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  • Issue Number Issue 7
  • Published Date 2017
  • Publication Cycle Annual

Little Star 7 is understated, well-designed, bulky at nearly 400 pages, and packed with quality. The cover features “Blueblack Cold XIII” by Alison Hall, a work of subtle beauty best described by its title. The issue’s poetry is strong but mainly safe, invoking familiar gods and wonder at the workings of the world.

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  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date 2018
  • Publication Cycle Annual

Having traveled down south on numerous occasions, I have found there is much to love about North Carolina. Lou Lit Review adds to that adoration, a new international journal of fiction and poetry published at Louisburg College. While a slim inaugural installment, with solid mentorship from the editors of Raleigh Review, Lou Lit has established itself with resounding force. As Co-editors Tampathia Evans and Tommy Jenkins express in the Editors’ Note: “Lou Lit is still ‘becoming’ and we are not quite sure what we are as of yet. What we do know is that we will continue to publish writers whose work represents the complexity of the human condition and makes us want to read on.” Absolutely.

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  • Issue Number Issue 12
  • Published Date August 2017
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online

Connecticut-based, online Lime Hawk provides readers with “creative works that muse on environment, culture, and sustainability.” Issue 12 contains 15 pieces of poetry, prose, art, and filmography, and the website has a calm and quiet theme, gray text boxes floating over a mountain scene, which further sets the mood for the new work.

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  • Published Date June 2017
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly online

There’s that famous line in Forrest Gump that many people (even people who haven’t seen the film) will know: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” That’s honestly what went on in my mind while reading through the latest issue of Literary Juice. The most current issue has four poems, one fiction piece, and one super-micro story comprised of only 25 words (which is a neat concept unto itself) under a heading labeled “Pulp.”

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  • Published Date July 2017
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online

Living in Michigan, it's hard not to be near water. Surrounded by the Great Lakes and oodles of smaller inland lakes and rivers, residents are never farther than a few miles from fresh water. Whether one enjoys swimming, fishing, kayaking, or tanning on the sidelines, they never need to travel far. The Lake, the online, UK-based, poetry magazine, fulfills a similar function: editor John Murphy provides readers with poetry and book reviews that refresh and entertain. With a new issue arriving every month, readers are never very far away from new poems.

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  • Issue Number Number 34
  • Published Date July 2016
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

Nicole Kimberling has done the research and found that “some pumpkins would rather not be pie. Four out of ten gourds interviewed [ . . . ] stated they would much rather be processed into a savory dish.” Kimberling’s recipe for Pumpkin Mushroom Moussaka is just one of the ways Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet (LCRW) expands the definition of speculative literature. This issue combines dark themes with lighthearted wonder, and stunning world building with bizarre absurdism.

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  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Annual

Instead of an editor’s note, Lalitamba begins: “This journal is an offering. May all beings be joyful and free.” Lalitamba (meaning Divine Mother) features nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and art speaking to a diversity of religious and spiritual traditions. Lalitamba opens us up to belief in all its forms, especially our connection to other beings across difference.

  • Issue Number Volume 22 Number 3
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2006
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Lake Effect, an annual journal published by Pennsylvania State Erie, features an eclectic selection of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. This issue includes the winners of the Sonnenberg Poetry Award, the Rebman Fiction Award, and the Farrell Nonfiction award, plus brief paragraphs stating the judge’s reasons for selecting the winning manuscripts. Both winners in the prose categories are short pieces, two to three pages, and lush and surreal in tone. R.M. Evans’s “Seahorse,” the nonfiction winner, is a particularly innovative look at the author’s recurring dreams and filled with unique imagery, “I feel my alveoli distend like spinose balloon fish.”
  • Issue Number Number 58
  • Published Date Fall 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue's guest editors, Crystal Wilkinson, a professor of creative writing at the University of Indiana, and award-winning poet, Debra Kang Dean, have selected four stories, five essays, and fifty pages of poetry by established and emerging writers. I was struck by the volume's unifying tone, which might be best described as poignant — quiet, traditional work, deeply felt, writing that is both psychologically astute and moving. Edmund August gets my vote for the most poignant title in the issue, perhaps for one of the most poignant titles of all-time: "How Will We Know Which One of Us Died First?"
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  • Issue Number Volume 58 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Flight, as a magazine theme, can suggest numerous interpretations including a state of transition, a secret passage, or confronting the unknown, according to TLR: The Literary Review Editor Kate Munning. She, along with her crew, chose several pieces to reflect this broad theme.
  • Issue Number Volume 47, Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2004
The Literary Review had a strange, other-worldly feel to it, the stories and poems a mixture of reality and surrealism. It’s some of the best damn writing I’ve read in awhile. I’ve rarely encountered a story as disturbing as “The Child,” by Edgar Brau, which depicts five women who are jailed shortly after giving birth to children. They must hide themselves behind hoods when their jailers approach; the punishment for failing to do so is death. Each woman, one by one, is taken away, presumably for execution, but not before the jailers send the women dolls as “replacements” for the babies that were taken from them. No explanation is given as to context for this story, or why these women and not others, or anything else; the women themselves have no understanding. This off-world is reality, and you must accept it on its own terms. Other noteworthy stories and poems include “The Widow in Her Weeds,” by W.J. Thornton; “Walker Percy in the Desert,” by William Miller; and “Polar Animal” by James Grinwis. [The Literary Review, 285 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940. E-mail: http://www.theliteraryreview.org/] - JP
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  • Issue Number Number 38
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Annual
For their final print issue, after the recent passing of their editor and publisher, Csaba Polony, Left Curve provides readers with a strong collection of essays, poetry, and a variety of other musings, including a play and an interview with artists Victor and Margarita Tupitsyn. Although the journal will continue to make use of their website, the final hard copy, like Dylan Thomas suggests in his canonized villanelle, does not go gentle into that good night. The selections are designed, written, and selected by thinkers.
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  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Beth Mead, the editor of The Lindenwood Review, asserts that “the pieces we’ve selected this year are fragmented, showing us moments caught and suspended for our study, helping us find some truths about life through an unexpected point of view.” The Lindenwood Review most certainly holds true to Mead’s statement as each work within the magazine not only enticed me to read its content, but drew me to a level of self-reflection that left me wonderstruck.

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  • Issue Number Number 16
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual

The Labletter “has its roots in the Oregon Lab, the name given to a group of artists and their annual gathering.” The magazine began as a way for these artists to stay in contact and share work, and in 2008 it went public—a move fortunate for audiences who care about sophistication, quality, and commitment to art.

In this issue, you’ll find generously-reproduced art, from the front cover inward; exquisite short stories; three beautifully-crafted essays, on collage, theater, and clogging; and fifteen strong poems by four inspired poets.

The Literary Review’s editors chose to begin their fiftieth anniversary year with a translation issue. They also chose Robert Pinsky to write an introduction to translation. And what an introduction it is. I have been a fan of Pinsky since I first read his poem “Shirt” for a workshop. That the former poet laureate has also translated Dante’s Inferno and Czeslaw Milosz’s The Separate Notebooks enables him to speak like the sage that budding translators need. “Translation is also the highest, most intense form of reading,” says he, in “On Translation.” For Pinsky, it is “also the only art that is like writing.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Putting together a literary journal filled with quality work is a challenging task. Putting together one issue of a journal with a theme is even more difficult. Launching a journal that hopes to focus on entirely on one subject must seem impossible! When I first heard about The LBJ: Avian Life, Literary Arts Journal, I was intrigued by the moxy behind it and simply had to check it out. Could this journal really be all about birds?
  • Issue Number Volume 63
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Sorrow, loss and grief are recurring themes among the solid fiction in this issue of The Louisville Review. In Amy Tudor’s “Mourning Cloak,” a parent mourns the loss of a still-born child. Troy Ehlers’s “The Tide of Night” is a character study of a Vietnam Vet grappling with a traumatic past. Equally sad, Cate McGowan’s “How Can You Title Longing” skillfully weaves poetry and narrative as a shopper at a flea market finds an old book of poems. The story alternates between the present day and yesteryear scenes from the life of the poet.
I was filled with both excitement and apprehension when I received my Summer 2011 issue of Lilipoh in the mail. This issue is entitled “When Disaster Strikes,” and the words “Radiation,” “Anxiety,” and “Emergency” jumped off the cover at me. As someone who feels particularly in-tune with many of the natural and man-made disasters that have occurred around the world in recent years, and as someone who feels a bit of trepidation when I ponder the future my generation appears to be leaving for our children, I already have more than my share of anxiety. However, I was reassured by what I found inside this magazine—a common perspective and some tips for helping to change our current course.
  • Issue Number Issue 6
  • Published Date Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
My two major complaints about numerous online literary magazines are: 1. They are so confusing and disorganized that finding anything takes diligent detective work; 2. The stories are boring and the poetry is derivative and lacking in creativity. I am happy to say that this young journal manages to avoid these pitfalls. Lowestoft Chronicle’s website is nicely laid out and there is wide variation of reading material.
  • Issue Number Number 29
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The Long Story is, according to its website, “the only literary magazine in America devoted strictly” to stories of between 8000 and 20,000 words. The magazine is “not likely to accept literary experimentation,” editorial taste runs to the deeply human, estranged but involved, and it wants its voices respectful and compassionate. These qualities infuse the nine superb stories in this issue. Somewhere between short story and novella, each of them requires an investment of time and thought on the part of the reader—and each gives a remarkable return.
  • Issue Number Volume 23 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Far more than a survey of literary Louisiana, this university journal collects fiction and poetry from West Virginia to the Ozarks. Perfect-bound in a firm, glossy cover as arresting as any book, though more scholarly-looking than most lit mags, each issue comes crowned with a striking color photograph. If the cover is the front door, the photo is the welcome mat, so come on in.
A long story has the possibility of incorporating a handful of moments, and spanning a story over a considerable length of time. The narrative space of three pages might not allow for an engaging tale spanning several years as much as twelve to twenty pages do. One common theme running through the stories in this issue is that of entrapment. Protagonists are incarcerated in three of the eight stories, while in another a girl is branded with the letter “J” on her forehead. Three gems in the collection are Shawn Hutchens’s “Midnight and the Fleeing Phoenix,” Peter Chilson’s “Toumani Ogun” and Bruce Douglas Reeves’s “You Only Live Once.” Chilson’s story is a chilling and funny take on Africa’s multiple problems, and the continuing hopelessness of Western aid organizations in their ability to understand the situation, let alone bring it under control. Reeves’s Prohibition-era first-person narrative of a luckless bootlegger is tastefully layered with the antithesis of ordinary situations: a flood that smashes the protagonist’s booze-laden truck and also his future, and the way he hunkers down in a movie theater afterwards, plagued with hunger and danger as equal threats. Hutchens manages to create a credible bull (the animal) with feelings—no mean feat, even in a non-fabulous long story.
  • Issue Number Volume 53 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue is themed “The Therapy Issue” with a disclaimer that they “promise it won’t cure you.” Instead, this compilation of poems, short stories, and an essay offers multiple views into the human psyche.
  • Issue Number Volume 43 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In this issue, an essay by Lisa Ohlen Harris most stirs my mind, encouraging me to return for a second and third look. I like her outlook on life as much as the writing itself. In the piece entitled “Exiles,” the author ponders the death of her father-in-law. She lives in Jordan with her husband and two children, one a newborn. When her husband returns to the U.S. for her father-in-law’s funeral, leaving her alone, she becomes contemplative about her father-in-law’s anger toward religion that alienated him from his three sons, who chose to become Protestants. She also mourns the hope, now lost, that the relationships may be mended. The piece explores challenging family relationships, feelings of being cut off by distance and religion, and then expands to discuss broken ties between nations and with the land. I loved the history, as research abounds in the piece.
  • Issue Number Number 43
  • Published Date Winter 2003-2004
If you’ve ever wondered where all the Dorothy Parkers have gone, they’re submitting poems to Light, wearing glasses, seldom receiving passes, and all.
  • Issue Number Volume 38 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2004
The Laurel Review is unpretentious and reliable, qualities not to be underestimated in these precarious times, especially when that means poems like Susan Ludvingson's "Barcelona, The Spanish Civil War: Alfonso Laurencic Invents Torture by Art": "We know the body can be made / to lose its recollections birthed in music / its desire for bread / and sex, its only remaining wish / confession // Who'd have guessed how easily / the brain opens its many mouths / to red."
  • Issue Number Number 31
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This is the twentieth anniversary issue and I can’t think of a better birthday present than a poem as heartbreakingly skillful as Jennifer K. Sweeney’s “Something Like Love,” winner of last year’s Poetry Awards. It’s deceptively simple and deceptively good, sounding, at first, like it might be one more casual conversation masquerading as verse, (“In our kitchen” the poem begins), which it most definitely is not (“Dinner time-traveled us to the unfinished, the unclaimed. / We ate the past. // Though we never spoke of it, my sisters and I, / we were all under the regime of the rotting.”) “Something Like Love” merges the twin absences of food and love and expresses the pain of an undernourished (nurtured) childhood with a kind of restraint and grace that is rare and impressive – and utterly memorable.
  • Issue Number Volume 27 Number 1
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Louisiana Literature’s latest publication features two short stories and poems by two dozen poets who all, in one way or another, want to be clearly, directly, and immediately understood. Here, for example, are excerpts from Marguerite Bouvard’s “Human Landscape,” translating a tender painting of a moment:
  • Issue Number Volume 7 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Though death – “the leavings of stories,” say the editors – is the theme of this issue of The Los Angeles Review, the work is quite lively, nevertheless. The relationship to the general theme is expansively considered, beginning with the reprinting of a poem by Judy Grahn (also the subject of a special feature essay) on the infamously dead Marilyn Monroe.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2005
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The auspicious debut issue of Lorraine and James compliments its diverse fiction with personal essays, some poetry, one interview and a contributor’s page that offers a brief explanation of the story’s inspiration and/or development.
  • Issue Number Volume 7
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Luna, which is just the right size to conveniently slip into a purse, offers up multiple works by such poets as Mark Conway, Sara McCallum, Dobby Gibson, Rigoberto Gonzáles, and Crystal Williams, among others. The editors’ preference is for free verse, some so free, in fact, as to cross the boundary into prose. For example, Denise Duhamel’s “You’re Looking at the Love Interest” is a wonderful anecdote set on the page to look like a poem. And while the most basic requisite of a poem is that length of the line be determined by the content, I gravitate toward verse that uses a variety of poetic devices.
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  • Issue Number Number 31
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Reading a long short story is a special process somewhere between starting up slow and circling around for the long haul, as you do for a novel, and nabbing on the fly the conflict and character quirks thrown out by the early paragraphs of a short story which are swiftly brought to some end. So I respect and admire the unique mission of The Long Story: to publish stories of eight to twenty thousand words (most between eight and twelve thousand) and let the reader develop a relationship with the ideas and people unfolding between the first and twenty-thousandth words.
This new literary magazine, by the same people who run independent Red Hen Press, brings to life the vibrant literary scene of L.A.
  • Issue Number Number 27
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This journal is, not the least surprisingly, composed almost entirely by long, short stories. It was a joy to read, and it is my sincere hope that, at the end of this review, I will have convinced you to purchase a copy.
  • Issue Number Volume 2 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
If you pick up this issue of Lilies and Cannonballs Review, I encourage you to read the last essay, Arthur Saltzman's "In Praise of Pointlessness," first.
  • Issue Number Number 66
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Spalding University (where the journal is published) guest faculty editors Kathleen Driskell, Kirby Gann, Charlie Schulman, Luke Wallin, and guest editor Betsy Wood, a Spalding University MFA Program alum, have selected the work of 22 poets, four fiction writers, an equal number of nonfiction writers, two playwrights, and five young writers (for the “Children’s Corner") for this issue. There is much solid, competently composed work here from writers who publish widely and consistently in fine journals.
  • Issue Number Number 25
  • Published Date May 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Upon finding Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet on the review list, there was but one response I could make – SQUEE!!!
The Literary Review has an emphasis on international writing.
  • Issue Number Issue 11
  • Published Date Autumn 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Lowestoft Chronicle is about travel, but it’s not necessarily a travel log. The characters in the stories, in the poems, are on journeys—journeys in physical space or journeys in the heart and mind.
  • Issue Number Issue 33
  • Published Date Summer-Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The latest issue of The Ledge is dense. Not hard to get through, not incomprehensible; I mean actually dense. At just over 300 pages, it’s their longest issue to date. And while it’s certainly understandable (and often enjoyable) that most literary journals break up their included works with artwork, book reviews, etc., sometimes it’s nice to just read pages and pages and pages of fiction and poetry. Especially when the pieces are as stylistically varied and well-written as those in The Ledge.
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  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
The feel and writing of Literal Latte, a magazine that has been “serving up a stimulating brew since 1994,” are authentic. All of the work is quality and well worth the read. And what’s even better is that this issue features contest winners—the best of the best.
  • Issue Number Volume 11 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2004
To be lynx-eyed is to possess very keen sight, an attribute this magazine’s contributors bring to their considerations of (a sometimes remarkably disguised) human nature.
The second issue of The Land-Grant College Review is an interesting thing to behold: it features some charming old-timey illustrations by Joy Kolitsky, but its ten stories are anything but old-fashioned.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2004
Lilies & Cannonballs Review “seeks to create a space for the synthesis of contrary elements: aesthetically driven and socially conscious literature and art; traditional and experimental forms; crazy-man conservative and bleeding liberal views.”
  • Issue Number Volume 7
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Under the direction of faculty members Matthea Harvey and Martha Rhodes, talented poets in their own right, students at Sarah Lawrence College produce this terrific journal, now in its seventh year. Current and former Sarah Lawrence teachers, undergraduate and MFA students (Gery Albarelli, Lucy Cottrell, Gillian Cummings, Kathy Curto, Todd Dillard, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Robert Perry Ivey, Marie-Elizabeth Mali, Stuart Spencer, Alexis Sullivan, Tricia Taaca, and Chris Wiley) are joined by an impressive group of poets, nonfiction and fiction writers, and photographers unaffiliated with the college, including Nick Carbó, Denise Duhamel, Eamon Grennan, and Paul Muldoon, among others. Nonfiction contest winner, Seth Raab, whose piece, “Heart Failures” was selected by Mark Singer, makes his first ever appearance in print here. His essay is tender, lovingly constructed, and expertly paced, so let’s hope this is the first of many successes.
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  • Issue Number Issue 16
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
This issue of Lines + Stars is the perfect introduction to winter, as in some poems, the snow has already fallen and is already deep, and in others, it has only just begun. Many of the pieces are reminiscent of the holidays, with the sounds, smells, and tastes of the seasons. They all have vivid imagery that brings the poetry to life. See, for example, these lines from Dan Ferrara: “dancing red from ice and vodka, / juggling knives and strangling accordions.” And:
  • Issue Number Volume 9
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This issue begins with a simple question, but Susan Nisenbaum Becker’s “What If?” is a complex amalgamation of blessings that might just change everything, but that ends with a rather sobering wondering. For instance, she writes,
  • Issue Number Volume 20
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Literal is a bilingual journal published three times a year in Houston, Texas. It’s a large-format, glossy, visually impressive publication of political reflection, artwork, fiction, scholarly essays, book reviews, interviews, poetry, and commentary. The current issue is dedicated to the intellectual as a “contemporary pensive figure.” The exploration begins with the cover photo of a sculpture by Mexican artist Victor Rodríguez, “White Head, 2005,” the head of a man lying on its side, eyes closed. The artist is interviewed (in Spanish) by Tanya Huntington Hyde in the magazine.
  • Issue Number Issue 18
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Most of the poetry in this issue is exemplified by Nico Alvarado’s “I Dream I Dreamt a Form”:
  • Issue Number Volume 46 Number 1
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Laurel Review is another solid literary journal from the “Show Me State.” The editors and interns present a collection of strong works without fanfare or pretension. They are simply looking for good writing, and that’s exactly what you can expect to see in their latest issue.
  • Published Date December 2012/January 2013
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly online
Literary Juice publishes literature in small sips. There are short stories, flash fiction, pulp fiction, and poetry.
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  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date March 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In the foreword to the first issue of Lost in Thought, published in July 2011, Editor-in-Chief Kyle Schruder explains that his modus operandi was to contact writers and visual artists, solicit either previously completed or new work, and pair images with fiction of 1500 words or less. If a writer submitted a finished story, Schruder approached an interested artist with the option to make a new work based on that story; if an artist submitted a completed photograph or drawing, Schruder approached an interested writer with the option to write a story based on that image. The pairings should “create something entirely new,” according to the current website. They should inspire the imagination. They should lead you, or permit you, to lose yourself in thought.
  • Issue Number Issue 16
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
LITnIMAGE fuses flash fiction with edgy visual art to make a quirky online mag. My favorite piece from this issue is Justin Lawrence Daughtery’s “The Lobster Queen” which uses the symbol of the last lobster left in the tank at the grocery store to represent a young woman’s view on life. I loved the subtle hints and details, the interactions between the narrator and her sister and father, and the language that is used throughout. I was eager to read on after the first paragraph:
  • Issue Number Volume 41 Number 2
This issue of The Laurel Review contains mainly poetry but also has a few selections of fiction, essays, and book reviews.
  • Subtitle The Review of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics
  • Issue Number Volume 8 Number 3
  • Published Date Fall 2006
  • Publication Cycle annual
Any journal sponsored by the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics is going to require a decent amount of attention to enjoy. And this issue seems to take academic contentiousness one step further by first devoting an entire issue to Virgil, and then, in the second paragraph of the introduction, claiming that Virgil’s influence in the practical arena has diminished to the point of irrelevance—not even Harold Bloom can find use for Virgil in his canon. If that sentence sounds like cannon-fodder for the deeply cynical, pointing to the essays may quiet the booms slightly. Why doesn’t Virgil appeal to us in these imperialistic times? To be perfectly (unfortunately) consumerist (or Franzenian) about it, perhaps it’s American pragmatism that’s to blame. We want our reading to “multi-task” for us. The Aneid, we know, is an analysis of Empire; and we, as readers, are interested in how his classical conception coincides with our image of America. However, we are disappointed to find that the Aneid is not prescriptive of Republican ideals of Government, as its conception of violence (a necessary prerequisite for Empire) is entirely unlike our own. It is seen primordial and incapable of destroying either the spiritual or physical sustenance of life: a literary, as opposed to lived violence, alien to a contemporary culture accustomed to conceiving of war as a totalizing experience.
  • Issue Number Volume 11 Number 6
  • Published Date Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
From its bright cover—red and blue feet on a purple background—to the wide pages and spacious spreads of its interior layout, to the quirkiness of the stories and poems found within, LIT shimmers with youthful energy. The poetry is plentiful and tends toward the surreal.
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  • Issue Number Number 19
  • Published Date November 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
“Maybe all of our stories are really about love…saying ‘Beware: this is the terror that is love. Here there be monsters.’” This is taken from “You Were Neither Hot Nor Cold but Lukewarm, so I Spit You Out,” wherein the Famous and Talented Horror Author must confront the monster that nightly devours him.
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  • Issue Number Volume 12
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
You will need a pen and paper for this one. Two columns. Two Nobel laureates. Two radically different approaches to prose. In the first column, we have Faulkner and the Gospel of John. In the second column, we have Hemingway and the architectural concept that form follows function. Many journals published today feature prose that ascribes to one camp more than the other. But Lumina seems to capture the two styles precisely down the middle. The balance is perfect: in the fiction column, we have three of each and two that cross camps. In the nonfiction column, we have twenty-five percent Faulkner, seventy-five percent Hemingway (which makes sense considering he was a journalist with a night job), one excellent satire, and one chiseled memoir of sex and acid in the 1980s.
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  • Issue Number Issue 5
  • Published Date January 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Lingerpost offers a fruit salad of poetry (some long, some round, some sweet, and some are fun to utter out loud—like kumquat or papaya) and accepts a wide variety so long as it, as the editors say, is “interesting.” Well, there is certainly a lot of interesting poems in this collection, in several different forms.
  • Issue Number Volume 11
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of The Los Angeles Review is packed with nonfiction, fiction, poetry, interviews, reviews, and even a special feature on John Rechy. At just under 300 pages, it is truly a wonder how the editors were able to include so many genres and forms. Rechy was impossibly lucky to have the first piece of fiction he submitted be published. He was a gay hustler who needed physical affection, even after becoming a successful writer. His writing is poignant, vivid, and mesmerizing, here is a little taste included in the magazine:
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The Labletter is the product of a small group of artists in Oregon who wrote together for ten years before inviting formal submissions. At its core, the Lab was a place where artists could experiment with their work and benefit from the group’s diverse mediums. The journal’s fourth annual issue stays true to its Oregon Lab roots—it is steeped in nature, whether captured by the photographer, the novelist, the poet, or the painter.
  • Issue Number Number 68
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Guest editors Philip F. Deaver (fiction), Nancy McCabe (nonfiction), and Kelly Moffett (poetry) join drama editor, Charlie Schulman, and Louisville Review editor Sena Jeter Naslund to offer up yet another notable issue. From accomplished poets Eleanor Wilner, Stephen Dunn, and Frederick Smock—among many others—to the surprising accomplishments of poems in the “Children’s Corner,” featuring work more polished and successful than one expects from high school students, this is a particularly appealing issue.
  • Issue Number Volume 54 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The theme for this is “Refrigerator Mothers: ‘Just happening to defrost enough to produce a child’…and other things we said that we wish we could take back,” and I would recommend it to any writer who is a mother or expecting mother. The issue includes short stories and poems from the perspective of mothers and some from the perspective of the writer thinking back on their mother. “A Good Day,” an essay by Jessie van Eerden, is a moving, detailed look at the seemingly ordinary, everyday aspects of her mother that defined her.
  • Issue Number Volume 14
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Examining the inside of Lake Effect’s back cover will inform the reader of the journal’s standards. It “publishes [fiction] that emerges from character and language as much as from plot.” Always a fan of the character-driven piece, I was delighted to discover that this standard was adhered to carefully.
  • Issue Number Volume 29 Number 1
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In journalism, the number of inches designated to a story or part of an article would be considered as political as the words themselves. In this way, excluding coverage was the best offense, and the arrangement of objects, ideas or celebrity becomes a politics of space. I enjoyed this issue of Louisiana Literature: a Review of Literature and the Humanities, affiliated with Southeastern Louisiana University, because of some of these kinds of editorial decisions that relate to a particular politics of space. The issue’s judicious arrangement of poems and stories become miles of ink dedicated to the issues central to our lives, not just the parents and the lovers and the dumpster divers, but to those miles of shoreline splashed with oil, against a decimated New Orleans skyline.
  • Issue Number Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
As far as inaugural issues are concerned, The Liner’s maiden voyage couldn’t have gone much smoother. The journal includes short fiction, poetry, art, and photography along with an original questionnaire that corresponds to each author bio.
  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date January 2008
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly
Low Rent is a little magazine with a lot of heart. It put out its first issue in January and plans on publishing six times a year. Issues 1 and 2 are already out with Issue 3 in the works.
  • Issue Number Volume 25 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The special fiction issue of Louisiana Literature is full of ghosts. Each of the ten stories focuses on loss and loneliness. Together, they present a compelling picture of all the ways we get abandoned: by lovers, family members, pets, and even by our own sense of right and wrong.
“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry,” wrote Emily Dickinson.
  • Issue Number Volume 61
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The current issue of The Louisville Review contains a fascinating interview with W.S. Merwin. Merwin was a guest author at Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA program in the Fall of 2006.
  • Issue Number Number 30
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Ledge lives up to its name. Unsparing, unafraid, and with a disdain for pretensions, this journal prefers writing that flashes some kind of edge. Sometimes, as in Kennedy Weible’s offbeat story, “Obedience School,” that edge takes the form of dark humor – culminating in the bizarre chaos experienced by a young couple at a dog’s funeral. Other times, that edge illuminates sad realities like child sexual abuse (Suzanne Clores’ “Scary Monsters in the Dark”) or human alienation (Michael Leone, “Bad in Bed”; Franny French, “The Heights.”) Many of the poems concern issues related to the body, sex, and self-destruction. A few, like Philip Dacey’s “Wildly At Home: Her Rhapsody,” skirt lurid borders: “So I mounted him. / I was on top and he was blind – what more / could any modern woman want of power?” Coming from a male poet, this question begs many responses, not all of which will second its vicarious assumptions. Al Sim’s story, “Big Empty Tuesday,” takes similar liberties, needlessly oversexualizing its main female character.
  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
I am not a native Californian. I was raised in the great state of Missouri, thank you very much, and it is a state that I sorely miss sometimes. This is why it was an immense pleasure to find in my mailbox The Lindenwood Review, a literary journal from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri. It was like receiving a love letter from a friend I haven’t heard from in years. Cultural biases aside, the inaugural issue of this university press features a strong line-up of fiction, poetry, and essays from various talents across the country and abroad.
  • Issue Number Number 74-75
  • Published Date Autumn/Winter 2011-2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Near the end of the latest issue of Light—which is twenty years old and probably the most important venue for humorous verse in the country—there is a note saying that unless financial support or volunteer editors come forward, the upcoming issue will be its last.
I know it’s not polite to talk about politics, and there’s hardly a gray zone in the polarized debate regarding politics in this country right now, but the Long Story is specifically political, so it bears discussion.
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The 2009 edition of Limestone is titled “Legacy Obscura,” which I assume is a reference to the “camera obscura,” a device used to project images onto a screen, which led to the invention of photography. It’s a relevant title. This issue is ripe with photography and other visual arts, as well as poems and stories that create verbal images of legacy. What is a legacy? Is it something we’re born with? Do we carry it with us? Editor Rebecca Beach says “what we are and what we will be hinges on our past.” This journal examines that past. The past is where we come from and informs the future. The speakers of these poems and stories share their personal memories, yet they are universal and timeless.
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  • Published Date June/July 2013
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly
The London Magazine (TLM) upholds a high standard of tone, diction, and point of view. The oldest cultural journal in the United Kingdom, TLM began publication in 1732; it has published a list of writers that includes Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats, T. S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Dylan Thomas and Doris Lessing. This issue contains essays on a variety of cultural topics, including eight lengthy book reviews, as well as poetry by seven fine poets and one short story. The volume is clean and sharp in appearance; inside, the text is pleasing to the eye, neither too small nor too large, and well-spaced on the page. Color reproductions of the latest paintings by Pakistani artist Jamil Naqsh grace the cover and comprise a special section within the issue. An excerpt from the commentary, by venerable art critic Edward Lucie-Smith, will give an indication of the tone of the magazine:
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  • Issue Number Issue 32
  • Published Date Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Literal sets out to “provide a medium for the critique and diffusion of the Latin American literature and art,” and, at least in this issue, it is heavy on critique. Unlike the majority of literary magazines I am familiar with, most of Literal consists of short critical articles, with subjects ranging from a Picasso exhibit, to Philip Roth’s retirement, to social movements in Spain and Mexico. Its pointed reader is probably bilingual: while many pieces are presented with side-by-side Spanish and English versions, some are not, though the magazine offers English and Spanish translations of the others upon request.
One of the most attractive journals I’ve seen in a great while, Louisiana Literature gets straight to the point – delivering prize-winning poetry in a range of styles, a nice helping of short fiction, and a few critical essays and reviews – all in a lovely, understated layout.
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This is, by far, the most diverse literary magazine I’ve ever encountered. On the Labletter’s introductory pages are art images, followed by fiction, photography, a feature on an improvisational acting company, which includes a scene from their improv play based on Greek tragedy. Finally, under a heading as broad as Gallery, there are photos, art of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional sort, more fiction, and a few poems. That the magazine comes with an equally diverse CD is as astonishing as reading the print edition is.
  • Issue Number Issue 12
  • Published Date Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Online 3-5 times/year
The editor’s note of Issue 12 of Literary Bohemian promises an escape for summer, urging readers to “let the summer change the equation to x = why.” Through 17 poems, all rich with setting, the issue definitely accomplishes this goal.
  • Issue Number Number 35
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
On the back cover of Left Curve, Franz Kafka proclaims, “The spark which constitutes our conscious life must bridge the gap of the contradiction [between inward and outward] and leap one pole to the other, so that for one moment we can see the world as if revealed in a flash of lightning.” In this issue, authors strive to bridge the gap between the academic and the political, the enlightened intellectual and the deeply philosophical. Unlike other literary journals, Left Curve prides itself on its lofty ambitions of analyzing and even criticizing the effects of cultural modernity. Infused with the fire of devoted and headstrong liberals, many of the essays featured in the magazine cover an array of topics, from the recent Wall Street financial meltdown to the importance of animal equality. The selection and depth of material can be rather daunting, though prepared with the right mindset, can be pleasantly challenging and enlightening.
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date March 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
A brand new online publication, Looseleaf Tea creates a space for emerging and established artists to come together, offering different perspectives and aspects of different cultures. “Looseleaf tea symbolizes a return to roots,” the editors write. “It symbolizes a partiality toward comfort, honesty, and the formation of new bonds with friends and strangers over common ground.”
  • Issue Number Issue 30
  • Published Date August 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
This issue, themed 21st Century Cosmic Cool, was excitedly announced by the editors to be released on the same day as National Sponge Cake Day. In a newsletter, they even shared a gif in celebration, telling readers to come read the “spongiest litmag on the internet.” Although, spongy isn’t exactly the word I’d choose to describe this issue. La Petite Zine isn’t soaking up every poem it encounters, only the interesting, fresh, and arresting poems.
  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Land-Grant College Review, a beautifully produced magazine from New York City, offers a spectrum of strangeness.
  • Issue Number Volume 55 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The 2012 Late Fall issue of The Literary Review is out of control. No, really, the issue is dedicated to loss of control. “Control is an abstraction and a grail,” says Editor Minna Proctor. “Humans are driven to maddening distraction, dangerous and untenable lengths, in pursuit of control. We don’t ever get control, yet we hunt it.” The writers in this issue contribute a great selection of fiction and poetry that examines this hunt and shows how easy it is to lose control.
Brand new, all fiction (plus one interview), advertisement free and gorgeous, the Land-Grant College Review is one of best literary magazines since McSweeney's. The contributors, by and large, are the interesting mid-list authors we don’t find enough on the NYTimes bestseller list—Ron Carlson, Stephen Dixon, Aimee Bender, Robert Olmstead. The artwork by Joy Kolitsky is stunning, from the cover to the two-color title pages preceding each story. There’s an interview with Thisbe Nissen that alone is worth the issue price, even if you’ve no familiarity with her award winning collection of stories or novel or stolen recipe book.
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
When I read recently that a story published in this lit mag had won the Million Writers Award, I decided to give it a closer look. The award is sponsored by the online literary journal, storySouth, and involves a panel of judges reading through seven or eight hundred entries from the web to select a hundred and seventy-five or so for further consideration. Then Jason Sanford, previous editor of storySouth, selects the top ten stories and these are voted on by the public. It is a fairly democratic – if arbitrary – procedure, and the winner of this year’s award is “The Fisherman’s Wife” by Jenny Williams, which appeared in the August 2008 issue of LITnIMAGE.
  • Subtitle Africa Calling
  • Issue Number Volume 52 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The front cover of the “Africa Calling” edition of TLR presents us with the crossroads where Africa presently stands: four young teenage boys walking to schools in uniform, striding down a brown road against the green backdrop of ageless Africa. Modern Africa with its optimism marching forward impatiently while old Africa, with all its problems and lushness, is still there, but receding.
  • Issue Number Number 56-57
  • Published Date Spring-Summer 2007
Light verse is a genre surrounded by contentious debate. Some refuse to call it “poetry,” finding its singsong meters predictable, its whimsical themes facile.
  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The front page of Lalitamba states, “During our travels was born the idea for a literary magazine that would uplift the spirit.” Lalitamba presents within its rich 250 pages a variety of poetry, essays and short fiction that explore faith and spirituality, with writing that is rooted in everything from Buddhism to Christianity. As would be appropriate for a spiritual magazine, Lalitamba opens with a section titled, “Letters and Prayers.” Although short, these are the perhaps the heaviest pieces of writing in the issue. They reflect a profound sense of suffering and loss that would speak to the kinds of readers most drawn to this kind of magazine.
  • Issue Number Volume 13
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Lake Effect is an annual publication out of Penn State featuring fiction, poetry, and literary nonfiction. Arranged in sections by genre, the journal makes for easy negotiating. The book feels large, solid and is printed in easily legible font.
  • Issue Number Volume 59
  • Published Date Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The poetry in The Louisville Review is accomplished-sounding, conventional and predictably “poetic.” The second piece attests to this: “Koi and goldfish drift in languorous bliss.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 74
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
I’ve admitted on several different occasions, perhaps even during previous reviews, that I absolutely judge books by their covers. Sure, maybe this is partially because of laziness, but also I believe a journal’s aesthetic comes through not just in its material, but also in its design. It’s not a strategy I swear by, but very often a journal’s look can be telling of the type of material inside.
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  • Issue Number Number 35
  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Ledge, lyrical and relentlessly beautiful, may lead a reader safely away from any kind of cliff or precipice, despite the suggestion of its title. The connotation for this volume does ring true if one reads ‘ledge’ as an embodiment of ‘edgy,’ but not with the metaphor of a natural feature entailing the risk of falling. The work is precise and challenging and invites further consideration; I examine a few especially rich works here.
  • Issue Number Number 70
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
It’s difficult to pick just one short story as a “favorite” in The Louisville Review’s 70th issue. I’d much rather suggest that a disproportionate number of them are beyond good and deserve accolades. However, a few stood out especially.
  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
An image of a ferocious bear wielding a handsaw at a precise 45-degree angle over a two-by-four greets the reader after opening the handsomely letterpressed cover of The Lumberyard: A magazine for poetry and design. Though slim at thirty-two pages, the magazine is otherwise stuffed with a visual array of black and white cropped text and found art in a copy-job, cut-and-paste style. The layout, with varying font sizes within pages and poems, has the jostled effect of ‘90s television dramas shot by hand-held cams, which may be distracting for some or a fresh sight for others looking for an irreverently-styled magazine.
  • Issue Number Volume 42 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Winter 2008 issue of The Laurel Review is filled with poetry and fiction interested in examining the way thoughtful people try to reconcile themselves with nature while maintaining a special humanity. The poems and stories are imbued with a grounded, tactile love of flora and fauna, gentle breezes and warming sunlight to which we can all relate.
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