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  • Issue Number Issue 98
  • Published Date Winter 2017
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Glimmer Train Stories is an amazing publication filled with wonderful, unique, and powerful short stories about love, life, death, loss, and the power of family. Two sisters have produced this literary magazine since 1990 and they delight in publishing emerging writers’ first stories, while also sharing interesting details about the authors’ lives (including photos).
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  • Issue Number Issue 64
  • Published Date 2016
  • Publication Cycle Annual

Issue 64 of Gargoyle compiles art, nonfiction, poetry and fiction with no overarching theme. Gargoyle lacks an identifiable style, yet boasts memorable content, especially in nonfiction and poetry.

  • Issue Number Issue 0
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

GUD is a splendid collection of the unexpected, surprising, and unsettling whose greatest common denominator may well be all of the above. From the sci-fi and fantasy with which the magazine abounds, "Moments of Brilliance," by Jason Stoddard – "Illumination: I am a biological machine, designed for this specific task" (1984 and then some!), to "Trying to Make Coffee" by William Doreski, whose attempt results in a cloud of chlorine gas (eerily timely on a day in which the headlines relate this substance as the latest hazard in Iraq), to "The Infinite Monkey Protocol" by Lavie Tidhar, and this wisdom: '"The first law of computer security,' he said, 'is don't buy a computer. [. . .] The second law of computer security' he said, 'is if you ever buy a computer, don't turn it on.'"

  • Issue Number Issue 62
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

Dedicated to sisters and to dreams, this issue of Glimmer Train offers its readers, in addition to a dozen stories, an interview with author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the Pen/Faulkner Award, Michael Cunningham. “What would you say to new writers working on their first stories or novel?” asks Sarah Anne Johnson. His advice: “Have patience. Don’t panic.” Know what type of a writer you are, he seems to say, and be yourself. Writers published in this issue seem to have already passed this test; they know themselves. They create stories which are good because they are allowed to expand on their own terms.

  • Issue Number Volume 20 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

Perhaps the most instantly recognizable literary magazine being published today, the ever-beautiful The Gettysburg Review enters its twentieth year with this excellent issue.

  • Issue Number Volume 16 Number 3
  • Published Date Autumn 2003

The Gettysburg Review is a consistently beautiful literary magazine. Distinctive art work grace its cover and internal gallery, and it has a sensual “feel good” quality. The Review continually selects works of fiction, essay, and poetry which make you sigh. This issue does not disappoint, although the art work—desolate industrial Manhattan landscapes by Andrew Lenaghan—can best be appreciated after reading the insightful commentary by Molly Hutton.

  • Issue Number Number 73
  • Published Date Spring 2003

Spring is The Greensboro Review's contest issue and the prize winning story, "The Cornfield" by Ann Stewart Hendry, and prize winning poem, "Poem from Which Wolves Were Banished," by Jeanne Marie Beaumont, are indeed exemplary. Hendry's story of the ruin of a farm as a result of foot-and-mouth disease on a neighbor's property is beautifully written, old-fashioned in some senses (a pleasingly traditional story), much like the family farm itself.

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  • Issue Number Volume 43 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

Since 1973, Saskatchewan’s Grain: the journal of eclectic writing has been publishing new and emerging writers. The Fall 2015 issue entitled “Who’s Knocking?” complied by guest editor Alice Kuiper, begins with a quote from Thomas Edison:  "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls, and looks like work."

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  • Issue Number Volume 23 Number 2
  • Published Date March/April 2016
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly
The Gay and Lesbian Review (G&LR) analyzes and affirms queer culture in the arts. The March-April 2016 issue, The Art of Memoir, compiles essays, book and theatre reviews, and a smattering of poetry to comment on and question how far the queer movement has come (or hasn’t).
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  • Issue Number Issue 94
  • Published Date Fall 2015
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
The Fall 2015 issue of Glimmer Train Stories is a delightful showcase of short fiction from both new and established writers, packing twelve short stories, an interview, and a short essay in its 200+ pages. Whether there is an explicit theme is unknown, but the majority of the pieces have a couple of common threads, primarily youth and family.
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  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Annual
If you are looking for consistency in content, do not look to The Gold Man. This is clearly a group of editors who have not settled into deciding that “this one” is only what their journal will publish when it comes to genre style. And readers looking for a variety of what’s new in contemporary writing—all in one neat package—should appreciate that.
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  • Issue Number Volume 27 Issue 2
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of Gulf Coast opens with the 2014 winner of the Gulf Coast Prize in Translation. The winning translation is a series of poems by Marcelo Morales, translated from Spanish to English by Kristin Dykstra. The first poem “36” explores the ways in which “presence” is felt within us: “[ . . . ] a river of the unemployed. The way in which terror functions, the constant stippling of fear within you.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 69 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Georgia Review is a venerable fixture on the American literary scene, and a magazine entrenched in the academic world. Founded in 1947 at the University of Georgia in Athens, Editor Stephen Corey is equally venerable, having joined the magazine in 1983. According to their website, “The Georgia Review seeks a broad audience of intellectually open and curious readers—and strives to give those readers rich content that invites and sustains repeated attention and consideration.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date May 2015
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Grist is an annual magazine published in paperback by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Subtitled “the journal for writers,” the masthead says that Grist is “devoted to contemporary literary art and essays that present and represent the writer’s occupation.” The operation is run by students, so the accent is on “contemporary.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 61
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual
A subtle, yet nearly palpable emotional experience awaits readers of Gargoyle 61. The nonfiction, poetry, and fiction elicit intense emotion, while at the same time balancing this emotion through tone, diction, and humor, leaving the reader moved but not overwhelmed.
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  • Issue Number Number 100
  • Published Date Winter 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The centennial of anything is generally cause for celebration, but when one is an independent gardening magazine with homegrown roots (pun intended) and a lot of heart, reaching Issue 100 is an even more exciting accomplishment. Issue 100 of GreenPrints does not disappoint. It is a celebration of not only the gardening and gardeners GreenPrints regularly embraces, but also the magazine itself and all those whose impassioned writing is surely on par with their artfully tended begonias and apricot trees.
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  • Issue Number Issue 92
  • Published Date Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
In my admittedly brief career as a reviewer, I’ve not encountered any literary journals that concentrate almost exclusively on the short story. I really like the idea, and obviously so do many other readers. Two differences I noticed about Glimmer Train Stories: this is the only lit mag I’ve read so far that isn’t connected to a college or university; and it’s the only one that includes a bookmarker as a bonus.
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  • Issue Number Volume 5 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Literature is at its best when it resonates, when the reader is inclined to make connections to other texts, genres, and media in an effort to make sense of the work at hand. The resonant quality of the summer issue of Gigantic Sequins is high, indebted to the finely crafted works within its pages. According to Editor-in-chief Kimberly Ann Southwick, "The whole reason we do this thing is to present you some of the finest writers and artists around these days." In this issue, they have fulfilled this promise.
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  • Issue Number Volume 27 Number 2
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of Green Mountains Review focuses on different moments, how writers choose to capture those moments, what they bring into those moments, what they take out of those moments, and what these shared moments can provide to the reader. Every piece of work seems to say “This is a moment that has happened or is happening and how, dear reader, will you handle it?”
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  • Issue Number Number 96
  • Published Date Fall 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The work in this issue (four short stories and eighteen poems) is representative of the highly competent writing that has been the hallmark of The Greensboro Review for some forty years. Most of the works, as is usual with university-sponsored journals, are by writers studying or teaching in MFA programs, or graduates of such programs. Most contributors have solid writing credentials.
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  • Issue Number Volume 27 Number 3
  • Published Date Autumn 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Autumn 2014 issue of the Gettysburg Review is utterly absorbing. Its writers are not coy about the heart of the matter; readers know exactly what they’re trying to get across. It is very accessible reading. The most straightforward sentence is also fresh, and the most commonplace sentiments come wrapped in stories that linger. In “The Woods Are Never Burning,” Steven Schwartz weaves together different strands of his childhood and adolescence in Chester, Pennsylvania, anchored by his eternally optimistic furniture salesman father. In the background, there is the quiet hum of racial tension, the strangeness of growing up, and changes to Chester itself. Marian Crotty recounts the beginning of a romance in “Love at a Distance,” where the narrator is in Dubai and her lover, Chicago. The language has a touch as light as a ballerina on pointe: “When we talk, it is almost always on the edges of sleep, one of us newly emerged from the unconscious and the other ready to fall.”
  • Subtitle A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts
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  • Issue Number Volume 26 Issue 2
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

The University of Houston’s Department of English publishes Gulf Coast, a literary journal started by Donald Barthelme and Philip Lopate in 1982, under the Texas-worthy name Domestic Crude. The current name was adopted in 1986; in 2013 the magazine merged with the Texas art journal Art Lies and began to publish writings about art in each issue, as well as the visual art which has always appeared. The list of distinguished contributors to this issue originates far beyond Houston and Texas, although local authors turn up as well.

  • Issue Number Volume 19 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
A good looking, glossy magazine, Green Mountains Review puts a strong emphasis on poetry. In fact, the best story in this issue is written by Therese Svoboda, who – not surprisingly – splits her time between prose (four novels) and poetry (four collections). The work “355,” about spies in the American Revolution era, contains the type of subject matter that most writers would spend half the story setting up so that they could splash their research all over the page.
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2006
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
This issue of GSU Review showcases the winners and finalists of their 2006 fiction and poetry contests, as well as the art of Len Kovsky on the covers and six full-color pages inside, rounding out this solid collection. Taking first place in fiction was Midge Raymond’s “Forgetting English,” about an American teacher trying to start again in Taiwan. But in a place where “[…] amid the belief that souls are lost and lonely, that they drift through an eternal purgatory, appeased with food, drink, entertainment, gifts […]” she is led inevitably to face her own haunted past and decide what to do with her future.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Again, there are no editorial musings, just a hipper than anything dive into the fray. One of the first is a great poem by Jared Stanley, called “Legitimate Dangers”:

A _____ stirs the thicket.
I am cherry alive, the little girl sang.
Fleas alight from this line.
Now it’s all our celebration, right?
I’ve got to interrupt you for a second;
this is my index finger talking.
Himilce Novas’s “Painting Life Over” is a sad story, filled with memories of a youth spent amongst parents who fought constantly, and the narrator who wishes to start life over: “Me? In my mind, I’m not in the picture at all. I’m just looking at it, a little shaky, praying that the fighting will stop and that Mr. and Mrs. Pepino, the elderly couple who live right next door, also in the fifth-floor walk-up, are really as deaf as they pretend to be.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Issue 2
  • Published Date January 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Ghost House Review is a new digital publication that claims to put forth “poetry that haunts the heart.” And while I don’t think that is quite the way I would describe the work in this issue, I would say that it is quality poetry.
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  • Issue Number Issue 11
  • Published Date January 2013
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
Ghost Ocean Magazine publishes some of the best poetry and short prose; as far as long prose goes, they say, “Just don’t waste our time.” Published on their website in an easy to navigate and read format, the writing feels cohesive, like it really does belong together under one roof.
  • Issue Number Volume 16 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2003
Okay, full disclosure: I will love any magazine that includes any work by Paul Maliszewski, fiction writer. I cannot help it. In the world of small literary magazines, most of us have authors for whom we’ll shell out anything to get the latest—a Dean Young or Bob Hicok or Olena Kalytiak Davis Poem, a Paul Maliszewski or Thomas de Zengotita or Aimee Bender story. So I’m biased toward this particular Gettysburg Review from the start because of Mr. Maliszewski and his story, which, like nearly all his other published work, is fun, funny, strange and beautiful.
Comprised solely of text, Gulf Stream Magazine boasts a highly diverse showing of work. Essays, interviews, poetry and prose fall into myriad styles and forms, making the magazine an eclectic foray into literary possibilities.
Don’t judge Greensboro Review by its cover. Though the plain-brown-wrapper-style cover maintains the forty-year tradition of this magazine’s publishing history, the writing isn’t the least bit dated.
  • Issue Number Volume 60 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2006
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Georgia Review is a champion of verbosity, and this installment does not disappoint. The fiction is dense and energetic—particularly Julia Elloitt’s “The Whipping”—but entirely believable. The reviews, though brief, are given the room to expand. They don’t pull punches; Camille Paglia’s Break, Blow, Burn is dismissed as “showy,” for example. True, Paglia is a barnyard-sized target for a publication slinging MLA phrases like “postpartum existential quandary.” Nonetheless, any publication whose foray into “criticism” isn’t an opaque attempt to make friends is one to be admired.
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  • Issue Number Volume 22 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The winter issue of The Gettysburg Review features the captivating and bizarre artwork of Mark Greenwold. In her insightful essay on his work, Shannon Egan writes, “The paintings consider the societal boundaries and concerns of sexuality and physical decorum and, as such, pictorially catalog certain Freudian anxieties, corporeal urges, and dreamlike situations.” So, too, do the essays, short stories and poems in this issue. From Aaron Gwyn’s “Drive,” a short story depicting a couple’s highly sexual flirtations with death, to Kim Adrian’s “Questionnaire for My grandfather,” an essay in the form of questions through which the narrator explores the physiological motivations for her dead grandfather’s molestation of her mother, and how this abuse continues to shape her, this issue is all about the fascinatingly twisted psyche.
  • Subtitle The Same Mistakes
  • Issue Number Volume 31 Number 4
  • Published Date Spring 2004
The same mistakes is not…a mistake. In fact, it's a provocative and successful theme, beginning with editor Kent Bruyneed's witty introduction and his description of these writers "doubting and soaring." The poems and stories in this issue share a casual energy that is more difficult to achieve than it may at first seem, elevating mistakes to art.
  • Issue Number Number 75
  • Published Date Spring 2004
This spring issue of The Greensboro Review contains two short stories that are simply breathtaking: Adam Berlin’s “The Karaoke Bet” and Matt Valentine’s “Zohra.” Berlin’s piece, in its portrayal of a soulless, lustful bookie is worth close study by any aspiring short story writer, so perfect is its characterization, voice, plotting, and overall thematic significance.
  • Issue Number Number 29
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
This publication has existed since 1989 and is produced by the creative writing department at Florida International University. In this latest edition, they explain that financial considerations have forced them to switch from a print format to an online format, but they are pursing funds to allow them to return to print eventually. Meanwhile, the latest edition provides the reader with fiction, poetry, non-fiction, two interviews, and some art and photography – certainly a little something for everyone.
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  • Issue Number Volume 24 Number 2
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
If F. Scott Fitzgerald stopped writing in 1940, and the movement subsequently classed as “confessional poetry” emerged in the late 1950s, what kind of legacy might the modern writer extract from this kind of heritage? Take Fitzgerald’s themes forced through the turbulence of Plath (who plays a role here, later) and, let’s say, Ginsberg (who also plays a role here, later). The year is 1931, and seeking real life solace, Fitzgerald published “Babylon Revisited,” a story of a father seeking to obtain custody of his daughter and rinse away his reputation from Jazz Age mania and hedonism.
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  • Issue Number Volume 3 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
With a title like Gigantic Sequins, you may suspect to open a journal full of brilliant and flashy work, but, inside, what you’ll actually find is a whole collection of poetry, fiction, and art that is brilliant without being flashy. Dispersed in between the writings is art from Gillian Lambert and Sarah Schneider that at first seem odd or grotesque, but, with a closer look, you see that there is beauty in the strangeness, and you feel compelled to stare, to think, and to mull over the meaning of the images—proof that the art is doing its job.
  • Issue Number Volume 63 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
When highly regarded essayist and self proclaimed heir of Thoreau Scott Russell Sanders submitted his essay, “Simplicity and Sanity,” to The Georgia Review, the editors thought his “yet familiar, yet vital” argument was a “strong starting and focal point for some important discussion of nothing less than the fate of our country and planet.” So, they sent an invitation to a number of accomplished essayists for responses, full-fledged essays in their own right that became this issue’s special feature, “Culture and Environment – A Conversation in Five Essays.” It’s a conversation worth listening to, and many other fine contributions notwithstanding (stories by Lori Ostlund and David Huddle, poems by J. Allyn Rosser, Margaret Gibson, David Clewell, and others, and numerous book reviews), it’s the most compelling reason to read the magazine.
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  • Issue Number Number 111
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue of Granta, subtitled “Going Back,” is a delightful combination of the old and the new, such as a beginning with a stand-out story by Leila Aboulela and ending with the essay, “The Farm,” by literary legend Mark Twain.
The Georgia Review represents a conservative, old-guard-style approach to literature, and the names of contributors are among some of the most elite in the literary world – Richard Howard and Michael Collier among them. While nothing in this issue will shock you, The Georgia Review represents very fine work.
  • Issue Number Issue 50
  • Published Date Spring 2004
If you’re looking for perfect prose, look no further. This journal of short fiction has achieved a solid reputation in the literary field for good reason.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Editor-in-Chief Kimberly Ann Southwick kicks off her new mag with a warm welcome to potential contributors:
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
I recognized only two names in the Table of Contents, Nahid Rachlin and Simon Perchik. Yet, even a quick glance at the Contributors’ Notes lets me know that most of the 16 fiction writers, three nonfiction writers, and more than two-dozen poets whose work appears here have substantial publishing credits. Despite the popular notion that people don’t read and the literary world is suffering, languishing, or on the decline, there are so many journals of all kinds, and so many people writing and publishing, it is difficult to keep up with them all. Gander Press Review, published by Loosey Goosey Press in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is doing its part to keep small press publishing thriving.
The Green Tricycle is billed as the “Fun to Read” lit magazine, and it lives up to its mantra superbly. Each issue incorporates poetry, “flash-fiction” and “mini-drama” under three different themes that are tossed out prior to the issue’s publication so as to give writers ample time to craft a work based upon the requisite themes.
The sizeable, glossy Green Mountains Review is filled, as always, with fresh and interesting work; this time many of the pieces have a metaphysical bent, but with a twist, such as poems that meditate on the true holiness of the phrase “Holy Shit,” that imagine Mary Magdalene’s conversations about Jesus at the tomb, and that consider explanations of mortality to a little boy at a crematorium. Half tongue-in-cheek, Charles Harper Webb’s poem “In Unromantic Times” bemoans our contemporary cynicism, and the death of romance, with an edge of real grief at the end:
This hefty collection of essays, fiction, poetry, art and reviews defies easy categorization, such as “traditional,” “Southern regional” or “academic.” The issue starts out with a riveting essay by Gerald Stern and continues with wonderful pieces like Nance Van Winckel’s luminous short story, “Funeral of the Virgin,” and Michael Chitwood’s poem “The Cello.”
  • Issue Number Volume 17 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Usually, I take a week to read a good literary magazine, parceling out the pieces over long evenings sitting on my porch or during my thrice-weekly ride on the stationary bike. It’s a sign of respect that I don’t read it all in one sitting. Now I have a new magazine to add to my weekly ritual: Gulf Coast.
  • Issue Number Volume 7
  • Published Date Spring 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Gihon River Review’s spring 2005 issue offers a bountiful selection of stories and poems. Allan Peterson's poem "Slight of Hands" I appreciate for his use of detail and personification, and fresh way in which Peterson reveals a sense of frustration: "The clock is holding its head in its hands," he writes in the third stanza. Introducing the fourth, in which that sense of frustration seems to have ended when a “gnat burns itself crazy on the bulb."
  • Subtitle The Weeder's Digest
  • Issue Number Number 63
  • Published Date Autumn 2005
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
"To dig one's own spade into one's own earth! Has life anything better to offer than this?" So muses Beverley Nichols in Down the Garden Path. An excerpt of this 1932 gardener's delight, along with a variety of inspirational and humorous stories for the green-thumbed, appear in this issue of Green Prints.
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  • Issue Number Volume 22 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Green Mountains Review, published by Johnson State College in Vermont, is a haven of poetry, fiction, essays and book reviews of substantial quality. A literary magazine with an impressive history, the GMR is known for publishing the likes of Julia Alvarez, Galway Kinnell, Mark Doty, Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Robert Bly, and Joy Harjo over its twenty-plus years of showcasing both established and up-and-coming writers.
My first impression of Gulf Coast is not a particularly lofty one, but I’ll say it anyway: I can’t believe this thing is only eight bucks.
  • Issue Number Volume 17 Number 1
  • Published Date 2004
Amidst all the sophisticated fiction and poetry, Green Mountains Review provides a nice regional touch: photos of the modest farmhouse owned by an old Vermonter until his death and the subsequent destruction of his “uninhabitable” dwelling.
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  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The slim, 8x8 format of Green Blotter was what first attracted me to this publication. It is some kind of revival publication of the Green Blotter Literacy Society of Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pennsylvania. I wish I knew more about its history, but despite nearly four pages of separate editorial commentary from two co-editors-in-chief, readers outside of the community will be equally at a loss. I consider myself a connoisseur of editorials (as one editor to another), but these four pages could have been better devoted to a combined effort of a page, personal thanks on a dedication page, and some more solid information for readers about what this is as a publication with some history. Given the fact that this takes up 10%+ of the writing space in the publication, it deserves comment.
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  • Issue Number Volume 6 Issue 2
  • Published Date January 2014
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
It is with sad hearts that the editors announce that this will be the last issue of Glass: “We love Glass but we must acknowledge the amount of work it takes to keep it going,” they write. It’s always sad to see magazines fold, but I’m glad that they are making the effort to keep all the past issues accessible: “we want to make our commitment to our poets clear: we will make sure your work stays published and stays available for your readers.”
  • Issue Number Volume 21 Number 2
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The theme of this all-fiction issue is shame and glory, “which seemed a marvelously arbitrary way to come across good stories,” writes Leslie Daniels in her introduction to the issue. “As writers, shame set us wildly in motion. And glory is . . . transformation, the alchemy involved in making art,” she concludes.
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  • Published Date October 2012
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly online
First of all, I have to say that I’m not sure if Gemini Magazine has a web version or not, but the layout was perfect for mobile reading. I had no problem reading the entire issue from the comfort of my bed and my iPhone. I even had a chance to finish up reading the issue while sitting at a restaurant, awkwardly waiting for my friends to arrive.
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  • Issue Number Issue 80
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Co-edited by two sisters, Susan Burmeister-Brown and Linda B. Swanson-Davis, Glimmer Train is a well-regarded magazine containing primarily short-stories. While many of GT's authors have impressive lists of past publications, other writers earn their first publication here. This issue includes stories by Geoff Wyss, Jenny Zhang, Daniel Torday, Evan Kuhlman, Nona Caspers, Olufunke Grace Bankole, Daniel Wallace, and Ken Barris. There is also an interview with Victoria Barrett by Debra Monroe.
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  • Issue Number Volume 38 Number 3
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Grain, “the journal of eclectic writing,” comes to us from Canada and was a 2011 finalist in Canada’s Western Magazine Awards in the category Magazine of the Year Saskatchewan. Grain is proudly, if not aggressively, Canadian (though it publishes two American poets in this issue). After thirty-eight years of publication, Grain continues to throw a spotlight on Canadian writing in this 101-page issue.
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  • Issue Number Volume 24 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
On its homepage, the editors of The Gettysburg Review proclaim an unwavering commitment to literary excellence and “emotionally stimulating” art. This issue of the quarterly journal certainly attests to that commitment, making it easy to see why the editors have earned many awards over the past several years. With so much that is good, choosing which pieces and which writers to highlight is a challenge.
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  • Issue Number Volume 26
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This edition of Green Mountains Review draws us to its content as soon as we see the cover. The artwork is a compelling collage done by the featured and multi-talented artist, Lou Beach. As with Beach’s work, this issue is a collage of multiple works by or about the same authors, but what you notice is the collective quality of them all, that as a whole provides more than just surface entertainment.
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  • Issue Number Volume 11 Number 2
  • Published Date July/August 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
I’ve eyed Grasslimb for a couple issues now, drawn by its simple, clean tabloid-style design. Each issue has had only two sheets, center folded, for eight, 11x14 pages of reading. I like this ‘local newspaper’ style, and the heavyweight paper adds to the reading pleasure. Easy enough to hide behind on a bus ride, solid enough to stand up through bumps and turns.
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  • Issue Number Volume 26 Number 3
  • Published Date Autumn 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Gettysburg Review deserves its reputation for excellence and consistency. Editor Peter Stitt and his colleagues have put together another issue packed with work that examines the human condition from a number of geographical and emotional perspectives.
  • Issue Number Volume 29 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
By accident, or by design, I’m not sure which, this issue of George Washington University’s student-led magazine is ripe with food imagery. The award-winning student fiction (called “Senior Contest”) sets the tone with Jessica Deputato’s “Flour and Water,” a story about food, family, and flesh (tattoos) – the undiluted bonds between them. A poem by Andrew Payton, “The Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Blues,” continues the food theme, albeit tongue in cheek, or should I say fork in powdered yellow cheese substitute. Amy Katzel’s poem, “I am Peeling You,” moves the reader from the endless possibilities in the title (eggs? apples? potatoes?) to a more graphic, no less food-oriented exploration (“off my eggshell wall”) and lament (“We did this to each other, / my voice, yours, / Minutes and years, mornings // all the slices of burnt toast, gallons of milk, / books started and finished”). Janelle Holden remembers a different kind of breakfast, one that evokes the flavors of a trip to “San Ignacio, Belize”:
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
GLOSSOLALIA is devoted to the rare breed in the literary world known as flash fiction, pieces that are most often 500 words or less. With its abstract tic-tac-toe cover and its theme for this issue, “Tongues on Fire,” one gets the sense that the miniscule fraction of experiences that these narratives expose us to, as well as the time that passes us each day, are meant to be digested as rapidly as life seems to happen.
  • Issue Number Volume 21 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Washington Post once accused this journal of “carrying literary elitism to new, and annoying, heights,” and TGR proudly uses this quote in their advertising. Under the expert guidance of editor Peter Stitt, they have been consistently presenting high level fiction, nonfiction, poetry, criticism, and art for many years. I have always been particularly attracted to the poetry, which ranges from the lyrical and evocative to the audacious.
Produced by the Creative Writing Department of Florida International University, Gulf Stream presents about as straight-up a dosage of contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as you could hope for.
This annual journal from Truman State University tips the scales at a hefty and generous 250 pages —18 stories, 32 poems, an essay, and 3 reviews. Don't skip the reviews; admirably, GHLL reviews poetry and novels from lesser-known, independent presses.
  • Issue Number Volume 20 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2007/Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

Gulf Coast is published twice a year in October and April, and each issue is a work of art in itself. The journal includes fiction, poetry, nonfiction, interviews, reviews, as well as the work of artists – a blend that facilitates both a visual and textual experience. The full-color pages in the most recent issue include collages by both Donald Bathelme and Michael Miller, and each visual artist’s work is accompanied by a commentary on their pieces.

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  • Published Date Autumn 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
To set the feel for the rest of the issue, the editors of Goblin Fruit start it off with the haunting image of “The Vigil” by Mike Allen (for a visual of this “woman,” check out the art by Elisabeth Heller for the issue): “Where her eyes affix cannot be guessed. / Beneath a hat of iron wire / hang tattooed skins that veil her face.” Reading the rest of the issue, you’ll get the sense that she is watching you:
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  • Issue Number Issue 75
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
In this issue of Glimmer Train, there is an interview with Andrew Porter by Trevor Gore. Porter is the author of The Theory of Light and Matter, a collection of short stories, recently published by Vintage/Knopf that won the 2007 Flannery O’Connor Award in Short Fiction. He’s also won far too many accolades for me to mention here, except to say that he’s a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, which put him up a notch in my view.
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  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
As a woman entering an age in life when motherhood is a main area of interest and concern, I was excited and intrigued by the idea of a magazine titled get born and dedicated to “the uncensored voice of motherhood.” The title of this magazine alone is reminiscent of certain phrases like get lost and get bent. I must say, I was very hopeful.
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  • Issue Number Number 55
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Gargoyle is a fat annual published in Arlington, Virginia. At nearly four hundred pages, this large volume of work is surprisingly consistent in tone, which, for the most part, tends toward the sardonic and distanced, rich in contemporary imagery, with edgy and provocative openings, and social, political, and cultural implications to varying degrees. This issue presents the work of nearly 70 poets, 5 nonfiction writers, two and a half dozen fiction writers, and two photographers, whose black and white photos include landscapes and close-ups of animals.
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  • Issue Number Volume 23 Issue 2
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This gorgeous twenty-fifth anniversary issue of Gulf Coast—a celebration in poetry, prose and art—while anchored in the present, salutes contributors of past years with luminous grace.
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  • Issue Number Number 89
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Fiction rules in this issue of the Greensboro Review. Not to say that the poetry failed to capture my attention, but the stellar stories strung together here hooked me from the first, “The Drift Line” by Charlotte O'Donnell. It's a tale of preteen female friendship, with the complexities of that friendship's dynamics laid bare on a rocky shoreline:
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  • Issue Number Volume 65 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Wow, this issue of Georgia Review is a true literary bonanza! Subtitled “A Home in Other People,” the issue offers a broad retrospective of selected stories and art from 1984 to 2007. This is the second retrospective that the Review has done; the first one came out in 1986, and now the staff is both celebrating the 25th anniversary of that first retrospective, in addition to marking the start of the Review’s 65th year.
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  • Issue Number Number 58
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Can our literary senses be overwhelmed? Gargoyle #57 was “a 600-page doorstop of an issue!” Gargolyle 58 is another 470 pages. It’s been noted in previous reviews that there’s too much work available and accepted for Gargoyle, and it happened again with #58. But it’s all of great quality! Consequently, the editors decided to divide everything accepted for #58 and print two issues in 2012.
  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
It has been said that Americans don’t read enough foreign literature, and I am inclined to agree with this statement, given that most people in the United States can identify Ernest Hemingway and Huckleberry Finn readily enough, but not Leo Tolstoy or Madame Bovary. What a shame. Gowanus, a resolutely international online literary journal, attempts to broaden one’s horizons. They state they are “interested in what concerns human beings in Delhi, Bridgetown and Soweto as well as in Chicago, Dublin and Tokyo.” Judging from their archives, they have effectively been doing so since 1997.
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  • Issue Number Volume 25 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Sometimes we look to the canon for context: the depression era philosophies and legacies of John Steinbeck, Thomas Wolfe, Pearl S. Buck. Would an American imagination have been materially different absent James Hilton, Sinclair Lewis, Edna Ferber? What if the novels of A.J. Cronin or William Faulkner remained galleys buried on the literary cutting room floor? I approached my reading of this issue of The Gettysburg Review with the canon as context; that is, does the literature in a climate of economic downturn answer similarly situated voices from the dustbowl terror of the mid 1930s? Not exactly. The truth may lie in other comparisons—perhaps an awareness of the hysterical faith-based tomes that characterized the literature of the climax of the Roman Empire, the deoxyribonucleic acid of other revolutions, a monk’s blood. In sum, I found The Gettysburg Review to stand on its own, neither an answer nor echo of the past but rather a collection of talented men and women who have unique stories to tell.
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  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Garbanzo is out to break some rules. I find this refreshing in the relatively staid world of literary magazines. Perhaps it’s my background in zine publishing that makes me sympathetic to those willing to buck the trends. First of all, this inaugural issue comes handsomely clothed in a silkscreened dust jacket. How many lit mags have you seen lately with a dust jacket, silkscreened or not? That’s what I thought. Garbanzo is also bound with fancy rivets and includes an attached ribbon bookmark (a thoughtful and handy feature). On the inside there are a few fold-out pages, and even some handwritten poems that nicely break up the otherwise printed text. So, this is a nice-looking publication, a labor of love. I can’t help wondering how long the editors will be able to maintain this level of quality for their limited run print editions (they also publish a digital version), but I will suspend my doubts for now.
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  • Issue Number Volume 37 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
I know I sound like a broken record, but I can’t say it enough. I just don’t think there is a magazine published on this side of the border that can compare with the Canadian magazines. Grain is published in Saskatchewan and like the many marvelous literary journals produced across the vast and exquisite land to my north, it is exceptionally good. The theme of this issue is “Conversation,” which I understand to mean dialogue, relationship(s), images that reverberate and connect, and language in the service of vision, understanding, and meaningfulness. Editor Sylvia Legris traces the word’s roots to “the act of living with” or to keep company. Grain is all this and more.
It’s probably redundant to elaborate on a short story titled “Death Is Not a Bad Joke If Told the Right Way.” Forgive me for trying: I can’t get enough of this meditative piece by Yiyun Li, a memoir of life in a Chinese commune in the 1970s, and the plight of an educated man rendered useless by the Cultural Revolution, as witnessed by the narrator as a child.
Gargoyle 48 confuses me. The cover is entirely taken up by a photo of two women in low cut shirts looking like they want to punch me. On the back, I see names such as E. Ethelbert Miller. The first page is a long political quote from Gore Vidal. The non-fiction reads like fiction, the poetry reads like prose and prose reads like poetry. I think Gargoyle would be pleased with this review. They seem to strive to be surprising and fresh. Their website explains that issues have been published on cassette tapes and that others have featured writers from Charles Bukowski to Rita Dove.
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  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Graze, a perfectly delicious foodie literary magazine, is printed in two color: black and green. The design works throughout and pulls the pieces together. This issue features a fantastic cover with various life-like foods in the library: an ice-cream sandwich lies on his back, a piece of pizza sits on the floor, a burrito browses the stacks, and plenty more characters populate the page. Inside, you’ll find plenty more fun.
  • Issue Number Volume 32 Number 4
  • Published Date Spring 2005
“If” is the theme here, and Kent Bruyneel’s poem “Struggles and gives. Breaks.” kicks things off well: “Then the strange and / proud echo of her turning around. Interrupted. By the voice / wondering aloud when she is coming back and if.” The collected pieces are nicely unified – no loose theme is this – and ambivalence of course weighs heavily, especially in Ken Howe’s amusing mock-epic poem “Jerry’s Barbershop, an Investigation,” in which the persona freaks out over a bad haircut: “I beheld / the same geek who’d take the chair some minutes earlier, OK but / with shorter hair.”
  • Issue Number Volume 20 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date 2007
“American Apocalypse” – the theme of the twentieth anniversary double issue of Green Mountains Review. The editor discusses the differences between “dread” and “apocalypse”: “‘dread’ implies profound fear, even terror of some impending event” while “apocalyptic thinkers are more actively engaged…and sometimes actively embracing the apocalyptic event." The editor wants to add “imaginative perspective” to reflecting on the end of the world.
  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 2
  • Published Date Autumn 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Trés chic. I liked Grain Magazine the moment I saw this issue's elegant black/white/blood-red cover. Luckily, the content didn’t force me to revise my opinion. This issue is split in two parts: a regular part with fiction and poetry, and a section celebrating the winners of the “Short Grain” micro-fiction and nonfiction contest.
  • Issue Number Volume 19 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Gulf Coast does almost everything right, from cover to content. The magazine is even the perfect size: heavy enough to seem substantial, yet not injury-inducing, big enough to stand out on your bookshelf, but not so large as not to fit. The cover of this issue is adorned with one of Amy Blakemore’s haunting photographs.
  • Issue Number Volume 60 Issue Sixtieth Anniversary Numbers 3 & 4
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2006
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Sixtieth Anniversary Congratulations to the editors and staff of The Georgia Review, long acclaimed as the best of the best. Correspondence—letters—beginning with the journal's 1947-1976 archives (1977-2000 items to appear in Spring 2007) is the theme of this double issue of nearly 400 pages, perhaps in the hope aid and comfort for today's writers would emerge (as it has: cover letters should self-destruct; also personal papers upon the writer's death, if not before). Much has been made of the loss of the art of personal letter writing since the advent of e-mail, but Hugh Ruppersberg's review of Selected Letters of Robert Penn Warren offers insight regarding letters by literary figures: “Writers tend to reserve their intellect and energy for their creative efforts . . .”
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  • Issue Number Number 94
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Greensboro Review has been around now for almost 50 years. Since the journal started up in 1965, it has developed an international reputation, meaning each issue plays host to the best work from both emerging and established writers. This issue is packed with work that seems to gravitate around feelings of longing and desire and the various ways these two emotions shape and impact our life. Every piece reaches out to touch the readers on a different level and engage them.
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  • Issue Number Volume 41 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
As I read this issue of Grain, a quarterly from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, I kept flipping to the back to find out who the writer is: how was it possible that I had never heard of this person, and that person, and the editors who have eyes for such great, sensitive, and unassuming writing? With one story and poem after another, this issue of Grain made me miss my train stop on the way to work, gasp, and wonder. I’m very, very excited to have discovered it and now to tell you to read it, too.
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  • Issue Number Issue 89
  • Published Date Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
One of Glimmer Train’s many claims to fame is its signature black-bordered cover, its distinctive logo title, and the always interesting art—this time, a drawing of curly-tailed pigs making their way home through winter-deadened wheat, erupting in curls from the snow like the animals’ tails. Perhaps the most significant claim to fame, however, is the magazine’s reputation for excellence. Selections from GT have appeared in nearly every annual anthology of “the best.” Its smart look, its dedication to literary fiction, and its consistent attention to the needs of writers reaching for their best, make this always a magazine to watch. This issue is no exception.
  • Issue Number Volume 36 Number 4
  • Published Date Summer 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
“That tug toward the low-or-lower-tech,” in other words . . . Luddite. This issue’s theme. Not anti-technology, editor Sylvia Legris explains, but rather a celebration of “that desire to make art or writing using methods and materials that are slower, messier, less reliable.” Despite the fact that I find many high-tech tools (my cell phone and my PC to name just two) to be among the most unreliable of objects and resources and often far messier than non-technological things, I appreciate what Legris means – a deliberate distancing from “hypervelocity,” and I love the work she’s chosen. Categorized under the headings “machine,” “paper,” “fixture,” “mortar,” and “terminal,” Grain Luddite focuses on our relationship with the stuff of life (from our flesh and bones to the bones of our homes) with which we interact, without its being, in the technological sense, interactive.
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  • Issue Number Number 91
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Greensboro Review, part of The University of North Carolina Greensboro’s creative writing program, is simply clad in thick paper which has a natural-pressed feel, with the title and names of the contributors on the front. The magazine opts for a simple cover, choosing instead to spend its efforts on the contents within. It is no surprise that the collection of pieces provided by MFA students is superb. The review features fiction and poetry, all of which feels effortless in its precise crafting. It’s handmade literature at its best.
  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Greatcoat: an oversized, catch-all garment designed to protect in all kinds of weather. Practical, not flattering, it provides comfort without ostentation. The debut issue of Greatcoat is thin enough, at 83 pages, to fit inside a greatcoat pocket, yet it lives up to its name, enveloping the reader in poems and essays which blur the design lines and obliterate genre seams. The first of the two essays exemplifies Greatcoat’s vision. “Electric Energy,” excerpted from a 1998 book by Lynn Strongin, is a spinning centrifuge of non-sequiturs and vivid imagery. From the quotations about aging which open the piece, Strongin distills ideas of a “cell-like enclosure” trapping the women in her life: “I used to dream I made myself a home in a beehive as a child: clean, solitary, holy.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 84
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Founded in 1990, the glossy literary magazine Glimmer Train Stories showcases mostly emerging talent and hosts a bevy of contests to help cull those voices. I did not appreciate the fruits of their model until I read this issue, which carried me cover to cover, through a labyrinth of sound, structure, and emotional and literary sophistication.
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  • Issue Number Volume 25 Issue 2
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Gulf Coast Editors Zachary Martin and Karyna McGlynn claim in their editor’s note that while many literary journals announce themes in advance, they are partial to “themes that announce themselves gradually.” In “The ‘Issues’ Issue,” we see the effects of that thinking: a vibrant collection of prose, poetry, and art diverse enough so that you forget about theme while reading, only realizing much later how subtly and cohesively each piece fit into the issue, binding the journal together.
  • Subtitle The Journal for Writers
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  • Issue Number Issue 6
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
What sets Grist: The Journal for Writers apart is its “commitment to the writer’s occupation.” To begin with, three interviews with working writers provide appealing insight. Then there are two craft essays, one on metaphor in poetry, one on time in fiction. Mostly, there are 148 pages of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction (no book reviews or criticism) of exciting quality. And don’t miss the online companion, a smart nod to the online presence all writers, these days, must have.
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  • Issue Number Volume 67 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Georgia Review consistently delivers the best of contemporary fiction and poetry. Given its hefty reputation, it is no surprise that this issue is packed with high-quality writing from established authors. But above all else, this issue is an investment in Mary Hood, whose feature consumes two thirds of the journal. You may have never heard of her. I hadn’t. Hood is a southern writer whose history with The Georgia Review dates back to 1983, and whose fiction has been published in Harper’s Magazine, The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, and more.
  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
A brief introductory note lets us know that this journal exists “to explore the variety of life in the United States – to tell the stories that make up our past and our present. We especially appreciate stories about countries of origin, ancestry, and cultural identity.” “Variety” in Issue 2 includes the tale of a Chinese American boy, a visit to India, a family story by the child of Korean immigrants, a parody about the “global diaspora,” photographs that appear to be of Mexican American subjects (though I confess this is purely conjecture on my part), and an essay about “black hair,” among other stories. There is as much diversity in the style and tone of these stories as there is in the cultural identities they represent.
  • Issue Number Volume 18 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
If you’re looking for one-stop shopping of the smartest poetry, fiction, non-fiction, reviews, and interviews there’s only one place to go: Gulf Coast. Let’s start with poetry. Work from Paul Muldoon, Barbara Ras, Denise Duhamel, James Shea, Robyn Art, Trent Busch, and Len Roberts, among others, that is playful, gorgeous, and challenging.
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  • Issue Number Volume 24 Issue 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Winter/Spring issue of Gulf Coast is a pearl. This issue contains the 2011 Gulf Coast Prizes awarded to Brian Van Reet (fiction), Arianne Zwartjes (nonfiction), and Amaranth Borsuk (poetry), not to mention dozens of other poets, six other short fiction stories, and six nonfiction essays. This tome-azine also includes four interviews, seven translations, two reviews, and a collection of high-gloss color photographs including a centerfold of Cy Twombly work, which is also featured on the cover.
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  • Issue Number Volume 65 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Winter 2011 issue is something of a special one, special in two ways, actually. First, there’s the actual content, which is anchored by a nonfiction piece and a fiction piece by Harry Crews The opportunity for connection was too great to pass up, and rightfully so: the editors of The Georgia Review were able to treat readers with an excerpt from Crews’s novel The Gospel Singer, featuring a character inspired by the very events in Crews’s nonfiction piece.
If the measure of a great record is the ability to play it straight through without skipping a track, the same rule can be applied to lit mags. Even the most highly-regarded among them are spotty, at times, best when read non-linearly, piecemeal. Not so with Glimmer Train, one of the most consistently edited journals out there.
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  • Issue Number Number 57
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Before receiving my copy of Gargoyle 57, I had heard a lot about the magazine. I’d even ventured to their website a few times. When I actually received my copy, I had mixed feelings. Gargoyle 57 is gargantuan. It reaches nearly six-hundred pages. Unfortunately, due to its girth, I found it hard to invest myself into reading it cover-to-cover. The level of work inside also seems a bit unbalanced. Some pieces are great, while others don’t stand out. But putting aside my reservations about this issue, I did find some lovely work inside: “Dear Jimmy Connoll” by Patricia Smith, “Ye Ol’Fashioned Olfactory” by Alexander V. Bach, “Perfect, for You” by Susann Cokal, and “Jasper Owen Interview, 1957, Excerpt No. 6” by Benjamin C. Krause to name a few.
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  • Issue Number Issue 12
  • Published Date Autumn 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Gone Lawn is a journal that aims to publish “innovative, nontraditional and/or daring works, both narrative and poetic, that walk the difficult landscapes and break up the safe ones, works which incite surprising and unexpected feelings and thoughts.” Read one piece, heck, just look at the art in the issue, and you’ll see they are succeeding in their goals.
  • Issue Number Issue 71
  • Published Date Summer 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
If you love a good story – and who doesn’t? – you must read Glimmer Train. It never, and I do mean never, disappoints. This issue includes exquisite stories by Carmiel Banaksy, Hubert Ahn, Cynthia Gregory, Johnny Townsen, Marc Basch (first time in print!), Lindsey Crittenden, Diana Spechler, Scott Schrader, Mary Morrissy, and Kuyangyan Huang, as well as a critical essay by Sara Whyatt on the theater of Raisedon Baya and Chris Mlalazi, and an interview with David Leavitt, conducted by Kevin Rabalais.
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  • Issue Number Volume 39 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Grain: The Journal of Eclectic Writing is based out of Canada and prides itself on publishing challenging writing and art each quarter. This issue includes the winners of the 2011 Short Grain contest.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
The Golden Key is a brand new speculative online journal, then name coming from the Grimm’s fairy tale with the same title. The Grimm’s story ends with a boy who lifts the lid of an iron chest without revealing what’s inside. Co-Editor Susan Anspach says, “The Grimms chose to end their collection of fairy tales with this story as a reminder that there exists an endless reserve of stories still yet untold. In the same spirit, our journal seeks to publish work that is open to strange and marvelous possibilities.”
What makes this issue of Green Mountains Review especially appealing is the range of styles and tones represented here. Maureen Seaton is as quirky, irreverent, playful, and original as ever in several pieces that defy classification. Erick Pankey is as solemn and soulful as we know him to be in three self-portraits composed of exacting, carefully calculated language. Lola Haskins is, as we expect her to be, both lyrical and sharp-tongued in "Parsing Mother" ("You're the twig that slashed my eye as I pushed through the branches. / Why I see cracks, faults, flaws, in every vase and daughter. O / Mother how declensions abound: nominative sun accusative moon."). The fiction follows suit, with solid, conventional short stories by Jenna Terry and Daisy Tsui; a lyrical folk-tale style offering by Christopher White; and stories I am tempted to categorize as "sudden fiction" or "short shorts" by Francine White. Among the many memorable and noteworthy pieces in this issue is one I simply cannot refrain from mentioning— Eamon Grennan's marvelous poem "From the Road," which begins:
  • Issue Number Number 78
  • Published Date Fall 2005
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Aching for a good, solid story? This issue has four outstanding ones. The voices are resonant, triumphantly free of cell phone repartee and brand-name shorthand. Treat yourself to a giggling weep at the fragile humanity in a story by Michael Poore: ”You can tell Marie’s brother has problems, like his mind is inside out.
Quick summary of the use of the term “experimentalism”: Some people impose the label on themselves as a license to do anything, while others get the label applied to them for lack of any better term. Good Foot poetry journal, where it is experimental, sits on the edge of the second camp.
  • Issue Number Volume 59 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2005
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The summer edition of The Georgia Review is dedicated to “the art of the rant,” an idea that is, without exception, brilliantly explored in this outstanding issue. The topic is broadly interpreted, from frenetically paced poetry to a father’s tense conversation with his disturbed daughter to Robert Cohen’s essay that discusses the necessity of “going to the extreme limit.”
  • Issue Number Volume 31 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2003
The Fall 2003 issue of Grain is their Short Grain Contest Winners issue, so along with a good selection of poetry and three stories, the table of contents lists winners of competitions in Postcard Stories, Prose Poems, Dramatic Monologues and Long Grain of Truth - the last category a well-named competition of creative nonfiction.
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  • Issue Number Issue 9
  • Published Date May 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
I find that in a lot of online and digital journals, editors are sticking to shorter pieces, grabbing readers’ attention for a short while, and then letting them go about their day—not surprising in the age of text messages and tweets. But while that is certainly well warranted and effective, it is certainly refreshing to see a journal like Gulf Stream that isn’t afraid to publish pieces that take more than 5 minutes to read.
Grain has an inventive way of honoring its annual Short Grain contest winners without shortchanging the other contributors – a double issue with two front covers and no perfunctory rear. In the “regular” issue, Christine Lindsay’s “Last Words” is a potent dialog with a character from a poem by Jane Kenyon.
  • Issue Number Volume 21 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
“I must be frank about this – the American Present baffles me.” Not longer after making this pronouncement in his interview here with Irene Keliher, David Leavitt reminds us what Grace Paley said about finding a subject or coming to terms with what one is compelled to say: “For me there is a long time between knowing and telling.” Turning what baffles us into something we can know and tell about, in ways simultaneously original and unique, yet recognizable or, at least, meaningful, is what good writing is about (although I may end up no less baffled). Gulf Coast satisfies this goal admirably.
  • Issue Number Number 85
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
I almost missed my stop on the subway, I couldn’t stop reading. What captivated me most in these poems, prose poems, and short stories – and what they have in common, for the most part – is the power to surprise without working too vigorously or obviously to accomplish this. They don’t go where you expect or move the way you think they will, but they don’t announce their intentions to thwart expectations with bold gestures or wildly inventive strokes.
  • Issue Number Issue 70
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The editors of Glimmer Train Stories have successfully put together another issue of pieces that focus strongly on character interiority. Through the course of the issue, the reader is acquainted with several different people, including an American teacher watching over his students in Germany, ill-fated lovers dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and people on the run from Nazis.
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  • Issue Number Volume 22 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In memory of the poet Ai, whose work appears in this issue (and which I had not happened upon in a long, long time) and who died just this past March of cancer, let me begin this review with an excerpt from what is likely to be the last poem of hers I’ll see in a current issue of a magazine, “I’m the Only One Here”:
  • Issue Number Number 86
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The rainstorm that thrashed its way across the Northeast in March was just delivering its final punishing blows to the tri-state region when I read Christine Tobin’s “Exhale,” winner of the The Greensboro Review’s Amon Liner Poetry Prize. She captures well the anxiety before and sense of strangeness and near disassociation during a storm of great magnitude, and then the return to routine, in this case one that is symbolic of the death and destruction of the everyday, the cycle of life with or without storms, the return to normalcy as a return to a cycle of expected devastation on some level:
  • Issue Number Volume 18
  • Published Date 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The stories and poems in this issue are unpredictable and surprising. They move in unexpected and original ways and come to unimagined conclusions.
  • Subtitle Youth
  • Issue Number Volume 9
  • Published Date Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Who could resist the cover art of this publication? Themed “Youth,” I had to keep reminding myself of that as I read the works in this issue, so varied were the contents and perspectives on this theme. Favs in poetry include “Why I Gave Up Mysticism” in thirteen parts by Sean Lause which combines concrete narrative with its own mystical rhetoric: “and ate Eskimo Pies / that wept down our shirts / as we listened to intricate crickets / design the dark.” And Ruth Kessler’s “Valediction” which presents the adult child’s departure from the parental point of view: “into your eager hands we would like to press everything we / have paid for so dearly at life’s roadside bazaar.” Michael Leong’s personification in “Blackboard” left me smiling, grade school memories replenished, while Jeremy Byars “The Last Time I Saw Her,” a boy’s recollection of most innocently being the last witness, left me haunted with so many childhood warnings about strangers.
  • Issue Number Number 74
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
I would move to Canada just for the magazines, Geist among them. Geist is published in Vancouver (one of North America’s most creative cities on so many levels), and I don’t imagine it’s easy to find this side of the border, especially on the east coast. But, I doubt they’d turn down your subscription! And I doubt you’ll be sorry if you subscribe.
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  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
There is a point in the conversation between poets Adam Clay and Timothy Donnelly in this issue of Grist where they are discussing truthfulness in poetry. Both poets agree that when reading a poem it doesn't really matter to them whether what's happening in the poem comes directly from the poet's life or not, whether it is “true” to life outside the poem. But then Donnelly brings up the issue of what to do when you, as a poet, do want to “engage with realities outside the poem in a sincere way.” How do you communicate this to a reader? As Donnelly so pithily remarks, “it’s not like you can use a special font for sincerity.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 23 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue opens with terrific translations of the work of Syrian poet Adonis (Ali Ahmad Said Esber) from Khaled Mattawa, from the book Al-Mutabaqat wal-al-Awa’il (Similarities and Beginnings), published in 1980. These poems are, according to an introductory essay by Mattawa, a departure from the poet’s earlier interest in longer forms, and they demonstrate his skill with the short lyric. They are tightly, and expertly, constructed, with lush imagery, despite their taut shape. Here is “The Beginning of Death” in its entirety:
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  • Issue Number Number 56
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Gargoyle came into being in 1976. It was started to put light on “unknown poets and writers, and the overlooked.” It bravely began as a monthly, with not much more than a handful of poems, short stories and nonfiction and “graphics”; but it began with quality. For example, its first issue boasted a poem from the then-unknown budding young poet named Jim Daniels. It slowly grew larger over time until it became the huge beast of a literary magazine it is today. It has continued to have quality poets and writers.
  • Issue Number Volume 63 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Jeff Gundy's essay, "Hard Books," in this issue of The Georgia Review says, "Sturdy cloth covers, it is true, rarely house the most daring experiments or frontal assaults on literary norms." He is right, of course, and his quote is somewhat appropriate for Georgia Review. I didn't find much daring work here, nothing that shattered my perceptions of poetry and writing, though there is much to enjoy. Gundy also says in this essay "persistence over time is still real, and ... being of the moment is not the only value." So, there it is.
  • Issue Number Number 50
  • Published Date 2005
Gargoyle is the collection eclectic was invented for. Its contents include—in addition to the cartoon frontispiece by Patricia Storms offering aid and comfort to writers everywhere, and several photographic portraits—the non-fiction "Berkley Morning," an excerpt from Phillip Henry Christopher's Trippin' with Charlie and "Dreaming Richard Brautigan" by Greg Keeler.
  • Issue Number Number 83
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Inside The Greensboro Review’s simple cover is complex fiction and poetry. The first poem and story – “The Voice Before” by Melody S. Gee and “The Glass Mountain” by Aimee Pokwatka are Robert Watson Prize winners. Pokwatka's story weaves a thematic fairytale told by an aunt into a story about a young woman, her sister, and her lover. The language is delightful: “It was a stupid question, but we forgave him because his eyes were the color of a sandstorm, and he sat still as an injured bird.”
  • Issue Number Issue 66
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Glimmer Train delivers a journal stock full of great stories. In this issue, the sometimes unusual jobs of characters seem as central to the stories as the characters themselves. The jobs both define the characters and the time periods as well as propel the plots forward.
  • Issue Number Number 52
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I slid Gargoyle into my CD player. The colorful, beat-inspired cover assured me that “Poetry is the bomb, baby,” and I hoped that I would agree. Of course, I immediately thought about my past experiences with making “mixed tapes” and how difficult it can be when you’re only sticking with one genre, let alone many. However, after listening to the CD in its entirety, I knew that the editors of Gargoyle had done far more than compose a simple “mixed tape.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Gris-Gris is a new online journal featuring poetry, fiction, and art. “We see the gris-gris as a rich symbol of creative cultural borrowing and blending,” write the editors, “an emblem of the unique mix of cultures that have shaped southern Louisiana. The gris-gris shares the root inspiration of the creative arts: the casting and the breaking of the spell.”
  • Issue Number Volume 21 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
When I tried to think of an adjective to describe this issue of The Gettysburg Review, the closest that came to mind was eclectic. No prevailing theme or esthetic tied together these wonderful essays, stories and poems.
  • Issue Number Volume 62 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
From the essays to the poetry and fiction, war and 9/11 are recurrent themes in this issue of The Georgia Review. The essays – by Ihad Hassan, Reg Saner and Elizabeth Dodd – all examine current and past world crises, from fundamentalism in literature to a reminiscence by a Korean War vet. In Dodd’s essay, she meets an Iraqi poet who wrestles with disturbing images of war and suffering.
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