could encourage specific response at the expense of story, but these stories, essays, and poems are not exclusively about Canada and Canadians. The issue is rich with diverse elements—such as references to Tunisia, teenage nihilism, mortuary science, and Egypt. The writing is disciplined, and because of this convention, I can carry the magazine everywhere; it is a talisman against lost time. And that’s the best symptom of clean prose—the ability it affords the reader to weave in and out of the narrative without feeling lost.
Very early on, the issue boasts the lines “Funny thing about the Autumn sun / how it warms the heart first / and later the skin” (Dexine Wallbank’s “Autumn Light”). And that is how this issue of The Antigonish Review sinks into a reader’s being. The issue continues with a Zoë Strachan (Betty Trask Award winner) piece, “Play Dead,” which adds another dimension to the fluidity of human sexuality, and makes sublime its otherwise trite last line: “I don’t suppose she’d ever felt so alone.” It’s a must read, if only to see how Strachan’s line makes the piece and vice versa. There’s a playful, narrative arc in every piece, even the reviews of Canadian poets. Ken Stange reviews Allan Brown’s Frames of Silence, a collection, beginning with: “This is not an unbiased review […],” for reviewer and writer are close friends. Stange does an evenhanded job, despite the admitted favoritismtreading finely the thin line between over- and under-whelming with his and Brown’s personal history; a fine place to start researching for an honest best-man speech.
  • Issue Number Number 150
  • Published Date Summer 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The journal that calls itself “Canada’s eclectic review” very nearly earns the title based on the cover photograph alone. “Miss Julie” lounges in a flowered black overshirt, high-gravity malt liquor in hand, infinite stories to be told with her painted lips. Inside, Alberto Manguel’s essay could be a case for eclecticism. He contrasts the inclination of the great artist to produce a diverse range of works with posterity’s tendency to remember a single one the artist may not feel is representative. Nature themes abound, appropriate in a Nova Scotia-based publication. Eleonore Schönmaier’s poem, “Tracks,” features a protagonist challenging her place amongst the trees and clouds and snow. Karen Shenfeld’s poem, “Bathurst Manor,” evokes a simpler time “When the summer air cooled like bath water,” and time was passed by “squinting through the deepening dusk / to wait for the wishing star.” Human nature arises in Christine Birbalsingh’s story “Trapped,” which depicts a young mother whose eagerness to care for her children is her undoing.
This Canadian journal out of Nova Scotia features an eclectic mix of writing, a few translations, and the sprightly but thought-provoking poetry of Jan Zwicky. The mix of interviews, reviews, short fiction, and poetry is very balanced, and, as always when I read Canadian journals, I am surprised and impressed with the quality and diversity of the work of writers from Canada whom aren’t as well-represented in journals here in the States. One of the most interesting pieces in this issue was an interview with Heather Menzies, an expert on technology’s many impacts on social structures, particularly in the workplace. Much of the poetry featured here was well-crafted free verse, with many exemplary pieces, only one of which I have the space to quote here. A few lines from Myka Tucker-Abramson’s “Lot and Eurydice, Based on Akhmatova’s ‘Lot’s Wife’”: “If you turned around, I would lick the salt off your skin / before tumbling back like Eurydice into slush driven days. / You taste like fire and turn slowly away, while I speak / loudly as anguish…” Poems by Li Qingzhao, translated with skill by Allen C. West and Gundi Chan, are also exceptional. – JHG
  • Subtitle Circuses and Art Museums
  • Issue Number Volume 61 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2003
This issue of the famed Antioch Review is subtitled, “Circuses and Art Museums,” and it does not disappoint on either front. In Cathy Day’s story, “The Last Member of the Boela Tribe,” circus life is explored in all its glory with its underbelly exposed as well. The same can be said for the essays on the state of museums in the world, such as Neil MacGregor’s “A Pentecost in Trafalgar Square” and “Pictures, Tears, Lights, and Seats” by John Walsh.
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  • Issue Number Volume 69 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

The 70th anniversary issue of The Antioch Review is mammoth. This 385-page issue serves up the best of the past ten years of The Antioch Review. Some of the luminaries chosen for this issue are Stephen Jay Gould, Daniel Bell, Clifford Geertz, Aimee Bender, Gordon Lish, Benjamin Percy, Eavan Boland, and Federico García Lorca. This best-of celebration is a wonderful place to turn for any who are looking for interesting pieces by established writers.

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  • Issue Number Volume 72 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Fall 2014 issue of The Antioch Review took on the theme of what they have chosen to call “word trucks,” which are similar to “food trucks.” The Antioch Review positions themselves to be like a food truck, “serving up a variety of dishes that were intended to stimulate the intellectual palate with ‘the best words in the best order.’” In order to stimulate the palate of every reader, this issue is packed with essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews, thoughtfully crafted and organized.
  • Issue Number Volume 62 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2004
I have always loved The Antioch Review and this "All Essay" issue deepens my appreciation. The editors succeed in demonstrating that "essays…comes in all forms and about all subjects" and in meeting their goal to "highlight [the essay's] diversity and vivacity." This would make a fine volume for any workshop in the essay's strengths and varieties and is exceptional reading for any devotee of serious nonfiction. The thirteen essays include political/social analysis (Bruce Jackson, Bruce Fleming, Michael Meyers and John P. Nidiry, Irwin Abrams), personal essays (Floyd Skloot, Nick Papandreou, P.F. Kluge, Paul Christensen, Carol Hebald), ...
  • Issue Number Volume 63 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2005
In its 63rd year, The Antioch Review is still a benchmark. Robert S.Fogarty's editorial quote from Claude Levi-Straus identifies its theme as, "the search for unsuspected harmonies." In the lead essay—of seven solid essays—Daniel Bell's "Ethics and Evil: Frameworks for Twenty-First-Century Culture" asks: "How do we contain wars of faith, and the spread of potent ideologies while giving people an anchorage for their lives?" while Alan Cheuse's ''Reflections on Dialogue: How d'yuh get t'Eighteent' Avenoo and Sixty-Sevent' Street?" addresses the question of the narrator in "And God said let there be light, and there was light [. . .]" while tracing the origins of speech and story. Iraj Isaac Rahmim's autobiographical "Sacrifices" defines poverty: “[. . .] being poor as a student is not being poor at all; it is simply getting an education." Work from eleven fine poets (among them: Neil Azevedo, Michael Demos, and Marilyn Nelson) is included and in "Poetry Today," John Taylor concludes his review of Giuseppe Ungaretti's Selected Poems and Giorgio Caproni's The Earth's Wall: Selected Poems 1932-1986 with poetry of his own: "[. . . ] intimations of citadels looming there above us, even as we pass below the ramparts [. . .]."
  • Issue Number Volume 65 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
If you’re interested in testing Antioch Review’s stellar reputation, just pick up the current issue. Everything that has made AR a benchmark standard for literary journals is in evidence here, as always: intelligent essays, eclectic themes, engaging stories, and unsparing poetry—all of it thriving in an ever-evolving habitat of exploration. It’s almost impossible to choose standout pieces in a collection as accomplished as this. Jeffrey Meyers opens the issue (and this writer’s eyes) with “The Literary Politics of the Nobel Prize,” a revelatory inside look at the Oscar-like machinations pulling the strings of literary prestige.
  • Issue Number Volume 64 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2006
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
If I were to close my eyes and imagine a literary magazine, it would look much like The Antioch Review—no filler, the only artwork a cover to hold the stories together. Of course, the stories inside aren’t as stodgy as one might presume from the appearance. Kris Saknussemm’s “Time of the End” belongs on any shortlist of the best stories of this year. Hephaestus Sitturd invents things that don’t work, but now he must invent a Time Ark so that his family can escape the William Miller-predicted end of the world, based on his evidence, “[…] only the year before a dairy farmer in Gnadenhutten had found a cow pie in the shape of the Virgin Mary. Clearly the world was working up to something decisive.” Saknussemm’s imagination proves bottomless in “Time of the End,” as the long lists of the inventions and interests of Hephaestus’s genius son Lloyd attest, “The child had already constructed a steam-driven monorail that ran from their house to the barn, a crude family telephone exchange, and an accurate clock that needed no winding. A rocking horse that turned into a simple bicycle and a giant slingshot that had propelled a meat-safe over the river.” The rest of the fiction has a hard time reaching the heights Saknussemm attains, but Scott Elliott’s excellent “The Wheelbarrow Man” comes closest. Though the cover states “All Fiction Issue,” there is poetry to be found inside The End of Time, and the poems ascend their own peak. From the last lines of Scott Dalgarno’s “Mea Culpa Mea,” “I know, I know, it’s true— / I should be shot. I’d do it myself, except / who blames the victim anymore?” to Molly Bendall’s “Pass up the Votives” (“Suit up / In your mood, look at the people who / never take trips”). The Antioch Review shows sixty-five years has given them a pretty good idea of how to put something special on paper. [The Antioch Review, P.O. Box 148, Yellow Springs, OH 45387. Single issue $8. review.antioch.edu.] –Jim Scott
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  • Issue Number Volume 71 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Antioch Review, as its website explains, has been publishing high-quality poetry and prose by the likes of Joyce Carol Oates (whose haunting 1966 “The Dying Child” appears in the “From Our Archives” section of this issue), Gordon Lish, Edith Pearlman, T. Coraghessan Boyle—the list is long and impressive—for more than seventy years. Over its venerable lifespan, it has seen changes in ideology, format, and focus, all a testament to its adaptability and continued emphasis on intelligence, currency, and “the best words in the best order.” Every year, TAR publishes an all-fiction issue (with a few poems), a celebration of the genre with more than twice as many entries as most issues contain. This year’s volume is a winner.
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  • Issue Number Volume 74 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2016
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

Let’s go back seventy-five years and meet ourselves again—because, as The Antioch Review has proven in its special anniversary edition, we did not hold the mirror closely enough back then, and we did not hear the message presented so clearly in the writings of people like Ralph Ellison, who laid before us in no uncertain terms our racial disparities and injustices, and in the poetry of that age. As Sidney Alexander explains in the poem “Prologue to Bolivar,” originally published in the autumn of 1944, we must “Roll back the dusty scroll, for no man lives / without his past: no man moves alone: / No man skates on time as if it were a film, but sees below him when the waters clear / the endless processionals of the dead.”

Judith Hall, the influential poetry editor of this esteemed literary journal, should be congratulated for producing one of the best issues of “The Antioch Review” that I’ve read in a long time. This special all-poetry issue, subtitled “What to Read, What to Praise,” contains, contrary to what you might believe from the cover, more than just poetry.

  • Issue Number Volume 65 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Antioch Review celebrates its 65th year of publication with this fine issue's eclectic collection of essays, fiction, poetry, book reviews, and et cetera, which includes Editor Robert S. Fogarty's thoughtful editorial, "Nolan Miller (1907 – 2006)," on the last of the journal's founding editors, and John Taylor's "Poetry Today." Thomas Washington's "A Quarterly Reader (and Writer)," laments the absence of editorials in many quarterlies, as do I. If you enjoy sophisticated spy stories, you'll love "Tunis and Time" by Peter LaSalle; Stephen Taylor's "Bloomsbury Nights: Being, Food and Love" will bring you closer, perhaps (to a dictionary); "Odessa" by Rick DeMarinis will remind you of those among us who cannot sort things out.
  • Issue Number Volume 66 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The winter 2008 edition of the Antioch Review is titled “Breaking the Rules,” though, as Robert S. Fogarty explains in his editorial, this is “no grand theme but a series of fragments and broken rules.” The authors in this issue explore rule-breaking in many different ways, some through form, others through subject or theme.
  • Issue Number Volume 67 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Poetry editor Judith Hall introduces the all poetry issue with a beautiful editorial: “Those not spent by life are privileged. A poet, reading in the evening, writing after dawn, enjoys such privileges.” A reader with this issue in her hands is privileged, too, I am happy to say.
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  • Issue Number Volume 68 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue’s theme is “Celebrity Houses. Celebrity Politics,” framed by an essay of the same name by Daniel Harris, who has written widely on popular culture. Harris explores the blurred lines between celebrity as a Hollywood-esque phenomenon and celebrity in political life (stars who become spokespersons for “causes,” politicians who flaunt their looks, wealth, and social lives as if they were stars of stage and screen). He considers the relationships between Republican ideology and our fascination (obsession) with the Hollywood elite, a link that is falsely depicted as antagonistic – and more dangerous than it at first appears.
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  • Issue Number Number 61
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In this issue of Apalachee Review, some of the best writing is about sports. Joe Ponepinto's boxing story, "The Sting of the Glove," puts you deep inside a morally compromised manager who pushes his fighter too far, then puts on the gloves again himself. Perhaps he returns to the ring in an effort to recapture his own stolen career. Perhaps he does it to win the comatose fighter's girlfriend. Perhaps both.
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  • Issue Number Volume 63
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Apalachee Review is an attractively designed magazine hailing from Tallahassee, Florida. The editors are Michael Trammell and Jenn Bronson. The quality of work is high across all five genres presented—fiction, poetry, essay, book review, and visual art—with fiction getting a nod as the particular strength of this issue.
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  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date May 2013
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
The first step into the third issue of Apeiron Review is Jenny Taylor Moodie’s poem “I Am,” which speaks to not being the “perfect” looking woman, the one “dipped / in smooth cold plaster / filling all [her] cracks and hiding every insolent flaw.” Instead:
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  • Issue Number Issue 6
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

If you’re looking for something to read that departs from the literature written about white folk by white men, you need to pick up a copy of the latest issue of Apogee. Rife with culture and social commentary and a myriad of international authors both male and female, Apogee delivers a collection of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art that I simply did not want to end.

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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual online
Apogee, only now in its second issue, looks for “the writing and writers that sit at a distance from the mainstream,” and from what I’ve read, the editors hold up their end of the bargain.
  • Published Date Winter 2005/Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Entering its tenth year of publication, this journal of the University of South Carolina at Beaufort offers readers fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry by established and emerging writers. Kathleen Rooney’s essay “Coy Mistress,” about her work as an artist’s and photographer’s nude model appealed to me, perhaps all the more so because I read it while sitting clothed in a paper gown on a physician’s examination table, and over the years, I’ve wondered how a person guards her/his composure while under such close scrutiny. Rebecca McLanachan’s essay, “Interstellar,” delves into the relationship between two sisters. Artfully structured around the recurrent image of double stars, it movingly portrays their changing relationship over time. In the short story “Uncle Will,” Ron Cooper convincingly depicts an irascible older man and his clever solution to the perennial problem of transportation. Poems by some two dozen authors take up half of the journal. They include works by Nelson James Dunford, Michael Johnson, Sharon Doyle, David Lunde, and Jane Sanderson. Standouts are Michael Bassett’s “Aphorisms of One Who Calls Himself Legion Because He is Many”: “The wounds we cannot live / without define us the way the night / sky outlines the stars.” Similarly, in her prose poem (or flash memoir) “Detour,” Sanderson powerfully depicts the feelings a person experiences upon visiting a once concentration camp, now memorial. Frederick Zydek’s “Dreams That Get It Right,” part of a collection-in-progress about dreams, also prompted me to think, with these lines:
  • Issue Number Volume 32 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2004
What really drives my exploratory urges through the realm of literary magazines is the chance of finding one journal or another which seems in every way a representation of a real America. Appalachian Heritage is just that kind of publication. The journal’s handsome, down-to-earth appearance alone is a refreshing contrast to the often overly cerebral or academic format of so many American literary magazines. And the work featured here has a wonderfully unassuming quality about it: short stories, memoirs, poetry and photographs all unified by a down-home style that authenticates the journal’s eponymous claim to represent a bona fide heritage. In three short stories—by Lee Maynard, Patty Crow, and Sharyn McCrumb—the reader finds a lively, earnest narrative style that holds so faithfully to the clean, basic arcs of classic storytelling that it hearkens back to the rural oral tradition upon which so much of America’s contemporary literature is based, in whatever deviating forms. This issue’s featured author Sharon McCrumb (paraphrased by editor George Brosi) speaks to the very heritage alluded to in the journal’s title: “…[There is] a split between the ‘folk’ and the ‘fine,’ but there is no reason that our ‘folk’ traditions should have any less literary merit than those of Homer, the first epic poet…” This comment met with my emphatic underlining, so aptly did it express the reason for my own appreciation of Appalachian Heritage. Not often while reading literary journals do you get the feeling that you’ve happened upon a publication completely free of the corrosions of pretense, completely at ease with itself, and completely authentic. Appalachian Heritage is the real thing. Read it and find yourself relieved at the incontrovertible evidence it offers that, though big-money publishing may run the roost, the center of the literary universe is not characterized by The New Yorker
This slim journal out of Berea College, Kentucky, lives up to its name, with an intriguing showcase of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, reviews, and photographs by regional writers and artists.
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  • Issue Number Volume 38 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
A simple, rustic cover – white, the title of the magazine in black, bold font, and a picture of a tilled field, wild tiger lilies framing the pastoral scene. The opening photograph, by Ann W. Olson, like the front cover, is of dilapidated stone steps running up a hill, framed by buttercups. The juxtaposition of decay with new life can be seen in many of Olson’s photographs, throughout the issue.
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  • Issue Number Volume 12 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2017
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online

Looking at the cover of the Fall 2017 issue of Apple Valley Review, I had the chills. A photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli of a town corner in winter, sun setting, and ice lining the road greets readers at the Apple Valley Review website, foreshadowing the Michigan winter waiting for me around the corner.

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  • Issue Number Volume 9 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Apple Valley Review is definitely a journal to watch, with excellently crafted prose and engaging verse. This particular issue boasts three fictions, one nonfiction, and thirteen poems. Dave Patterson “A Return to Rothko” is enchanting with the innocence of a child’s (and then man’s) reaction to death, along with his mother’s idea that there is something wrong with him because of it. The brilliance is in the small details, the illustrations that further the characters. When he is a child, the narrator plays with his dead dog; at only eight years old, he’s fascinated with the idea of death and is still learning what it really means...
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  • Issue Number Volume 2 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
After twenty-four online issues, apt, in existence since 2005, has done something uncommon in today’s literary scene. At a time when many journals are abandoning print altogether to establish themselves exclusively as online venues, no doubt as a strategic move toward long-term viability, apt has decided the two mediums can and should exist alongside one another. For its 2011 inaugural print issue, apt has brought together the work of Curtis Tompkins, Janelle M. Segarra, Christina Kapp, and David Bartone among others.
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
I should start by saying that I’ve been holding a grudge against apt for some time now. It turns out that if you don’t read their guidelines very carefully and submit something out of their reading period, they send you a very snarky e-mail. I’m not a fan of snarky e-mails; in fact, they kind of hurt my feelings. So I had vowed to hate apt forever.
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  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual
According to neuroscientists at the University of Florida, lobsters may be the key to bomb detection. In other words, reality is fast approaching the fantastic, so for the modern surrealist to distinguish herself, she must court the right sound in the right place with the right pitch and endless imagination. The right place just might be apt, a publication of Aforementioned Productions.

In "The lure of the gallery wall," one of the excellent conversations in the Canadian Arc Poetry's "Poet As Art Thief" issue, the poet John Barton says writing ekphrastic poetry is "a way to expand our world, especially as so much of 20th-century poetry seems overwhelmingly concerned with the self."

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  • Issue Number Volume 70
  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
The seventieth issue of Arc, an annual journal published in Ottawa, Canada, features an email interview with poet Elizabeth Bachinsky, in which she writes: “We really are living in hybrid times.” A fitting remark both for the “cultural capital” writers find themselves living with and for this intelligently edited gathering, which takes as its theme “Reuse and Recycle: Finding Poetry in Canada.” Poetry editor Shane Rhodes contributes the titular essay, considering reuse and recycling in the context of found poetry: its background in Canada, its shifting motivations, and its internet-driven permutations. With few exceptions, however, most of the work in Arc considers reuse obliquely and explores material subjects through honed language rather than through the repurposing of archival or computer-generated texts.
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  • Issue Number Number 77
  • Published Date Summer 2015
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Now publishing for over 30 years, there is much to behold in Canada’s premier Arc Poetry Magazine: an abundance of poems, plus essays, a conversation, book reviews and dynamic art.
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Arcadia is an annual produced by students at the University of Central Oklahoma. The inaugural issue features fiction, poetry, drama, an essay, and several black and white photographs. A brief bio page precedes each writer’s piece. This issue includes work by writers from around the country widely published, for the most part, in a variety of literary journals and by a number of independent presses.
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  • Issue Number Volume 9 Number 3
  • Published Date Spring 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue of Arcadia starts off with the fiction piece “All the Women, Disappear” by Jonathan Durbin. In this short piece, the narrator describes his or her past relationships with different women. Without bogging down the reader with a multitude of details, the narrator creates vivid images of each character using each woman’s particular quirks, from Molly who “called the office so much my assistant rated her anxiety by the tone of her voice,” to Morgan who “read the front section of New York Times every day, cover to cover, while her parents were splitting up.” The ambiguity of the narrator also adds depth as the reader is unsure of the narrator’s gender, learning less about the main character of the story, than the past girlfriends.
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  • Issue Number Volume 7
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Vietnam War, love affairs, a few ERs, a catastrophic case of acne and its scars: trauma and its aftermath are the subject of this issue of Arcadia, guest-edited by Benjamin Reed. Perhaps because of the nature of trauma, the dramatic and the weird take up a greater-than-usual proportion of the issue, but quieter and more quotidian disruptions are given their places, too. Despite the fragmenting and wounding effects of trauma, the work in this issue is accessible and gripping, at times sad but never depressing.
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date Spring 2017
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

The second issue of The Arkansas International contains an impressive range of eclectic writing. But what caught my eye first was the collection of six-panel comics excerpt from the Notes Mésopotamiennes by French comic book writer François Ayroles, translated by Edward Gauvin.

  • Subtitle A Journal of Delta Studies
  • Issue Number Volume 36 Number 1
  • Published Date April 2005
If you dislike the homogeneity of Starbucks and Barnes & Noble, here’s the magazine for you. The equivalent to a locally owned coffee-shop, Arkansas Review is a fiercely regional tri-quarterly; based on that alone, it’s a laudable effort. The poems of Jeffrey Renard Allen are as bluesy as you’ll ever see (“Bol weevil in the cotton / worm in the corn / Devil in the white man / War going on”), and the centerpiece essay focuses on the racial implications of lodging alternatives in Clarksdale, Mississippi: “Race and Blues Tourism” is a perfect example of how focused investigation, even (especially?) in an area so removed from ‘cultural centers,’ can enlighten and entertain.
  • Issue Number Volume 37 Number 1
  • Published Date April 2006
  • Publication Cycle annual
Barbeque, bottletrees, National Steal Guitars - if you're looking for clichés, this isn't the mag for you. Focusing on the seven-state Mississippi River Delta, Arkansas Review draws the humanities and social sciences in its interdisciplinary net to evoke the Delta experience. And although each issue contains fiction and poetry - 3 stories and 7 poems here—AR includes “studies” in its title for a reason. First, there’s the scholarly articles - about Arkansas State College’s early alliance with the Army and a transcribed lecture on Delta race relations—then the book reviews—17 pages of them, outnumbering any other single piece. 
  • Subtitle A Journal of Delta Studies
  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 2
  • Published Date August 2004
Been longing to, as the song says, drive south? Just pick up a copy of the Arkansas Review and step into one of Daniel Coston’s you-are-there paintings of quintessential southern settings somehow rendered exotic by his fresh view of their familiarity. The white churches, the flat green lands of the Mississippi Delta, an “old store south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas on highway 65” will seem so real you’ll want to have your picture taken there. Then head out to the inexplicably named Club Disco 9000, actually “a juke joint, a prefab steel barn on Otha Turner’s place, out in the country” with white, middled-aged British blues fan Garry Craig Powell. In “Talkin’ Blues at the Living Blues Symposium,” he’ll give you his entertaining/worried take on the current health of (and his not so promising prognosis for) the blues and the fact that white people’s love for the blues (or their co-opting of it, depending on how you look at it) helps keep it alive, yet also tends to alter its essence. Who you play for can change your song, as R. T. Smith will warn you in his tour de force for one (fictional) voice “Dear Six Belles,” a wonderfully cranky and obsessive paean to real Cajun music: “Authentic whang-doodle, chers, the true thing.” Hear it? “You gotta cherish the blue swell in the emotional motion, give your self whole heart to the Loosiana razzy dazz.” If you start now, you can be back by suppertime. [Arkansas Review, Department of English and Philosophy, P.O. Box 1890, Arkansas State Unversity, State University, AR 72467. E-mail: . Single issue $7.50. http://www.clt.astate.edu/arkreview] – AS
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  • Issue Number Volume 41 Number 2
  • Published Date August 2010
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Formerly the Kansas Quarterly, this issue of the Arkansas Review features two essays, a memoir, a poem, one short story, and numerous reviews. I like the narrow double column format (found most commonly these days in newspapers and The New Yorker), which makes the analytical essays (“Ain’t No Burnin’ Hell: Southern Religion and the Devil’s Music” by Adam Gussow and “Farmers and Fastballs: The Culture of Baseball in Depression Era Northeast Arkansas” by Paul Edwards) highly readable. These essays are intelligent and informative, but not stuffy or opaque.
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  • Issue Number Volume 43 Number 2
  • Published Date August 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
The Arkansas Review features a blend of fiction, poetry, photography, and scholarly articles about the seven-state Mississippi River Delta. At fifty pages, the brief journal is an interesting study of this part of America, but at times feels claustrophobic in its geographic constraints. What sets this magazine apart from others is the chorus of Delta voices and its convincing local color.
  • Subtitle A Journal of Delta Studies
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  • Issue Number Volume 45 Issue 2
  • Published Date August 2014
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Ordinarily, this interdisciplinary journal (formerly the Kansas Quarterly), focuses on the seven states of the Mississippi Delta. This special issue of Arkansas Review grew out of the 100th year anniversary of the arrival of the Pfeiffer family in Piggott, Arkansas, as celebrated by the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center there. Its director, Adam Long, guests edits this exploration of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer connection.
  • Issue Number Volume 37 Number 3
  • Published Date December 2006
  • Publication Cycle Triannual

Peter McGehee’s “The Ballad of Hank McCaul” is a story whose setting begins in a hotel room, moves out to a pool hall, onto Claredon, a town an hour’s drive away from Little Rock, and then ends back in the hotel room. It begins with a problem that, by the end of the story, the narrator solves. Although it’s not as simple as all that, really, because the underlying conflict is deep and rooted and thick. The narrator, Sammy, having just visited the newly dug grave site of his lover, Hank, sums it up when he glimpses, as he is drinking beer, a sideways view of the Seventh Wheel’s clientele. “The whole world may change,” the story goes, “but the town you come from never will.”

  • Issue Number Volume 38 Number 3
  • Published Date December 2007
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
The Arkansas Review: A Journal of Delta Studies is a large, thin, easy-to-read magazine. According to the Guidelines for Contributors, this publication prints academic articles in addition to poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, but the December 2007 edition focuses on literary contributions. This issue features a long, fascinating interview with author Scott Ely, covering his time in Vietnam, his writing and research methods, and his screen writing experiences. This interview is followed by “The Poisoned Arrow,” a short story by Ely, which is full of vivid South Carolina flavor.
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  • Issue Number Number 2
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Occasionally Publishes
Armchair/Shotgun is certainly one of the most intriguingly named new literary journals around. The name is a reference to a Bob Dylan lyric, but the journal is more straightforward and less twisted in its mission than the average Dylan song. Their mission statement, which claims that they read all submissions completely anonymously, lays it out succinctly: “At Armchair/Shotgun we do not care about your bio . . . Good writing knows only story.” And story would seem to be a focus for this journal: tight, compact, highly inventive stories. Even the layout of the prose on the page, with its slightly wide margins, adds to the compact excellence of this edition; the wide margins seem to squeeze the prose to the middle of the page, up front and center, where it belongs.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
A promising premier beginning with fascinating cover art – a “threadwork portfolio” by Lisa Solomon whose threadwork images appear throughout the journal – Marvin Bell’s moving “dedication poem” (“The Book of the Dead Man (Arroyo)”) featuring Bell’s signature anaphoric lines; a terrific interview with novelist Eric Miles Williamson, a graduate of the California State University system where Arroyo is published; five strong stories; and contributions from ten poets, including more work by Bell.
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  • Issue Number Volume 4
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Arroyo Literary Review, published by the Department of English at Cal State East Bay, takes advantage of its geography and the demographics of the San Francisco area to establish its identity as a multicultural literary feast. This issue features several international contributors, including writers associated with Peru, Japan, India, and China. Sixteen poets are represented—only three with a single poem—poetry translations from the Chinese and the German appear, and award-winning translator John Felstiner is interviewed. Four short stories ring changes on themes of love, creativity, and the absurd. The compact size and the feel of the cover communicate accessibility and quality. There is really nothing about this magazine not to like.
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  • Issue Number Volume 6
  • Published Date Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual
At the end of the day, aren’t we all looking for the same thing: words on a page that are strong enough to transport us inside a writer’s mind? I’m a picky reader and I’m sure I’m not the only one. It takes a lot to get, much less keep, our attention. That said, the Spring 2014 issue of Arroyo does not disappoint; in fact, it is quite the page turner—transported I wanted, transported I got.
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  • Issue Number Issue 29
  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
Arsenic Lobster is a great concoction, a boiling pot of poetry that fizzles and pops. The poetry pokes, it prods. Cristofre Kayser’s poem asks “Was there ever a knife that did not cut?” And Jeanne Stauffer-Merle’s poem tells us that “The mouth of wind is jagged and hanging and / cold and cold . . .”
  • Issue Number Issue 17
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
The poetry published in the Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal is possibly the most eccentric and intriguing mix of poetic styles ever mingled together in a chemical potluck of creative energy. A fascination with the life of certain creatures and their metaphoric or allegoric relationship to humanity is often at the center of these poetic pieces, as well as some poems that speak specifically or obliquely to the not-so-friendly and explosive reactions that have or can cause the death of millions in this country.
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  • Issue Number Numbers 50 & 51
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
If I had to choose a metaphor for the 2012 issue of Artful Dodge, I’d liken it to one of those brown paper grab-bags they sell at the dollar store. You know the ones—unmarked and mysterious, they could contain something awesome just as easily as they could contain something you could just as well live without. This issue is a huge literary grab-bag, containing a wide assortment of essays, fiction, poetry, and art spanning a varied range of themes and subject matter. Some of the work is surprising, gripping, and moving, while others, not quite as much.
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Artifice announces that its editorial aims are to showcase “by context and content” work “aware of its own artifice.” Issue 2 is certainly true to this mission, beginning with the self-conscious Table of Contents, divided not by genre but by more abstract classifications (“Those That Tremble As If They Were Mad”; “Innumerable Ones”; “Those Drawn With a Very Fine Camel’s-Hair Brush”; “Others”; “Those That Have Just Broken a Flower Vase”; “Those That From a Long Way Off Look Like Flies”).
  • Subtitle Journal of Contemporary Culture
  • Issue Number Issue 12
  • Published Date Fall 2004
This issue of Arts & Letters, an attractive glossy, 7x10 twice-yearly journal with a spacious, easy-to-read layout, is dedicated to Susan Atefat-Peckham, who is eulogized touchingly in an essay by Poetry Editor Alice Friman. The issue also contains an excerpt, called “Grandmother Poem,” of Donald Hall’s upcoming memoir about his wife, Jane Kenyon. Very high quality fiction and poetry throughout the issue, including “Esther the Golden,” by Yona Zeldis McDonough, which tells the story of beautiful and devout Esther, who rebels against her close-knit community of faith in order to embrace a wider view of the world, and Margot C. Kadesch’s “Mate Selection,” about a biologist who is torn between her married boss and studies of sex-driven chickens and her business-oriented boyfriend. Also fascinating were poems by Minnie Bruce Pratt, especially “Shopping for a Present: The Repository of Human Flesh and Blood” and poems by Tenaya Darlington, who won the Arts & Letters Prize for Poetry, especially “The Oldest Living Bombshell Bares All,” whose lines echo Plath’s “Lady Lazarus,” especially the ending:“And yet she rises, //batting her eyes, / cracking a whip with aloof va va voom, / the woman who strips down to her death, / then ignites herself again.” Excellent work in an attractive package, Arts & Letters deserves a place on your literary magazine shelf. 
  • Subtitle Journal of Contemporary Culture
  • Issue Number Issue 11
  • Published Date Spring 2004
I'm hooked. I was a sporadic reader of Arts & Letters, but no longer. I've just finished this issue and I can't wait for the next one. I read from cover to cover, not tempted to skip or skim or even come back to something later — every piece, from the A&L Prize for Drama winner, "Left" by Sourbah Chatterjee, to reviews of work by Judson Mitcham, Annie Finch, and Vivian Shipley drew me in and satisfied me. With so few opportunities to read new play scripts, I was thrilled to read Chatterjee's clever one-act play about a family of siblings, abandoned by their father as children and their adult solution to father-less-ness. I'd call Chatterjee's piece a highlight of the issue, if it weren't for the fact that it is followed by fiction, nonfiction, and poems that could all easily qualify as highlights. There is a delightful interview with Janisse Ray, author of The Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and Wild Card Quilting: Taking a Chance on Home; pleasing, read-me-more-than-once fiction by Janice Eidus, Barbara Haines Howett, Gloria DeVidas Kirchheimer, among others; and read-again-and-again poems from Jesse Lee Kercheval, Roy Jacobstein and others, including newcomer, Israeli poet Rosebud Ben-oni. – SR
  • Issue Number Issue 15
  • Published Date Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
What I like best about Arts & Letters is that there is no best — everything is worth reading. This is sophisticated, polished work by experienced and accomplished writers. I'm not even tempted to skip around, but to read straight through from the Table of Contents to the Contributors' Notes. This issue gets off to a quirky start: an interview with Bob Hicok whose answers to Jessica Edwards's questions are similar in tone to that of his verse ("I'm not telling you what to do / anymore than I'm telling you what to feel, / I'm not telling you what to feel / because I'm not sure I feel anything, / I'm not sure there's anything to feel / because I'm not sure language is real.") Of course, the prize-winning short play by Phillip William Brock, three fascinating essays, the elegant translations by Alexis Levitin of poems from Portuguese by Eugenio de Andrade, the exceptional poems, solid short fiction, and book reviews that follow demonstrate not only that language is real, but really impressive in the hands of the right creators. If you're a reader who skips around, don't overlook Sarah Kennedy's three entries for her "Witch's Dictionary," poems whose epigraphs link "current events" with eighteenth century "witchcraft" or Rebecca McClanahan's moving personal essay about "My Affair with Jesus," or Viet Dinh's story "Faults." You'll appreciate just how real language can make an imaginary world seem with prose like Dinh's: "The first thing I ever stole was a heart." [Arts & Letters. Journal of Contemporary Culture, Georgia College & State University, Campus Box 89, Milledgeville, GA 31061-0490. Single issue $8. http://al.gcsu.edu/] —Sima Rabinowitz
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  • Issue Number Recent Posts
  • Published Date January and April, 2013
  • Publication Cycle Updated Regularly online
Ascent has been featuring essays, fiction, and poetry since 1975. The website is updated regularly, every couple of months.
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  • Published Date October/November 2013
  • Publication Cycle Updated Regularly online
With a url such as “readthebestwriting.com,” Ascent offers up some high expectations. While I’m not certain how to qualify any writing as “the best,” there is no argument that Ascent really does publish quality writing.
  • Issue Number Volume 29 Number 3
  • Published Date Spring 2005
  • Publication Cycle Annual
If you have ever wondered why so many high school students graduate with an indifference to literature; if you have ever considered the impact of war literature on young people whose heroes are largely provided by electronic media; if you have pondered the best words for the dying and what it means to be profoundly changed by a relative stranger, then, by all means, find a quiet corner and put yourself in the good company of this issue’s authorial minds. 
  • Issue Number Volume 31 Number 3
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
At the risk of sounding a bit dramatic, I have to say I was enthralled by the beauty contained within Ascent, the seasonal literary journal out of Concordia College. Filled with highly-memorable essays, poems and short stories, this issue found a place inside my tote bag for over a week as I found myself rereading it several times.
This issue of the Minnesota-based Ascent is focused on the contemplative, the intellectual, and the spiritual - most of the pieces are focused in some way on individuals contemplating their world and their place in it. In one story, the balance of the universe rests on the subversive tendencies of a man at a newspaper who inserts people’s names into the text of classified ads; a poem compares the speaker’s actions as a new father with the actions of Caligula. Entertaining and somewhat erudite, I enjoyed Jean-Mark Sens poem “Doubling,” which begins: “Your mouth articulates / outside words: / and bit by bit you’ve grown / a guardian angel.” and the poem “Watching” by Jesse Lee Kercheval, about watching movies -  “…Now when the movie comes I’m already restless, thinking one step ahead. / I’m questioning everything even before the academy leader counts down. // Now when I’m watching a movie, it may happen that another movie / fills my head & keeps me from watching the movie I am watching.” I enjoy reading the new voices and new ideas found here. [Ascent, Concordia College, 901 8th Street S, Moorhead, Minnesota 56562. E-mail: . Single issue $5. http://www.cord.edu/dept/english/ascent/] – JHG
  • Issue Number Volume 30 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Given editor W. Scott Olsen’s own work in nonfiction, one might assume that Ascent would demonstrate a bias for personal essays, place-based work, and travel writing. But what really stands out are the poetry and the fiction, especially the three short stories. The opening story, “Puck,” by Edith Pearlman, about a statue that seems to draw forth the desires of those who view it is both puckish and hopeful. Snappy dialogue and quirky characters keep the reader interested.
This was a special 10th Anniversary issue called The Best of The Asheville Poetry Review, a retrospective of the work the journal has published since 1994, including in its 250 pages a surprisingly diverse set of writers - from Robert Bly, Joy Harjo, to translations of Baudelaire, Celan and Lorca, to Eaven Boland, Virgil Suarez, Gary Snyder Sherman Alexie and R.T. Smith. It’s hard to pick out from such a large, myriad cast a “typical” poem, but there were many meditations on natural themes, and many of the poems felt restrained, although again, there were prose poems and experimental work among the traditional narratives and even some formal verse. Along with the poems, there were critical essays, book reviews, and interviews, including a long interview with William Matthews. Scott C. Holstad defended Carl Sandburg’s poetry and his focus on the American working class in the essay “Sandburg’s Chicago Poems: The Inscription of American Ideology.” When’s the last time I read anything that defended Carl Sandburg? I applaud Holstad for his courage in recognizing what was good in the work of this long-maligned American poet. I loved Joy Harjo’s “The Flood” and Cathy Gibbon’s “Dumb Blonde,” as well as the clever “Terzanelle of the Insomniac Dreamer” by Tom C. Hunley. Kudos also for the beautiful cover art work, and the high production values of this glossy journal, as well as the resistance to the usual tyranny of “big names” in anniversary issues. Neither did the editor succumb to the regionalism one might expect from a journal called “Asheville Poetry Review” – the editor chose just as many poems from new or little-known authors as he did from recognized writers, which shows courage, and opened the doors of his journal to writers not only of other states, but other countries as well.  – JHG
  • Issue Number Volume 16 Number 1
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Keith Flynn, the editor, proudly states that this is the only poetry journal in the United States that subsists entirely on retail sales and subscriptions. It boasts a circulation of 3000 and has fourteen staff members. The latest production is 223 pages and contains a wide variety of poetry, interviews, essays, and book reviews. It was founded in 1994, and my only regret here is that I lack sufficient space to give this subject proper justice.
  • Issue Number Number 12
  • Published Date Summer 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Published in Hong Kong, Asia Literary Review may be difficult to find in US bookstores. I’d never seen it until NewPages’s amazing (heroic, really) team sent it to me. I am sad to think of what I may have missed in the past, delighted to have discovered this sensational magazine, and hopeful that other readers may be able to subscribe to and/or find it in US markets. The cover alone is worth many times the modest price of $11.99 (prices on the back cover are listed for Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Australia, UK, India, Canada, and the US, which gives an idea of the journal’s markets).
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  • Issue Number Volume 4 Issue 2
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of the Asian American Literary Review is packed with ambition. While many literary journals experiment with the elements and the appearance of language, this issue of AALR crosses the physical conventions of the idea of the literary journal. The contents, like the challenges to the physical form, provoke questions and emphasize ambiguities rather than entertain, which is perhaps fitting when the issue centers on “mixed race,” a sometimes questionable and often ambiguous term laden with history, exultation, and pain.
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  • Issue Number Volume 6 Issue 2
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

“(Re)Collecting the Vietnam War” is the theme of unrestrained poetry, prose, drama, and art in this special issue of The Asian American Literary Review. This hefty volume can be regarded as a history, much like survivor accounts of other wars. Its five sections are each prefaced by a curator, some offering more explanation than others to illuminate what follows. Contributors to this volume straightforwardly talk about the past, present and future, while not glossing over the conflicts in Southeast Asia four decades ago.

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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The inaugural issue of The Asian American Literary Review – whose mission is to form “a space for writers who consider the designation ‘Asian American’ a fruitful starting point for artistic vision and community” features an interview with Karen Tei Yamashita; three book reviews; poetry; and prose that often concerns individuals confronted by personal shortcomings.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date January 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Editor Bryan Borland introduces readers to this new journal by announcing that Assaracus has “no formula” other than that all poems are authored by gay men, a “place for our poetry to dance with its own kind.” Poems are preceded by bios documenting writer’s credentials (poets who are both quite experienced and first-time in print are included in this premier issue), and the poems reflect much diversity in style, tone, and approach. Shane Allison contributes a spare “Dream” of bare single lines, “Used to / wonder / late at night // Boxers / or / Briefs”). Jay Burodny contributes a sense poem all in italics, “A Needy God.” Raymond Luczak contributes a prose poem, “Six Gallery, San Francisco: October 7, 1955.” Matthew Hittinger contributes a long poem of couplets, “A Bus Journeys West”:
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  • Issue Number Issue 7
  • Published Date July 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Assaracus, a journal dedicated to providing a stage for gay poets and poetry, is a part of Sibling Rivalry Press, which also prints Lady Business: A Celebration of Lesbian Poetry. Rather than including a slew of writers in each issue, Assaracus introduces about a dozen writers, each with a short biography, and then dives into a several page spread of their work. This really allows the reader to get to know each individual writer in depth, rather than just giving us a quick taste.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Issue 2
  • Published Date 2005
This is a beautiful journal. It uses the same elegant design with each issue, alternating only the cover’s color and the content – and included are usually a novella, a long poem, and black-and-white artwork. Because the number of works is so small, the pressure on the editors to publish good pieces is much higher – little room for error here.
  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date Summer 2004
As numerous literary magazines are focusing on flash-fiction and other short writing forms, At Length stands out as the only magazine I know of devoted entirely to long form work. Each issue features a long story or novella and a long poem. The story, “Small Mercies,” in this issue is by Tim Winton, whom I’m informed has “won every major award in Australia.” Frankly, at only 28 pages, it was not as long as I would have imagined, which is no problem since the story is great. It revolves around a man moving back to his hometown with his son after his wife’s suicide and manages to end in an unexpected direction. This particular issue also features a series of minimalist sketches by William Cordova titled “BADUSSY,” which I thought were excellent. I’ve never found poetry to work very well in long form, but Anne Winters’ narrative poem “An Immigrant Woman” held my interest till the end. 
I always enjoy reading Atlanta Review’s poetry; the work is typically approachable, emotionally invested, and refreshingly direct. Many of the poems in this issue even seem to follow the whole “emotion recalled in tranquility” rule of poetry – the speakers are trapped in between occasions, reflecting on the past or future – at concerts, diagnoses, at movies, in the kitchen. This issue featured poems from the Atlanta Review’s 2004 International Poetry Competition, as well as an interview with the always-lively, acclaimed poet-teacher-extraordinaire Marvin Bell. There were a couple of wonderful food-oriented poems in this issue, including “Basmati” by Amy Dengler, and a great poem by Marian Wilson called “Frump Femme Fatale” about a librarian action figure gone wild. One of the other poems I particularly liked in this issue was Alicia Ostriker’s “What You Cannot Remember, What You Cannot Know,” which appears to be written to a daughter or granddaughter. I have to admit I immediately forwarded the poem to both my mother and grandmother. But don’t mistake this for any kind of easy, sentimental verse. Here’s a quote from the poem:
  • Issue Number Volume 13 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
When I think of this volume as a whole, poignancy and humor are powerfully juxtaposed. Grouped together under the conflict theme are Korkut Onaran’s “War,” Fred Voss’ “Machinist Wanted,” Jamaal May’s “Triage,” and Vuong Quoc Vu’s “Flower Bomb.” This last poem won the review’s 2007 International Poetry Competition with lines like these:
  • Issue Number Volume 16 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
“After a disarmingly calm opening, this issue plunges right into the temptations of sex and chocolate, which even Death seems to find irresistible,” says editor and publisher Dan Veach in his “Welcome.” The calm is Catherine Tahmin’s “Small Talk” (“It’s raining and that’s all / we want to know.”); the sex is Michale Myerhofer’s “First Crush” (“Across our little circle jived this ribboned thing / with her anatomical differences / of which we Catholic boys knew nothing.”); Janet Jennings and Mary Soon Lee contribute the chocolate with “The Chocolate Factory” (“You can smell the roast from two miles away”) and “Master of Chocolate” (“After fifty-six years selling chocolate, / he knows what his customers want”). It’s Soon Lee’s poem that brings us death, too, though somehow it seems unfair that it’s the person who sells the chocolate, not the one indulging (“The old woman who leaves her dachshund outside / wants foil-wrapped liqueurs for her sister / and a single hazelnut cream for her dog.”) who must die. (To be fair, death eats her chocolate slowly and allows the salesman “to write a last note to his wife.”).
  • Issue Number Volume 11 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2005
Editor Dan Veach is enthusiastic and proud: "Welcome to the most joyful and enjoyable celebration of poetry you've ever seen!" The celebration is nothing short of enormous — 330 pages of poetry divided into a series of "stages of human life" (Birth, Childhood & Youth, Love, etc., Home & Work, Aging & Death, Animals & Nature, Humor, Cities, Poetry, Music and Art, and War) interspersed with a series of "expeditions" (Ireland, Asia, Latin America, Spain, The Caribbean, Africa, Greece, Australia, Great Britain, and America), along with serene black and white drawings from a half dozen artists.
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  • Issue Number Volume 18 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In Atlanta Review, it’s all poetry, all the time. No visual art or prose (save for the editors’ introductions and contributor notes) finds its way into this journal. With all this space, the editors will consider up to five poems by a single author for a given issue, and they take pride in publishing the works of both new and established authors. The editors evidently prefer brief works and excerpts: in such a small space, 59 poets (in addition to Kabir, Tukaram, Akho and Nandeo, who turn up in translation) and 92 poems appear. On its website, the journal is described as “a haven for our common humanity, the things that unite us across the boundaries of nation, race, and religion.” Each Spring/Summer issue therefore devotes space to literature from a single nation.
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
An out-of-this-country experience, the Atlanta Review introduces a collection of poems that touches on issues of race and bias. In this issue, readers are taken on a tour of Pakistan as they discover a unity in life’s tragedies.
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  • Issue Number Volume 21 Issue 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In autocratic regimes, it is not uncommon for freedoms of speech and expression to be suppressed. Social media, newspapers, the arts, and other forms of creative expression threaten the authority of governments which work by subduing the voices of many in order to amplify the voice of one. But as recent history has shown—from the Twitter Revolution and Arab Spring in the Middle East to the Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine—the people’s voices cannot be silenced, their art cannot be forgotten, and their words cannot be erased. Artists and writers, the forces of social change, still manage to exist in places that would rather they didn’t.
This summer the Olympics go home to Greece, and so does Atlanta Review in a “special commemorative issue for the Athens Summer Games, 2004” with a remarkable Greece Feature Section edited by formalist poet and Greek translator Alicia Stallings (Archaic Smile).
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  • Issue Number Volume 2 Issue 49
  • Published Date December 11, 2012
  • Publication Cycle Weekly online
Every Tuesday, Atticus Review publishes a few pieces of literature. The December 11th issue features the work of William Reese Hamilton, Marko Fong, and M. C. Allan. This issue, as the editors say, is about rejection.
  • Issue Number Number 6
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
With a name like Aufgabe, I had no idea what to expect from this journal. What I found was a brilliant collection of avant-garde poetry that knocked my socks off. Guest editor Raymond Bianchi explained in the introduction that this issue was chosen to “showcase both established and emerging Brazilian poets,” some whose works are translated here for the first time. Some of the poetry is “Concrete, or visual poetry,” which Bianchi explains “is everywhere in Brazil.” There is no way to explain it except to tell you to look at it, please! 
  • Issue Number Number 8
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
It’s a good thing Aufgabe only comes out once a year because it takes nearly that long to read the whole issue – and the whole issue is worth reading. The 2009 special feature is a huge section on Russian poetry and poetics guest edited by Matvel Yankelevich, who teaches Russian literature and language at Hunter College in New York and is a founding member of Ugly Duckling Presse. Poems, essays, and manifestos by fifteen contemporary Russian poets appear in translation (no originals are included), along with Yankelvich’s introductory essay. The poets’ essays are of particular interest, offering insights both about the nature of poetry in general and of contemporary Russian poetics in particular.
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  • Issue Number Number 9
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
An engaging and provocative issue of this ever-impressive annual. This year’s portfolio of international writing features contemporary Polish poetry selected by guest editor Mark Tardi, complex and inventive work worthy of serious reading and sustained attention. Another portfolio guest edited Laura Moriarty presents the work of “A Tonalist” poets; and guest editors E. Tracy Grinnell, Paul Foster Johnson, Julian T. Brolaski and contributing editors Jen Hofer and Nathalie Stephens selected the work of three dozen other poets and a number of unconventional review essays.
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  • Issue Number Number 11
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Aufgabe is a tome. It weighs 1.5 pounds on my bathroom scale, and that’s a paperback without any glossy pages. The journal publishes once a year, and the 2012 issue contains American poetry, a section of poems by poets from El Salvador in the original and in translation edited by Christian Nagler, other poems in translation, essays, reviews, and “notes.”
  • Issue Number Volume 14 Issue 2
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2009-2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Aurorean seeks to publish poetry that is inspirational, meditational and/or reflective of the Northeast.” In this issue, the magazine carries out its mission to reflect the Northeast with poems that specifically name or make reference to the area: “Mohonk moon” (“Scarlet Turnings” by Mike Jurkovik); the Atlantic ocean as seen from a “bed & breakfast” in Ogunquit, Maine (“Yellow Monkey” by Lainie Senechal); New England’s “slate skies” (“January Poem” by Ellen M. Taylor); a frosty New England context for the hammering of fence posts (“Fences” by Olivia Wolfgang-Smith); a salt marsh at Plum Island, Massachusetts (“Boardwalk” by Margaret Eckman); a weeping beech tree at Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston (“Weeping Beech” by Alice Kociemba); a cranberry harvest near Beaver Dam Road (the specific state is not mentioned in Judy Snow’s “Harvest off Beaver Dam Road”); a nighttime ride to Mt. Riga (“Mt. Riga” by David Sermersheim); an unusually warm first-day-of-fall near Mt. Adams (“If, Ands, or Buts” by Russell Rowland); a view of middle age as seen against the context of the view of a heron at Hall’s Pond (“Middle Age” by Robin Pelzman); the varieties of apples grown in the Northeast – McCoun, Northern Spy, MacIntosh, and Cortland (“The Ingathering” by Carole W. Trickett); and the wild Lake Superior cold (“Lone Baptism” by Steve Ausherman).
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  • Issue Number Volume 15 Issue 2
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2010-2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This fifteenth anniversary issue of The Aurorean, published in Farmington, Maine, celebrates the fall/winter seasons in New England. This issue features poets Jim Brosnan and Martha Christina, and includes a special section of Haiku and “related poetry.”
  • Issue Number Volume 13 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The poems in this issue of The Aurorean focus on the outdoor wonders experienced in spring and summer, giving various perspectives on the natural beauty of these two seasons. This issue is a testament to The Aurorean’s goal that their poems inspire, uplift, and are meditational.
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  • Issue Number Volume 21 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2016
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

Issues of The Aurorean give readers glimpses into the seasons, the Spring/Summer 2016 issue sporting a bold, bright cover photograph of magenta petals. The flyleaf is a light, complementary pink, bringing forth the fresh feelings of spring and new flowers.

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  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date December 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

What initially drew me to The Austin Review was the delivery. A sucker for small-sized publications, the compact journal called out to me as soon as I saw it. Even putting biases aside, the beautiful cover art, “Iron Age” by John Mulvany, which features a serene night scene with a ghost lighting up the sky, would’ve been enough to draw me in.

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  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date January 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The first sentences of the work in this issue of The Austin Review are some of the best I’ve read. Each one drew me in a little differently but with a similar level of intensity. And although the first lines of all nine pieces are of equal measure, here are a few examples:
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  • Issue Number Issue 16
  • Published Date Summer 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual online

Avatar Review, an online annual, “seeks to display the highest quality of writing,” as all do. And while I cannot claim that what is published in this issue is the cream of the crop, there is plenty worth consideration and worthy of merit, including poetry, prose, art, and reviews. Britt Melewski’s “On the Overnight” came with an audio recording of him reading his poem, which enhanced the feeling of the overall poem, especially his last few lines: “saying, ‘remember the absolute worst of times, / remember the fish, the fish, the fish.’”

  • Issue Number Number 5
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This edition of Avery is lovely for its cleverness. While each piece is unique unto itself, together they make for a satisfying romp through today’s literati. Chelsey Johnson’s story, “Devices,” for example, offers a surreal picture of attempted perfection in “Once There Were an Artist and an Inventor”: “They are right up next to the sidewalk, and the inventor is always drawing the curtains shut and the artist is always opening them. The artist needs light. The inventor needs privacy. In other words, they are deeply in love. But both of them are a little bit more in love with the artist.” Lovely writing. Of the artist, Johnson writes that when she takes self-portraits, the effect is, “a look of assured surprise, a look somewhere between caught-off-guard and ready-for-my-close-up.” And, “If everything becomes like love, the artist starts to wonder, what is love?” Analogies emerge everywhere, but she realizes she has no idea what the things is itself is: “It is the negative space of a drawing, its form determined only by what interrupts it.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 15
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
A Cappella Zoo, a journal of magical realism, dedicated its 15th issue to queer stories. Though titled Queer & Familiar, rather than creating a queer and familiar text, A Cappella Zoo creates a work that queers the familiar, capitalizing on the opportunities in magical realism. This collection makes queerness familiar.
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