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  • Subtitle Focus Review of "Filling the Silence" by Lynnly Damm
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  • Issue Number Volume 4, 2018
  • Published Date Annual

In her editor’s note to Runestone Journal Volume 4, Gretchen Marquette writes about the value of literature and its role in helping us better understand ourselves. Recent research has shown how fiction improves our understanding of the world around us as well as make sense of our own predicaments. Marquette goes on to express this as the power of all literature, and thus the responsibility of writers old and new to “show us the way forward in our private moments of despair.”

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  • Issue Number Volume 41 Number 3
  • Published Date 2018
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

Room, published out of Canada, continues to live by their tagline “literature, art and feminism since 1975.” Room has come a long way from the white, middleclass, lesbian pieces of the 1970s. Editor Leah Golob is proud to say in her Editor’s Letter how “the magazine has taken greater care to feature a more nuanced, inclusive, and intersectional approach to gender and sexuality.” This issue is dedicated to queer writers who are either women or genderqueer. Through fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and art, this issue of Room proclaims queerness that is presented in bodies and in history, a queerness that is today and yesterday and always.

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  • Issue Number Volume 47
  • Published Date Summer 2018
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This month, I had the joy of reading Ruminate’s Summer 2018 issue “Hauntings,” and I know some of these stories will “haunt” me for a long time to come. Ruminate is a reader-supported contemplative literary arts magazine that explores the creativity, beauty, and irony in the human experience. They publish works from the viewpoint of all world religions and spiritualties, although many of the published stories, artwork, and poems do not have an overt connection to faith or spirituality.
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  • Published Date 2018
  • Publication Cycle Annual

Each poem in this issue of RHINO seems to be in the throes of observing disaster or its aftermath and attempting to make sense out of senseless tragedy and sorrow. The result is powerful poetry from beginning to end, some poems so intense that time must pass to allow the turmoil to settle before reading on. Yeats’s haunting phrase “A terrible beauty is born” is apt to apply to these poems. They are beautiful in their lyric distillation of fear, sorrow, and grief, and are fitting in the current social and political climate.

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  • Issue Number Volume 7 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2017
  • Publication Cycle Bianual

The Spring 2017 issue of the Raleigh Review provides its own summary in the editorial preface: it “captures the harmful attempts of the erasure of lineage, erasures of peoples, of civilizations, of families, of languages, of dialects as it relates the self to history and to place.” The poetry, the fiction, and the art direct us to a thoughtful reflection on our times and to an enriching artistic experience.

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  • Issue Number Volume 17 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

“My mother taught me that the dead are among us—look closely and you’ll begin to notice them everywhere . . . The world is full of codes and keys, maps and legends. You wake up one morning, and ask yourself, How is it all connected? The question haunts you for the rest of your life.” (Karen Dietrich’s “Air and Water”). Here lies one of my favorite passages from this issue of River Teeth, a collection of creative nonfiction. And how is this writing all connected? It is, after all, deemed worthy to all fall beneath the same covers. I think it’s the human experience, and the raw need to make an understanding of life’s experiences and mysteries.

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  • Issue Number Volume 12 Number 2
  • Published Date July/August 2016 online
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly

In this technological age, the ping of a new email can at times seem exhaustive, from weekly ads from every place you’ve ever shopped, to growing piles of submissions and chainmail forwards from your mom. But one email to look forward to is the bimonthly announcement for a new issue of Ragazine.CC. Returning from their six-month hiatus, Ragazine.CC brings more to the table than ever before.

  • Issue Number Volume 12 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannua

I've always enjoyed the poetry magazine Rattle for its modernity and humor, its willingness to mix the political, the sublime, and the silly. Each issue, in addition to a selection of poems, reviews, and interviews, contains a special tribute section, and this issue's theme is The Greatest Generation. I loved the plainspoken-ness, the bald, unbeautified statements made in the poems of these elder writers, who maybe don't have it all figured out, as Nan Sherman in “Don't Ask Me Any Questions”:

  • Issue Number Volume 4 Number 2
  • Published Date March/April 2007
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly

So this magazine rambles, big deal! We all do, and for this magazine, it’s a positive quality. What’s original about this magazine is that a portion of the short stories and poems are inspired by artwork and photography that can be found on the magazine’s website. In this issue, it’s the short stories that stand out. Some of the pieces are thought provoking, like “Short Letters I’ve Been Meaning to Write” by Dave Korzon.

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  • Issue Number Number 38 Issue 4
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Room is a Canadian feminist publication of female authors and artists. Issue 38.4, Fieldwork, includes creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, art, an interview and book reviews. The pieces build upon each other, each work conversing with the ones before and after. The grounding framework of this issue is editor Taryn Hubbard’s interview with Marie Annharte Baker. Baker, a First Nation Anishnabe poet and oral storyteller, articulates that “Storytelling is a way to interact.” And while she refers to oral storytelling, her words ring true to Room where the stories interact with each other. This issue is full of conversations between stories as well as an exploration of silence as interaction.
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  • Issue Number Volume 21 Issue 3
  • Published Date Fall 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
If I were shipwrecked on a deserted island, I would take a machete and a subscription to Rattle. Perhaps a seagull could deliver quarterly. I’d open a coconut and start reading the conversation with the working poet that is included with each issue, then work my way randomly through the alphabetical compilation, memorizing and reciting to all my friends: the geckos, turtles, butterflies and rocks. If I lost my sanity, at least I would be happy.
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  • Issue Number Issue 36
  • Published Date Fall 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Ruminate explains their choice of title in the beginning of each issue: a “community chewing on the mysteries of life, faith, and art,” and for too long I let the f-word scare me away. Faith. After choosing to leave the faith I was raised in as an adult, what does faith have to do with me now? Would I really be able to ruminate with Ruminate while claiming no faith as my own? But within reading the first paragraph of the editor’s note in the Fall 2015 issue, I set my worries aside. Brianna Van Dyke shares a conversation with her young son about playing with his Spanish-speaking friend and understanding one another, in which he says, “But mostly when he laughs, it’s in English, and I know just what he means . . . And Omar laughs a lot, Mom.” Even if I don’t speak the language of faith, the shared aspects of life and art can give even the most faithless something to chew on.
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  • Issue Number Volume 12 Number 2
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Annual
When I first picked up this issue of Redivider, I found myself engrossed in the cover art by Patricia Mera. I spent what felt like hours tracing the lines and curves of a red tendril, trying to imagine if it was an arm or an artery, or if the stacked red pyramids resembled anything in particular. In an interview with the artist, printed at the back of the issue, Mera said that she titled the piece “Natural Thoughts” because “of how natural the shapes and order of images came to me.” I felt the title suited the piece perfectly, as my thoughts were repeatedly drawn to nature.
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  • Issue Number Numbers 91 & 92
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Triannual

With this double-issue blowout, River Styx celebrates its thirty-ninth year (“because who wants to turn 40?”) as one of the country’s most “thoughtful yet accessible” literary ambassadors. Boasting a long list of notable and returning contributors and brimming with poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art of great depth that’s also deeply entertaining, this issue is River Styx turned up to eleven. Nowhere is this more evident than in the issue’s poetry. Featuring new poems from Dorianne Laux, Kim Addonizio, Jeffrey Bean, Stephen Dunn, Albert Goldbarth, Ted Kooser, Lawrence Raab, Robert Wrigley, and A.E. Stallings, among others, River Styx’s latest issue is Xanadu for those who enjoy provocative free verse and formal poetry of a largely narrative bent.

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  • Issue Number Volume 15 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

The editors of River Teeth are candid about their selection process. About half of what they publish comes from unsolicited submissions. The rest may come from authors whose work they’ve heard at conferences, online or regional publications, commissioned work, or from friends, acquaintances, and the editors themselves. “We know all this sounds more than a little intuitive,” writes the editor, “even presumptuous, and quite a bit less than arm’s length. That’s the nature of love, we guess.”
In this issue, animals, parenting, and the nature of memory are the doors authors use into insights about life.

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  • Issue Number Volume 10 Number 3
  • Published Date Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
This issue of Red Booth Review starts with two poems by Timothy Dyson, both synopsizing “B-Movies,” with their predictability, such as the end when “Darnell, wearing only a raincoat, / walks into the mist, smiling, alone / There is one small burst of laughter.” This of course gives the poem a sense of predictability, but the poems are more about observation than telling the story.
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  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date June 2014
  • Publication Cycle Monthly
Relatively new, online magazine rawboned attempts to get “the marrow of the story” and only posts pieces that are 750 words or less. Twice a year, they plan to publish print issues, showcasing their favorite pieces, and I have a couple of my own votes from this June issue, their third so far.
  • Issue Number Volume 3 Number 6
  • Published Date November-December 2006
  • Publication Cycle monthly
Gracing the cover of this issue is a photograph of Spalding Gray, an actor-writer known for his humorous monologues and who long suffered from depression and committed suicide in 2004. Dave Korzon's moving interview with Gray's wife, director Kathie Russo, provides insights into Gray's life and art, as well as Russo's efforts to keep her husband's legacy alive (Swimming to Cambodia; Monster in a Box; Morning, Noon and Night; It's a Slippery Slope; Life Interrupted, among other books). Regular departments in this magazine include "No Do-Overs" (in this issue, Stephanie Johnson's at turns hilarious and poignant essay "Girly") and "Voices," collecting the opinions of selected people on a certain topic. The magazine’s subtitle, "Your World, Your Story," is apt, for, like the alternative magazine The Sun, The Rambler solicits works from readers, though instead of written thematic prompts, The Rambler offers readers photographs as inspiration for nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. In this issue, Kerry Jones’s perfectly modulated short story, “So Glad We Had This Time Together,” is the sole fiction selection. It reads so well that were she not writing in the first-person voice of a male character, it could easily be mistaken for memoir.
  • Issue Number Number 76/77
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Fast for a few days first so you’ll be good and hungry. This is a double issue, “A Readable Feast,” featuring poems, stories, essays, art, and “Real Recipes by Real Writers.” (It does make me wish, perversely, for some fake recipes by imaginary writers, I must confess.) The great eating (I mean reading) begins with the delicious cover, “Plenty,” by Billy Renkl, a splendid buffet of typically American foods. The issue is crammed with delectable art, including sweet black and white illustrations, sensuous charcoal drawings, and dreamy, surreal drawings that have the quality of papercuts.
  • Issue Number Number 13
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online

Raving Dove is like an impressionist painting that you have continuously observed in order to view obscured or distant images or ideas that you may have missed at first glance. Its literary sensibility seems to be one of simple and precisely written elegance to evoke serious political ideas, such as the affects of war, a central focus in this issue, and how it defines our “humanity,” whether it is in the form of nonfiction, poetry, fiction or photography.

  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Reed is an annual journal from San Jose State University. This issue contains a few pieces of fiction, a lot of poetry, some art, a couple short essays, and interviews with Dr. Kenneth Coale, George Saunders, Dorothy Allison, and Gary Shapiro.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Really System is a brand new journal that publishes solely poetry, offering up four issues a year and seeking “new, interesting writing that exhibits a keen awareness of the forms, patterns, and channels through which we find ourselves connected with other people, other things, other worlds.”
  • Issue Number Volume 13 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
One of the merits of nonfiction narratives is that they indulge human curiosity about others’ lives. The fall issue of River Teeth, a magazine dedicated solely to narrative nonfiction, includes eleven true stories, all of which quickly and convincingly pull you into the authors' lives for brief, powerful episodes. While some stories uniquely explore common phenomena like homesickness, others offer coveted glimpses into rare experiences. The four most memorable stories in the collection are those whose subject matter and narrative voice are equally captivating.
  • Issue Number Number 85
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Circles of Hell: think Dante’s ancient classic? This themed issue of River Styx examines, analyzes, and explicates the idea of hell both as a place and metaphor. The writers are creative, funny, and at times undeniably enthralling.
  • Issue Number Volume 3 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2006
I picked Renovation Journal from a shelf of journals because of its theme: “The Letter Issue.” You see, I still feel the presence of my deceased father when I reread the letters he sent to me while I was away at college. I still cherish the love letters my boyfriend sent to me in France before he became my husband. So I expected a great deal from this slender volume. Cornelia Veenendaal’s, “I Must Tell You about a Trip to Zweeloo,” based on the letters of Vincent Van Gogh, well portrayed the pre-South of France painter, and editor Kate Hanson’s letter to Franz Wright caught the all-too-familiar timidity when in the presence of celebrity.
  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 1
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Celebrating its thirty-fifth volume of publication, Room is an achievement in many ways, starting with the quality of its writing and cumulating in its mission. Room is Canada’s oldest literary journal by and about women and is independent of an educational institution. With many operational and editorial aspects managed by volunteers, there remains in the spirit of the journal a deliberate emphasis on the collective. As editor Clélie Rich quips in a retrospective (of sorts) “Roomies,” Virginia Woolf has a room of her own and a house full of servants, “Consider us, the collective, as those servants.”
  • Issue Number Volume 4
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
One of the first pieces in this issue of roger is a lovely poem by Shuntaro Tanikawa, translated by Diane Furtney and Asuka Itaya, entitled “One of the Haniwa.” Haniwas are the clay figurines and statues, mostly used for funerary purposes, of the 3rd to the 6th Century, that show the history of Japan. Writes the poet, translated,
  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date Summer 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Ruminate publishes “work that accounts for the grappling pleas, as well as the quiet assurances of an authentic faith.” They mean Christian faith, but you don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy the thought-provoking poetry and prose in the current issue.
  • Issue Number Volume 36 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In REAL: Regarding Arts & Letters, Billy Longino interviews Stewart O’Nan and extracts the following prescription: “I found that in a lot of the plotted fiction the plot was getting in the way of what I thought the novel does best: create depth and use time to illuminate character.” The interview explores O’Nan’s literary theory in compelling insight. Hearing the analysis also informs a reading of the rest of the journal, in which writers succeed in illuminating character.
  • Issue Number Volume 35
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This volume of the Roanoke Review features the work of 8 fiction writers, including the journal’s three fiction prize-winners, 24 poets, and an interview with poet and novelist Lee Upton. Contributors’ notes include the writers’ statements about the genesis of their pieces and/or their writing process. Poetry and fiction are characterized by affable, accessible voices, and moving stories.
  • Issue Number Volume 3 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
As if Ploughshares weren't enough work, Emerson College has its grad students doing their own thing. Like a number of young, urban lit journals, Redivider isn't afraid of subverting pop culture while presenting fresh new modes of aesthetic philosophy that even the amateur types can "get" and appreciate.
  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date Fall 2005
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Born of a city remembered for its racial fissures, this newborn Birmingham journal acknowledges its Southern roots while stretching branches far as Colorado, New York, and Iowa. RMR's motif is unapologetically, if subtly, political, a tender piñata of a first issue. Jim Murphy's poem, "Open Letters to James Wright," reminds me how a good apostrophe is to be composed.
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  • Issue Number Volume 11 Number 3
  • Publication Cycle annual
"What a lie a map is," a character declares in Michael Daley's near-epic poem. Indeed, how do drawn boundaries account for the diversity of cultures in the world, especially those transplanted from their homes? This "Speaking in Tongues" issue of The Raven Chronicles offers the best symposium for answering.
  • Subtitle Before and After
  • Issue Number Volume 26
  • Published Date 2003
There are many beautiful things to be found within the pages of the magazine that celebrates words as they are written, poems as they are whittled out, and art as it is imagined and incarnated by women. There are stories of love, of love lost, of shame and regret, of redemption and celebration. Poems of all the same themes. And art of still the same, wonderfully rendered, including several paintings by talented artist Heather Horton, with cover feature “Cheltenham Eden.” In the artist bio, Horton says she paints with “recurring themes of isolation, anticipation and solitude.” In looking at the front cover, it is not hard to imagine any of these themes.
  • Issue Number Volume 3
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This edition of roger is amazing for its depth, its breadth, and its… fabulousness. I smiled through every page, and was truly sad when I was done, though I know that I will go back to it again and again, and it will be as old novels, dog-eared pages indicating that it has been loved.
An impressive 30th anniversary issue featuring many prolific and well established writers, including Dorianne Laux, Lucia Perillo, Sharon Olds, William Gass, Molly Peacock, Louis Simpson, Richard Burgin, and Robert Finch, among others, as well as many accomplished, but lesser known talents, including Alison Pelegrin, Marcela Sulak, Allen C. Fischer, and Jacbo M. Appel.
  • Issue Number Number 18
  • Published Date Summer 2005
  • Publication Cycle annual
Penelope Shuttle admits that she is a bookworm while she talks (writes) about the importance of reading aloud, a common activity of the past, less common in the present. She attends author readings, the most memorable of which she describes. “It was Pablo Neruda who made the very deepest impression on me.
  • Issue Number Volume 11 Number 1
  • Published Date Summer 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Do lawyers write poetry? Well, if a tribute to lawyers who write appears in the summer 2005 issue of Rattle, the answer is a resounding yes: lawyers do write poetry. Lawyer poems can often be just as sad, angry, or serious as non-lawyer poems. They can even be humorous, like these lines taken from ‘“What Is Your Idle Job?’” by Ace Bogess: “Then it’s back to the office for coffee / tasting like gasoline, maybe a doughnut on the sly” he writes. “If my boss pops over, checking my progress, / I greet him with a good-natured pat on the back / to wipe the sticky glaze from my fingertips.”
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The limestone formations rise up out of the bay like... How a dragon legend was ever connected with them, I can easily understand. They inspire, thanks to Stephen Buel, who provided the image on the cover of Red Hills Review, a drop of the mouth reaction, similar to the one a dragon might inspire (I have to say might because I’ve not yet seen a dragon). Safely past the red paperback cover, drop of the mouth is also fitting when discussing more than thirty days of reading material, poetry, fiction, memoir, and essay. I have to admit, though, that my main attraction before receiving the journal was Light on the Northern Shore: Homage to Noam Chomsky, a theorist whose work I’ve only partially understood. I wanted a deeper understanding of the theorist, and I came to one with the assistance of David Baker.
  • Issue Number Issue 14
  • Published Date Winter 2009-10
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
A large format, staple-bound magazine of “fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art that resonates with the complexity and truth of the Christian faith,” Ruminate is published in Fort Collins, Colorado. “Each issue…speaks to the existence of our daily lives while nudging us toward a greater hope.” This issue’s theme is “Earnest Jest,” which editor Brianna Van Dyke describes as a way to consider the “paradox that weighty truths can come from humor; knowledge from fools; and that very act of play is wisdom.” The theme is played out in the work of 14 poets, two fiction writers, and two visual artists.
  • Issue Number Number 31
  • Published Date Autumn 2008
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
How exciting to come across something new! Well, after 31 issues, this dynamic little magazine isn’t new, but I confess I had never seen it before – it’s not always easy to find British publications in US bookstores. This terrifically satisfying journal comes from Liverpool (with contributors this issue from Belfast, Liverpool, Australia, Oxford, and Lancaster). “New writing/book talk/news and reviews” is how The Reader accurately characterizes itself.
  • Issue Number Volume 2 Issue 2
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
Revolution House, as the editors indicate, “is the brainchild of a disparate group of writers who came together during the tumultuous early months of 2011, when the MFA application anxiety was high and the lows were lower than low. We had a dream of a sprawling farmhouse, a place where we could all escape the dragging monotony of reality. But it’s difficult to find a house with fourteen bedrooms, so we ended up here instead, building platforms to launch other dreams.”
  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
The Rusty Toque, now in its third issue, is churning some solid butter. And instead of having just the traditional poetry, fiction, and nonfiction categories, The Rusty Toque publishes comics, monologues, art, and even videos. There is room in this home for a lot of different work.
  • Issue Number Issue 20
  • Published Date Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Get past any queasiness at this journal’s title right away and plunge into its rich substance. This five-year anniversary issue has a theme—feasting—and the poetry, nonfiction, book review and artwork appearing in the large-format fifty-six pages are well-chosen by the editors to cohere around this theme. Production values, including full-page four-color reproductions of artwork, are opulent. Only a classicist would object to the background grayscreen flourishes which adorn some of the pages, apparently chosen at random to be thus graced. The enormous pull-quotes, though, in the nonfiction pieces, are so huge that at a glance one might think they signal the beginning of a new story. Although the subtitle of the magazine is “chewing on life, faith and art,” the messages of faith in the various works, including the editor’s column, are generally subtle, causing nary a wince for this reader.
  • Subtitle Ill Will
  • Issue Number Volume 23 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2003
Easily one of the handsomest literary journals, River City delivers a provocative array of short fiction, poetry, and full color art. With a glossy cover picturing the back of a nude male bound from head to foot in heavy chains, this “Ill Will” issue immediately sets the reader up for an edgy ride. The short stories here are mostly concerned with the self-immolating, the transient, and the otherwise marginal characters peopling the terrain just outside of conventional bourgeois life. The two finest stories, “Suspension” by Morgan McDermott, and “Nebulous” by Molly Fitzsimmons, while wonderfully divergent in style, have in common a big-hearted concern for the masochistic tendencies of their fractured protagonists.
  • Issue Number Issue 88
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
By the time you read this review, the so-called Mayan Apocalypse has passed, and the human race is still kicking (whether we like it or not). But just because we missed our extermination date doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the latest batch of poems, essays, and stories from River Styx. Editor Richard Newman has dedicated issue 88 to the End of the World: “Something in us, often a small, barely suppressed voice, roots for destruction. Evangelicals have their own reasons—eternal rewards in heaven—but most of us harbor an itch to see the demise of things.” The works presented in this issue deal with The End in different ways, from personal and absurd to global and horrific.
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  • Issue Number Volume 3
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This is one of the most attractive lit mags I’ve viewed. For the astonishing price of five dollars, you can hold in your hands this substantial (eight-inch-by-eight-inch) volume with a technologically progressive cover and an extremely pleasing page design, whose innards are divided between visually striking color art, outstanding poetry, provocative interviews, and stories so good from the first line you want like crazy, but can hardly stand, to reach the ending.
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  • Issue Number Volume 19 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

It would be tempting. Imagine saying,
“Let there be light.” And, poof, there’s light.
The magic word is any word you want it to be—
bucket, for example, or asphalt, and into the world
tumble jet planes, hair dryers, and vegetarian restaurants.
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  • Issue Number Number 50
  • Published Date Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Brian Nellist’s essay “People Don’t Read Scott Any More,” originally published in the Spring 1997 issue of The Reader, may have summed up a movement with an essential added value of literature: “the answer is experto crede, not ‘Trust the professional’, heaven forbid, but ‘have faith in the man who’s tried it.’” The idea represents a logical extension of trust in precedent—that we can look to literature as a forerunner to lives we haven’t lived and perhaps never will. We are all witnesses, but in a limited sense. Reading is the addenda to our lives. He adds at the end of the excerpt something else of vital importance to the enterprise of reading:
  • Issue Number Volume 14 Number I
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
A journal dedicated to the nonfiction narrative, River Teeth celebrated its fourteenth year anniversary with its Fall 2012 edition. In many of the essays in this volume, the concepts of privacy and identity, which its editor Dan Lehman mentions in his notes, become a weighty trade-off for the benefit of nonfiction. The thirteen narratives that compose the volume are unique in subject matter and voice but share an artistic spirit, a deliberate frame of a world otherwise chaotic.
  • Issue Number Issue 45
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Interviewed in this issue by Jim Porter, master of prose style Richard McCann defines voice as a function of rhythm (Ms. Woolf was right, of course!) and describes his process of walking around memorizing his own words as they come to him. I have never heard this process described before (which is, for what it’s worth, exactly the way I compose poetry) and I appreciated McCann’s candor. His interview is one of the highlights of the issue.
This issue of the populist journal Rosebud features stories by the winner and several close finalists for The Le Guin Award for short “imaginative fiction,” as well as a Roundtable called “Truth in Poetry?” My favorite short fiction piece was Alicia Conroy’s “The Nameless Season,” a runner-up for the Le Guin Award.
The standout feature of this issue of the hefty annual Red Wheelbarrow, which publishes poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and artwork including comics, is a long (eighteen-page) transcript of De Anza college students interviewing Adrienne Rich, a lively back-and-forth conversation that included discussions of politics, Rich’s poem "An Atlas of the Difficult World,"  feminism, classicism, the problems of globalization, and more. This is a must-read for Rich’s fans, though they probably won’t be that surprised by Rich’s answers. The other thing that immediately stands out about this lit mag is the size and spacing – at least 14 point font, and everything, even the poetry, is double-spaced. Easy on the eyes, perhaps, but a bit disconcerting at first. “Bee-Stealing Season” by Margarita Engle and “Mother as Rope” by Jennifer Perrine were two poems among the many deserving attention in this issue, which also include “Tell Me” by Adrienne Rich and work by Virgil Suarez and Lyn Lifshin. Here are a few lines from “Mother as Rope”:
  • Issue Number Number 15
  • Published Date Summer 2004
If you love to read more than, well, more than just about anything (except possibly that), you’ll love the University of Liverpool’s The Reader, a compendium of, appropriately enough, all things readerly: essays, interviews, reviews, recommendations, even quizzes and crosswords. A “reading lives” section includes Elizabeth Spooner’s “Let’s Hear it For Librarians” (“Sixty-five years ago, at the age of ten, my life began.
This issue of Rattapallax focused on new Brazilian poetry, presented in the original Brazilian-Portuguese along with the English translation, as well as a scattering of experimental American writings. Quite a bit of the poetry in this issue was a little too clever or experimental for me, but I warmed up to some of it after more than one reading, particularly Rodrigo Garcia Lopes’ “Thoth.” Here’s an excerpt from the English translation of the final paragraph of that prose poem:
  • Issue Number Volume 5 Issue 1
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In her introductory note, the editor says she hopes the reader will “find both the wretchedness that makes us human and the grace that will ring.” This “Journal of Literature, Art, and Faith,” the final issue of Rock & Sling, fulfills the editor’s vision through stories and poems of both cruelty and assistance. Some of the pieces are blatantly Christian; other pieces indirectly display the Christian themes of suffering, grace, justice and redemption.
  • Issue Number Issue 9
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Ruminate’s layout is beautiful: almost trade magazine size but sturdier, writing centered on white or grey or black pages, Evan Mann’s creation sketches littered between poems and an essay and a short story. The journal’s writing is equally beautiful, pieces which demonstrate faith inside literature as well as faith in literature, a faith that literature can explain and inspire.
  • Issue Number Numbers 81 & 82
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
This thirty-fifth anniversary issue features poetry from several dozen poets with largely, though not exclusively, narrative tendencies, two essays, six works of short fiction, and three illustrators. Stephen Dunn, Maxine Kumin, Molly Peacock, and Charles Harper Webb are the headliners, joined by such other familiar, it not household names, as Leslie Adrienne Miller and Sarah Kennedy. Bret Gottschall’s charcoal on paper drawings are stunning (“I am interested in the allure and mystery of beauty in the nape of a woman’s neck or the light that, reflect off breasts, illuminates the lonely underside of a chin. In the right light and surroundings, we are all beautiful in one way or another.”). The issue is, overall, extremely pleasing, creating a sense of satisfied, contented reading, a story to sink your teeth into (whether in verse or prose).
An especially appealing issue, often playful but not merely for the sake of fun; attuned to poetry lovers’ interest in language, but not merely to invent or experiment; inventive, but not merely to impress; clever, but not merely to show off; serious, but not merely gloomy or solemn; well crafted, but not stodgy or overly formal; surprising, but not merely startling or crass or shocking.
Redheaded Stepchild, an exclusively poetry magazine, likes to play with the other magazine’s unused toys. “We know that a lot of kickass poetry gets rejected,” say the editors, “and we thought it would be fun to publish only previously rejected poems. We like rejects.” But that being said, poems aren’t necessarily rejected because of quality but rather because of fit for the particular magazine. Looking through the bios of this issue, it’s obvious that these writers are not lacking in publications.
  • Issue Number Issue 9
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
I can’t do much of a better introduction to this issue than Editor Jessica Bixel’s intro, so I’ll let her words speak as she invites you into the issue like she’s inviting you into a haunted mansion: “all manner of death and destruction, breakups and breakdowns, hook of rock and hank of hair. The orchards are swelling, the wolves are watching, and the city is haunted—everyone is waiting for you. Enjoy your stay.”
  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 2
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Room’s website describes it as “Canada’s oldest literary journal by, for, and about women. Published quarterly by a group of volunteers based in Vancouver, Room showcases fiction, poetry, reviews, art work, interviews and profiles about the female experience. Many of our contributors are at the beginning of their writing careers, looking for an opportunity to get published for the first time.”
  • Issue Number Volume 15 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue features more than four dozen poems in a general section, the work of Rattle Poetry Prize Winner Lynne Knight and ten honorable mention recipients, the work of 30 poets in a special “Tribute to the Sonnet,” and lengthy interviews by editor Alan Fox with Alice Fulton and Molly Peacock (Fulton and Peacock in the same issue! Too good to be true!). It’s hard not to be curious about nearly two-hundred pages of poems that begin, as this issue does, with Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s oh-so-American-current-preoccupation:
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date April 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
My first job out of high school was at a small theater that played artistic, foreign, and independent films, but right next door to this theater was a rowdy biker bar. I was always fascinated by the juxtaposition of the theater’s well-to-do patrons of the arts and the leather-clad highway warriors who would sometimes swing by to purchase large tubs of popcorn drenched in butter. Radio Silence, a unique literary journal that blends literature and rock & roll, reminds me of that wonderful cultural clash. In this journal are stories and poems from some of the strongest writers of the previous century and essays that analyze music from influential rock bands and musicians.
  • Issue Number Volume 27
  • Published Date 2005
I found this volume of Room of One’s Own to be a fifty-fifty combination of really good and then really disappointing poetry and prose. The good stuff was so good that I would be doing a great disservice not to recommend the magazine, but the bad stuff was so predictable and bland that I have to temper my recommendation with reservations.
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  • Issue Number Volume 35
  • Published Date May 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Readers with an interest in the visual arts and graphic design as well as in literature will appreciate this publication. Rip Rap Literary Journal—designed and produced by students in the MFA program at California State University at Long Beach—allots generous space to bold typography and 4-color endpapers as well as individual artworks appearing throughout the volume. Physically, the journal feels and looks substantial, justifying its identity as an annual. If you are familiar with Rip Rap, you will know how to read it—at a non-linear and leisurely pace, letting yourself be surprised by what the turn of a page reveals.
  • Subtitle Poetry, Poetics, & Prose
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  • Issue Number Issue 17
  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Poetry takes many forms, and this issue of Redactions is a stark reminder for me that I just don’t “get” some of those forms. I did run across several bits of writing worth investigating with more depth, but for the most part I was left grasping for meaning. All 26 poets represented should be commended for the hard work which they have had accepted, but readers need to know that this issue is more challenging than casual perusal, and I found very few moments of slack-jawed inspiration. Much like some of the grueling pages I had to go through in my graduate program, I am left feeling a stronger reader for focusing my attentions on finishing this magazine.
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  • Issue Number Volume 4
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The mission statement of Raleigh Review reads, “We believe fine art should challenge as well as entertain.” While many of the pieces in this issue fit the description of traditional poetry and prose, there are significant pieces of work that do indeed “challenge as well as entertain.” Throughout the journal, again and again we are presented with imagery in a modern style that drives the pace in bursts of short statements and thoughtful comments that ask to be revisited.
  • Issue Number Volume 13 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2007
This edition of Rattle includes a tribute to nurses that makes this issue worthwhile on its own. The nursing section has personal essays from poet-nurses, such as Courtney Davis, T.S. Davis, Anne Webster and Christine Wideman, describing how they became both writers and nurses, which role was dominate at what point in their lives, and how nursing feeds into their writing. They talk of the sensuousness of nursing, the essential selflessness and empathy nurses experience, and how that “otherness” affects their poetry. Courtney Davis wrote movingly about her favorite patient: “A few weeks after my patient died, not knowing what else to do, I dug out my old poetry notebook…” “Writing about her death, I felt a sudden, inexplicable joy…” “I had also, in the writing, let her go.”
  • Issue Number Volume 5 Issue 1
  • Published Date Fall 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of Redivider is a finely-woven fabric of flash fiction, short stories, poetry, nonfiction, visual art, book reviews, and one solid interview.
  • Issue Number Volume 33 Number 1
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Sometimes other diversions provide resonance to my reading. Last week I watched SMILE, a Michael Ritchie film that I'd seen several times back when watching old movies meant late night broadcast stations, not TCM. I remember how hip I thought that movie was, because it acknowledged that beauty and charm were just as much part of women's competitive framework as doing well in track or basketball. Knowing what I do now about life, women (and women's pictures), I was naive. I was also in the first generation of girls that went to school after Title IX was enacted in US schools. Equal opportunities in athletics, back then, seemed a new, honest and honorable route to personal achievement.
It’s Rhino. I don’t know how long it’s been around, but it is one of the best annual collections of poetry you can find. Once you know the quality is there, what would you like me to tell you? It’s always good. If you are not familiar with it, you can count on it to enrich your day and entertain your evening. If you are familiar with it, you look forward to it. So, what did I do?
  • Issue Number Volume 9 Issue 2
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Redivider releases their spring 2012 issue loaded with a mix of strong and diverse works of fiction and poetry. From the absurd to the tragic, this issue was a pleasure to read from beginning to end.
  • Issue Number Volume 16 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Rattle's winter issue features a special section of poetry entitled “Tribute to Mental Health Workers,” which includes poetry on a variety of issues in the field, from Alzheimer’s to therapists to hospital workers. While some poems delve into the grief and sadness of these illnesses, others approach them with hope. Gwenn A. Nusbaum’s poem “Hospital, Spring,” is one such poem, describing a man waiting during his wife’s surgery, while “babies are being born.” This section also includes an interesting article by Maryhelen Snyder, “The Art of Waiting: The Parallels of Poetry and Therapy.”
  • Issue Number Issue 30
  • Published Date January 2011
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online
The table of contents for Red Fez 30 sprawls down the scrolling page, heralding articles and reviews, comics and other artwork, poetry, and stories. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the array of choices, I wasn't quite sure where to start, but I ended up choosing well with Eric Day's essay “The Class of 1987.” Eric is reluctant about attending his twentieth high school reunion, and yet for some intangible reason he felt compelled to go. Eric has come a long way from his class clown years, having moved away and earned a master's degree, gotten married, and become a teacher. But none of his former classmates know any of this. When Eric approaches the greeter's table and sees all the name badges lined up, he observes that “just a glance at them filled me with terror.” Much of what follows is to be expected: stilted conversation, awkward moments with an old girlfriend, and social dynamics that seem to have frozen in time. But as the night progresses, Eric finds that a few things actually have changed and he even ultimately makes a few tenuous connections.
  • Issue Number Issue 19
  • Published Date Fall 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of Red Rock Review is packed with words. Fifty-seven poems, six short stories, two interviews, two reviews and one essay all crowd between the covers. While not all of the writing is to my taste, I still found plenty to enjoy.
  • Issue Number Volume 2
  • Published Date 2011-2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
A young magazine, only on its second volume, Raleigh Review pulls off an understated maturity in its choice of fiction and poetry pieces, while the artwork is playful and quirky. It is a magazine that takes itself seriously, but not to a fault, with an impressive list of heavy hitters. The interior and exterior artwork are the creations of Geri Digiorno, a set of themed mixed-media collages, intricate paper mosaics that are jolting, haunting, and yet strangely sweet and light all mixed in together, a lovely invitation to read what’s inside.
  • Issue Number Volume 5
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
If I have any complaint at all about roger, and I really only have one, it is that the wonderful translations by Anny Ballardini, Patrizia de Rachewiltz, and Jennifer Youngquist (of work by poets Paolo Ruffilli, Cesare Pavese, and Etienne Lero) do not include the originals and the contributors’ notes do not include the poets’ bios. It makes for good reading to find these well executed translations of poets I might not otherwise have an opportunity to read among the work of Jim Daniels, Sandra Kohler, Charles Harper Webb, and many other competent, though lesser known writers. But, I would like to be able to read the originals and to know something about the poets.
  • Issue Number Volume 12 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
An issue you can definitely sink your teeth into. “We finally have work by Phillip Lopate between our covers,” says editor Joe Mackall. Lopate’s “In Defense of the Essay Collection,” is preaching to the choir in some ways, River Teeth’s readers are already interested in the genre, as it is, after all, a journal of nonfiction narrative. But, it’s a great read nonetheless. Lopate is in good company. The 11 other essays in this issue are equally worthy of attention.
  • Issue Number Volume 18 Number 1
  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The name Rattle for a poetry journal interests me in the way that names of things often do. There is the death rattle, a baby’s rattle, rattlesnakes. There are people’s minds rattling off the hinges, people’s cages being rattled, and people rattling their own cages or those of others. It could be said that the best poetry rattles our nerves. A little bit of all of this is represented in this issue of Rattle, the death rattle perhaps more than the rest. If I had to pick one poem to represent the issue it would be Rohan Chhetri’s “Not the Exception.” The narrator appears to recently have come close to death and speaks of it in matter-of-fact yet insightful ways. The final lines struck me as boldest:
  • Issue Number Volume 9 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Despite the journal’s self definition – nonfiction narrative – one of this issue’s highlights is a piece that defies categorization, “On Dusk” by Teddy Macker, where the narrative is, I suppose we could say, implied and what we’re given to read is a series of observations: “Dusk’s antonym is cataclysm,” “This is not a dream, says dusk,” “There are mountains, says Dogen, hidden in mountains,” “The greatest gift of dusk is unassailable mildness.” There are three pages of these poetic remarks, as short as a sentence and as long as a short paragraph. Dusk is just the sort of emotional and physical experience that begs for this type of treatment, and I appreciate the shape of Macker’s thinking and the shape of the piece. But, it does call into question the meaning of “nonfiction narrative,” which serves, otherwise, I think, as a fine alternative to “creative nonfiction.”
  • Issue Number Volume 7 Issue 1
  • Published Date May 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This journal publishes work that “pays attention to formal requirements.” That, of course, means rhyme: “Though public / private lives draw swarms of pests, / Xeroxoxymorons are the irksomest” (“Doppelganger” by Alfred Corn) and “After the service, when the neighbors left, / breathing their last condolences like prayers, / it startled him that he was not bereft” (“Idle Comments” by Rhina Espaillat); established forms, most notably the sonnet, represented here by numerous contributors; invented forms, like a “villanette” from Anna Evans; and meter, what the editor refers to as syllable stressed verse – many types of formal strictures and discipline prevail in this issue. The poets represented here are not novices either to poetry or to “traditional” forms: Alfred Corn, Philip Dacey, Molly Peacock, Rachel Hadas, Richard Wilbur, W.D. Snodgrass, X. J. Kennedy, among others, and their work is polished, often exemplary.
  • Issue Number Issue 14
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This issue brings a fresh approach to regionalism by positing its own ad hoc region. "The I-90 Poetry Revolution" includes varied, ambitious work by poets who came from, live in or have some relation to the territory strung along the lanes, ramps, gas stations, motels, fast-food joints and rest stops between Boston and Seattle.
The second issue of the newly relaunched journal out of Emerson College in Boston includes poetry, fiction, interviews, art, and a fistful of short book reviews. One of the highlights of this issue was the interview with the always-entertaining Nancy Pearl, my own hometown’s (Seattle) celebrity librarian who has her own action figure! Her wit and passion for books are palpable.
  • Issue Number Issue 21
  • Published Date Summer 2004
This issue of Rattle contains a tribute to Vietnamese poets, enlightening conversations with poets Li-Young Lee and Naomi Shihab Nye (in which editor Alan Fox seems less interested in hearing his own opinions than in genuinely listening to theirs), Jessica Goeller’s funny and wise essay on writing with an infant daughter balanced on one arm (the miracle: it works better!), and “Fine,” Jack Grapes’ wonderfully tender-gruff piece on father-son love.
  • Issue Number Volume 7 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
For those of us tired of most literary journals’ slim nonfiction pickin’s, River Teeth offers not only quantity, but variety. Taking its name from David James Duncan's genre-bending book, this all-nonfiction journal prints narrative reportage, essays, memoirs and critical essays to, as they put it, “illuminate this emerging genre.” In his 40-page memoir “Starting at the Bottom Again,” Dustin Beall Smith, a 57-year-old, cosmically disoriented key grip, follows a Lakota camera assistant from his world of New York City studio suck-ups down the rabbit hole of adopted spirituality and cultural collaging.
  • Issue Number Issue 18
  • Published Date Winter 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Associate Editor Todd Moffett writes that the journal does not present themes so much as follows a hidden code, one that creates associations between the stories, poems, and essays in the issue “to delight not only us but our reading audience.” If part of my job as a reader is to discover the secret code in this issue, I’d say it was “mystery” starting with Michael Clure’s three “Mysterioso” poems (here is an excerpt from “Mysterioso Eight”)—
  • Issue Number Issue 22
  • Published Date Winter 2011 - 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Although I had read some of well-known Christian author C.S. Lewis’s books, I didn’t realize until I watched the movie Shadowlands that Lewis wasn’t always a believer. The movie captures part of his struggle with faith in a simple, but striking quote: “I have no answers anymore: only the life I have lived.” The contributors to Ruminate come from a variety of Christian denominations, but their messages in the Winter 2011–12 issue all seem to resonate with this quote from Shadowlands. Whether they choose to address the magazine’s theme “Up in the Air” literally or figuratively, they rely on the authenticity of their experience rather than the authority of scripture to explain their devotion. Instead of offering answers, they offer us glimpses into every day, uncertain, and often uneasy lives.
This mostly-poetry journal (with a smattering of photos and reviews) out of Evanston, Illinois succeeds in bringing new voices from the poetry world to light. This issue considers the metaphysical questions of spiritual versus human nature, in which speakers deal with their bodies’failures (“What I’m Not Writing,” “How to Continue,” “The Robust Young Man Discusses His Burial”) and with the failures of their faiths (“God is Not Talking,” “Paris Does Not Exist,” “Recidivism”). Here are a few lines from Danna Ephland’s “After Surgery”:
  • Issue Number Volume 5 Issue 2
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In this issue’s introduction, which Editor Brad Fruhauff has entitled “Literature by Necessity,” Fruhauff reminds us that a rich literary diet “[confronts] some of the hardest realities of our time” and “will ask you to feel grace for a strung-out drug addict as well as for a cynical woman dealing with her abortions . . . to be merciful with an adulterer and to re-live the death of a childhood friend. These pieces," says Fruhauff, "are not safe.”
  • Issue Number Volume 8 Number 4
  • Published Date July/August 2012
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly online
Ragazine.cc is chock-full of pieces to feast your eyes on: art, photography, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, interviews, reviews, and columns. There are two great poems by Nicole Santalucia. The first, “Emptying Out the House,” drew me in with the first three lines: “The only thing we found under her bed / was a note taped to the bed frame / that said who should inherit the mattress.” And her poem “What Stands Behind Me Now” has wonderfully captivating images:
  • Issue Number Volume 7 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
r.kv.r.y includes fiction, poetry, essays, and shorts all on the topic of recovery, incorporating characters that are recovered, are in the process of recovery, or need to start recovery.
  • Issue Number Issue 58
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online
Before delving into discussion of the writing in Right Hand Pointing, it is worth noting that the magazine’s layout/design makes reading it easy. Such a simple design allows for full focus on the words rather than what they look like on the page. I read the issue entirely from my phone; at the end of each poem, I simply scrolled to the bottom and clicked the hand pointing to the right to continue on in the issue.
This year’s bright pink issue of Rhino features, as usual, mostly poetry, with a satisfying section of poetry chapbook and book reviews in the back called “Rhino Reads.” This issue also features a section of poetry in translation. The poetry in Rhino typically flirts with experimentation, drawing in the reader by a thread of emotional energy, lyric power and sometimes, offbeat humor.
  • Issue Number Volume 8 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2006
The advantage of a literary journal devoted entirely to one genre is the ability to explore and expand the possibilities of the form. River Teeth does just that. While most literary journals might publish two or even three nonfiction essays, River Teeth can include more than a dozen in each issue, a number that allows the reader to get a strong sense of just how many ways there are to approach the “truth.”
  • Issue Number Volume 2 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2005
The magazine formerly known as the Beacon Street Review has gotten a makeover by the grad students at prestigious Emerson College. The latest offering of Redivider is a joyful romp through the peaks and discontents of American pop culture from the fringes to the mainstream.
  • Issue Number Issue 23
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
At first glance, the Fall 2008 issue of Red Rock Review may seem to be fairly provincial in tone, but a deeper look shows the work to be as wide in locale and subject matter as it is rich in expression. From Hari Bhajan Khalsa’s poem about the swaying rhythms of summertime in Los Angeles to Mark Sanders’s deceptively simple poems about the inner lives of horses, Red Rock Review charts the forgotten ghosts and breathing minority of the American Southwest.
  • Issue Number Volume 15 Number 1
  • Published Date Summer 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Poetry as storytelling. Poetry as intimate conversation. Poetry as painting. If you know serious readers who say they don’t like poetry, give them an issue of Rattle. Especially this one, which features amazing “conversations” with Toi Derricotte and Terrance Hayes, conducted by editor Alan Fox, a “Tribute to African American Poets,” and contributors’ notes that contain brief personal (and personable) remarks rather than dull lists of credentials. “The hope is that a poem might walk the tightrope from which sloganeering topples,” writes David O’Connell in his note. Many of these notes are, happily, as satisfying in their own way as the poems.
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Rhino, a thirty-year running annual, bursts with imagination and innovation. Modern poetry covers most of the one-hundred-fifty out of two-hundred-and-some-odd pages, along with several enigmatic short-shorts and a few piercing, quick essays. The official title is Rhino 2007: The Poetry Forum. According to editor Kathleen Kirk, Rhino has been “charging ahead for thirty years,” since it began as poets gathering together. Here the editors have assembled a diverse yet cohesive collection of modern poetry that forms a smorgasbord of the world, putting every possible flavor together, all delicious. The poetry can best speak for itself. There is the devilish “Lucifer Cleared His Goatish Throat,” by Jeannette Allee: “Lucifer cleared his goatish throat / and yawled, Hey Gawd, you’re snogging off on the job again.”
  • Issue Number Issue 42
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This issue of Red Cedar Review promises lively reading in both fiction and poetry. The theme of the story selections seems to be appearance versus reality. Almost every main character has a vice which he or she wishes to hide from his or her close ones. These faults range from the small disruptions of a middle-schooler in Chris Moore’s “The Vicks” to a middle-aged woman’s adulterous relationship in “Without Windows” by Margaret Hermesto a murder committed by one spouse on another in J.C. Dickey-Chasin’s “Blue Jesus.” The reader has different amounts of sympathy for these transgressors. Lydia’s adultery in “Without Windows” can be explained in that her husband has been cheating on her, but Mrs. Betts stark murder in “Blue Jeans” cannot be justified by the estrangement of the couple.
  • Issue Number Volume 4
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
A special tribute issue of this journal of Midwestern African American Literature is devoted to Allison Joseph, Aquarius Press Legacy Award Recipient, five of whose poems appear here. The cover is an evocative portrait, “Mattress Man,” by accomplished photographer and fast-becoming ubiquitous poet Thomas Sayers Ellis, whose poem, “Absolute Otherwhere,” appears in the issue. Sayers Ellis has an eye for desolate views and an ear for inventive diction: “We know there’s a recognizable We, / an I-identifiable many.”
  • Issue Number Issue 13
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
“For every poetic action there is…Redactions,” is the journal’s tagline. This issue’s “poetic actions” include poems by two-and-a-half-dozen poets, including such well-known names as David Wagoner, J.P. Dancing Bear, and Gerry LaFemina, and the less-widely established, but quite widely published Jeanine Hall Gailey and Walter Bargen; as well as “poetics,” substantial reviews of poetry books and blogs.
The title page of this inaugural issue lists Mary Gordon, Paul Muldoon, and Michael Burke as the “featured contributors” – pretty impressive for the debut of any magazine. All the more impressive when we realize, though one has to read the contributor’s notes to figure this out, that The Round is essentially an undergraduate student publication. Nowhere does the journal announce affiliations, but several writers, all undergrads at Brown University, are credited with being co-founders of the magazine in their contributor’s note. The issue opens with a foreword by Gordon who compares the writing in this issue – at least in its aim to “invoke large terms” to Donne, Herbert, Dickinson, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Flaubert, Proust, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, both Eliots, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Auden, James, Cather, Faulkner, Welty, Porter, Trever, Coetze, and Morrison. This magazine’s work will remind us, she says, that “literature is beautiful and joyous and the place where we [are] reminded what it is to be most fully and richly alive.”
  • Issue Number Volume 11 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Editor Daniel W. Lehman says his own stories seem like dreams: “Real-life writing sometimes is that way: the stakes are high; the details sting.” In a world where what constitutes “real” (nonfiction) and invented (fiction) is not merely blurred but often obliterated, the stakes are, indeed, very high. And River Teeth deserves high praise for recognizing and honoring the difficulty of the task and for selecting work that respects readers’ commitment to and on-going interest in the nonfiction enterprise. Alongside the masterful work of well-known prose stylists Rebecca McClanahan (an interview with her also appears in the issue) and Brent Spencer, there are worthwhile essays here by ten other writers.
  • Published Date March/April 2011
  • Publication Cycle Fortnightly online
This entertaining lit mag changes its homepage fortnightly, updates its archives monthly, and issues a print edition yearly. They offer poetry and flash fiction and they read year-round. They also have audio poems presented online for those who like to hear poetry read aloud.
  • Issue Number Volume 7 Issue 1
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Redivider is published by graduate students in the Writing, Literature, and Publishing Department at Emerson College. I had not seen the journal before the current issue and, since this is the seventh volume, I realize I’ve missed out on six years of provocative writing and terrific and unusual artworks. This issue features new writing from established and lesser known fiction writers, essayists, and poets (several names stand out: Sherman Alexie, Dan Chaon, Franz Wright, Kevin Prufer, and Pablo Medina); photographs, drawings, and paintings, many both weird and wonderful, from 12 visual artists; an interview with fiction writer and essayist Alexander Chee; and five thoughtful book reviews. The journal also includes its “Quickie Award” winning fiction and poetry, selected by George Singleton and Rane Arroyo respectively.
  • Issue Number Number 7
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Every few months
I love a good theme. And what better theme is there for the current state of affairs than "lean times"?
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  • Issue Number Issue 28
  • Published Date Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue of Ruminate is titled “not forgotten” and contains stories and poems of memories and of preserving them. Editor Brianna Van Dyke writes, “it is not our memories that give us solace, but rather the promise that we are not forgotten, that with tender mercy the morning sun rises upon us. I try remembering, try holding it all—the hard truths and the good truths, together.”
  • Issue Number Volume 12 Number 1
  • Published Date Summer 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of Rattle includes forty-two poems in a “Tribute Section” celebrating the magazine's 25th anniversary. Reading these poems, and William O'Daly's brilliant essay, “Speaking Freely: Poetry, Torture, and Truth,” I was sorry I'd ever missed a single issue of the journal. (The essay is the second half of a two-part essay, which may be found in its entirety at www.poetsagainstthewar.org.) The tribute is introduced by editor Stellasue Lee, who describes her interaction with Rattle poets over the years and includes their thoughts on the poetic process (many of which are also included in the “Contributors' Notes”).
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  • Issue Number Volume 36 Number 4
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Room is Canada’s oldest literary journal that is both by and about women; each issue focuses on women and gives them a space to “speak and connect” with one another. This issue tackles the theme of “A progressive lens,” promising to bring forth and support new ideas in the form of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction along with an interview and a few book reviews.
This issue of Room–a quarterly out of Vancouver published since 1975 by, for and about women, with stories, poetry and reviews chosen by an editorial collective–makes scars its central metaphor. As editor Lana Okerlund notes, “many synonyms for scar are negative: imperfection, blemish, disfigurement. But, in life, as in many of the stories, poetry and artworks in this issue, scars are more paradoxical than these synonyms imply.”
  • Issue Number Volume 10 Issue 1
  • Published Date September 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Forgive me. For some reason, I was expecting delicate. Reserved. Stuffy. Polite. But my assumptions about a journal of “metrical works, including well-rendered blank verse, sonnets of every variety, villanelles and triolets” were way off. The Raintown Review is kind of a badass.
  • Issue Number Volume 2 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Midwest African American Literature may seem to set a narrow focus for this publication, but in Reverie, writing to or of the socio-cultural African American experience runs like an undercurrent throughout the broad expanse of the literature. That its authors need only be somehow related to the Midwest does not limit the content, but rather helps to further create a sense of unity and connection.
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