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  • Issue Number Issue 16
  • Published Date Autumn/Winter 2016
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

The Autumn/Winter 2016 issue of Structo offers readers a fun read while bringing global voices together in one publication.

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  • Published Date Fall 2016
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online

With a plethora of online magazines at our fingertips, it’s hard to know where to begin reading. Sometimes it’s best to go with something small and easy to digest, something like the quarterly Spartan magazine. Publishing works only 1500 words or less, and only three pieces per issue, Spartan offers readers engaging writing without requiring tons of commitment.

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  • Issue Number Issue 7
  • Published Date Fall 2016
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online

shufPoetry’s logo represents the work the magazine brings to its audience: colorful graffiti splashed across a computer screen. The Fall 2016 issue brings together a collection of visual and audio work that draws the reader’s eye (and ear) and keeps interest through flashes of color and creative formats.

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  • Issue Number Volume 49 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2016
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

In this issue of Southern Humanities Review, the editors include a selection of poetry from the 2015 Auburn Witness Poetry contest, held in honor of Jake Adam York. In addition to other poems and short stories, this issue features poems from the winner, the first and second runners-up, and the nine finalists. Each of these poems shares a witness’s perspective on issues like race relations, poverty, and humanity in honor of Jake Adam York, an award-winning poet that focused on the triumphs and tragedies of the Civil Rights movement.

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  • Issue Number Volume 54 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2016
  • Publication Cycle Semiannual

If I were to give this issue of Southern Poetry Review a title, it might be “Profound Perspectives” or “Meaning in the Moment.” The poems in this issue find moments of awe in life events and transport them from the mundane through reflection to the place where art lives in all its weighty insightfulness and magic. The poets accomplish this with rich imagery, carefully controlled lines and stanzas, and an attention to the natural rhythm of language.

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  • Issue Number Volume 124, Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2016
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

While reading the summer issue of The Sewanee Review, I decided to poke into some historical trivia. It was founded in 1892 and devoted to book reviews, theology, political science, literature and such. Poetry didn’t appear until 1920, and the Winter 1966 issue, at almost 1,000 pages, was devoted to T. S. Eliot.

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  • Issue Number Issue 34 Volume 2
  • Published Date Summer 2016
  • Publication Cycle Triannual

The cover of the Summer 2016 issue of The Stinging Fly keeps the waning spirit of summer alive for a little while longer with art by Lizzy Stewart. A bright blue background is adorned by a three-piece cross-section of a girl’s face in profile, the pink insides of her head packed with lush, green plants.

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  • Issue Number Number 11
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Annual

If you’ve not yet been introduced to Saranac Review, consider this your opportunity. Published by the Department of English and its Writing Arts Program of SUNY College at Plattsburgh, I’m not sure what preconceived notions that might give writers and readers, but my first response after reading a good chunk of it was ‘surprising variety.’ Many of the works were surprising—either as non-traditional in their form or in leaving me pleasantly surprised by the feeling of satisfaction at the close of my reading.

  • Issue Number Volume 18 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

An exceptional collection as is typical of this attractively presented journal.

  • Issue Number Volume 4 Number 43
  • Published Date 2006
  • Publication Cycle Triannual

A theme-based literary magazine from Vancouver, the fiction, poetry, commentary, memoir, and photography in the current issue of subTerrain explore the idea of “neighborhoods,” both fictional and real. Much of the work is vivid, raw, and gritty (poems Christopher Shoust and John Roberts, stories by Hungarian writer Grant Shipway and Katherine Cameron). Given the edginess of so much of the work, Diana E. Leung’s commentary, “Buying-in-Security: Safe Zones and Sanitized Living” about the culture of fear in which we live and the building of crime-free zones in Toronto seems appropriate, and given the times in which we live, it is satisfying to find a thoughtful commentary about these issues in a literary magazine.

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  • Issue Number Issue 5
  • Published Date April 2016
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online

Sonic Boom is a journal “for writing that explodes.” Even the cover art of the April 2016 issue explodes with rich colored graffiti, a photograph by Kyle Hemmings. Issues start out in the Poetry Shack, then move on to Paper Lanterns—a section for haiku, tanka, senryu, and other Japanese forms—before continuing on to prose, art, and an interview, with 64 total contributors found in this issue alone.

  • Subtitle The Washington and Lee University Review
  • Issue Number Volume 53 Number 3
  • Published Date Fall 2003
Civil war buffs will particularly enjoy this Fall 2003 issue of Shenandoah as it features a portfolio of twenty-three poems about the Civil War. It also showcases non-fiction, short fiction, poetry, and book reviews; many of the pieces have in common a sense of restraint, almost an old-fashioned polite reserve. Work here is on the formal rather than the experimental side. I enjoyed Paul Zimmer’s amusing non-fiction piece “The Commissioner of Paper Football” and Mark Doty’s lyrical poem “Fire to Fire,” which begins:  “All smolder and oxblood, / these flowerheads, / flames of August: / …the paired goldfinches / come swerving quick / on the branching towers, // so the blooms / sway with the heft / of hungers…” Overall a satisfying read, especially those who like Southern regional flavor; there were quite a few contributors from the state of Virginia and its environs. One note for fans: the editor writes that this journal will now be appearing three times a year instead of four. [Shenandoah, Washington and Lee University, Troubadour Theater, 2nd Floor, Box W, Lexington, VA, 24450-0303. shenandoahliterary.org/index.html] – JHG

In the “Route 66” issue, River Styx succeeds in its “homage to that lingering spirit of the road” with poems (by Gaylord Brewer, Walt McDonald, Nancy Krygowski, Rafael Campo, among others), short fiction, essays, illustrations and photography. These lively pieces concentrate on the vast subject matter encountered during automobile travel around the United States. 

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  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
South 85 Journal lets readers and writers know that they’re especially interested in writing with a strong voice and/or a strong sense of setting, and the writing in the Fall/Winter 2015 issue demonstrates this preference, with just enough selections in each genre to keep a reader interested without being overwhelmed. There’s no padding here, no skimming of pieces, no skipping anything over. Each piece begs to be fully consumed.
  • Subtitle New Lyric Essayists
  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2005
I Wanted to Write a Poem, William Carlos Williams explained why he reduced a five line stanza so that it would match a four line stanza: “See how much better it conforms to the page, how much better it looks?” Unsurprisingly, this same attention to form–form for form’s sake, as an aesthetic consideration, perhaps even more than a literary one–characterizes much of the work of the fifteen writers Seneca Review features in their Spring 2005 edition “New Lyric Essayists.”
  • Issue Number Volume 41 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2005
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Everything expected of a journal co-founded by Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks is here in an issue commemorating Warren's 10oth birthday with his own fine prose (three letters to friends) and six memoirs—including the delightful "Places: A Memoir" by his daughter, poet Rosanna Warren. In a season in which rereading All the King's Men for dominant themes seems ever more relevant, the brilliant short stories in this issue touch upon war in "Hot Coffee, Summer" by Christine Grillo, in John Lee's perfect, first-published story "Fires"—"[. . .] a thin blaze over the northern horizon, and we heard that Seoul was about to fall when the pyobom, the leopard, began to appear in the valley," and in Asako Serizawa's memorable study of Alzheimer's Disease "Flight," astonishingly also a first publication.
  • Issue Number Volume 41 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2003
This slim but vivacious lit mag out of the University of South Dakota is bristling with content: eight short stories, twenty-eight poems, and two essays.
  • Subtitle The Journal of the E. E. Cummings Society
  • Issue Number Number 11
  • Published Date October 2002
Always been a fan of E.E. Cummings? Then Spring is the journal for you – nothing for 234 pages but essays about Cummings, poetry influenced by Cummings, and critical examinations of his life and work, with titles like “Hermetism in the Poetry of E.E. Cummings: An Analysis of Three Obscure Poems” and “Squaring the Self: Versions of Transcendentalism in The Enormous Room.” You may see how these kinds of pieces may appeal mainly to scholars of the late poet’s work, but even amateur fans of Cummings can appreciate the playful poems, like this one by Tony Quagliano called “ON BLY ON POETRY”:
  • Issue Number Volume 27 Number 1
  • Published Date 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

The Seattle Review's lovely cover photograph belies the region's mountainous nature by offering not a hint of near—or distant—mountains while providing the merest glimpse of Lake Washington; and from a locale often thought stubbornly regional, this issue's surprising highlight is Kathleen Wiegner's interview of M. Scott Momaday: "Some of my students sometimes say to me, 'Wouldn't it be wonderful if you wrote in Kiowa?' My answer is, well, in the first place, you can't. There's no written language.

  • Issue Number Volume 17 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of Santa Monica Review is an extraordinary collection of memorable short stories and novel excerpts. Editor Andrew Tonkovich has selected outstanding first-person narrations with the theme of morality, as well as religion, appearing in most and uniting them in surprising ways. From the amusing dangers of “Daily Evangelism," by James D. Houston to Paul Eggers's moving "A Thinly Veiled Autobiography Regarding My Reasons for Giving Up Chess," moral concerns rank high. In Roberto Ontiveros's "The Fight for Space," the narrator—meshing his mundane job and intellectual super-hero obsessions with Batman's fictional universe—comes down hard on the comic-book icon: "Batman's trophy room pisses me off the most; it's like our hero does not want to find peace."
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  • Issue Number Issue 16
  • Published Date Fall 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Produced by the students of creative writing and web design at Arizona State University, the online Superstition Review showcases a great selection of writing and art, all easily accessible from a cell phone.
  • Issue Number Volume 4 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2003
This magazine is short and pleasant, about 150 pages. Within its covers, the reader will find stories, an interview, pictures, and lots of poetry. Many of the stories and poems in this issue seem to center around parent-child relationships. There are several Jewish stories and poems and a Latin American story. Another story focused on a young girl’s reaction to Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, filled with emotion and poignancy.
  • Issue Number Issue 51
  • Published Date 2003
I read this literary magazine from cover to cover. (Well, OK, this is a bilingual publication. I did NOT read the Italian translations of stories, just the English.) Every story in it was fabulous, every interview with the author of the published stories interesting. From Joyce Carol Oates’s exploration of a young girl’s disappearance in a New Jersey town to Massimo Lolli’s description of a dance hall where strangers meet for a few minutes for sex and intimacy, the four stories collected in this volume were stunning. However, my favorite part of Storie is the section near the end where they include a short paragraph critiquing the stories that they rejected for this issue. Witty, kind, but also critical, these paragraphs seem a unique service to the writer: a mention of the story and its merits but also its shortcomings. [Storie,Via Suor Celestina Donati 13/E, 00167 Rome, ITALY. E-mail: . Single issue $10. http://www.storie.it/contenuti/english.HTM] - JP
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  • Issue Number Issue 20
  • Published Date Winter 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Reading Still Point Arts Quarterly is like being able to go into your local art gallery, all in the comfort of your favorite pair of pajamas. With selections from the Still Point Arts Gallery, each issue is a peek through the gallery’s windows, the Winter 2015 issue featuring selections from the exhibition: Simplicity.
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  • Issue Number Issue 40
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Annual
A lot of originality is packed into a smart little anthology called Studio One. Take a look at the bright cover art, “Old Lady with the Black Eye” by multi-talented Ernest Williamson, greeting readers. Williamson has an additional painting within the volume, “Artist Delving into Her Craft,” which on the one hand I can’t quite figure out, and on the other hand I find impossible to stop looking at. Also outstanding is a portfolio of five luminous scenes by Colorado photographer Rita Thomas. “Pixie Forest,” which appears to be frost-covered trees by moonlight, is most stunning.
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  • Issue Number Issue 7
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual
In 1981, I spent two weeks in the former Soviet Union. Every city was a highlight, but the most breathtaking destination was Peter the Great’s summer palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. The garden fountains were fun, yet I found the dazzlingly golden statues most extraordinary. Those recollections piqued my interest in reading an issue of St. Petersburg Review.
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Story publishes pieces following a particular theme, and the Monsters issue is as haunting as the title suggests. Stephen T. Asma writes in his essay, “Monsters and the Moral Imagination,” “Good monster stories can transmit moral truths to us by showing us examples of dignity and depravity without preaching or proselytizing.” The pieces chosen for this issue do exactly that, ranging from things that go bump in the night to memories that haunt individuals each day.
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  • Issue Number Volume 4 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Storm Cellar is a slim little lit mag, just the right size to slip into my already-near-bursting tote bag. It’s the perfect magazine to keep on hand when readers have a few moments to spare before bed or while drinking their morning coffee.
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  • Issue Number Volume 51 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Time Magazine once labeled The Southern Review as “superior to any other journal in the English language.” The latest edition published on the campus of the Louisiana State University lives up to the high standards that their readers love and have come to expect since the magazine’s inception in 1935. You will not regret reading this cover to cover.
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  • Issue Number Volume 5 Number 2
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Jumping into Stoneboat, this issue is kicked off by CL Bledsoe’s poem, “The Squeaky Wheel Has Been Anesthetized.” At the end of the poem the speaker says, “[ . . . ] upsetting. I know we’re all dying at our own pace, / just trying to find a comfortable place to lie down.” The ending of the poem links back to the title’s anesthetization, as well as showcases the poem’s buried rhymes, while working as a good opener for this issue.
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  • Issue Number Volume 102 Issue 01
  • Published Date Winter 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Editor in Chief Jake Lans challenges readers to disagree with what this issue of Santa Clara Review “says” in its presentation of diverse content. “It would be so boring if you didn’t,” he prods. Would if I could, but because I appreciate the variety of what’s published here, even if not all of it suits me, I can only agree with Lans. Diversity of content in any publication is essential—it would be so boring if it wasn’t!
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  • Issue Number Volume 51, Issues 3 & 4
  • Published Date 2015
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
What stuck out to me the most in this issue of the South Dakota Review was the poetry section, not only because I am a poet by nature, but because of the depth and breadth of range from ghostly lines to historical narratives. The poetry section begins with “Black Tigers” by Angela Penaredondo. Borrowing its epigraph from Wole Soyinka’s “Civilian and Soldier,” “Black Tigers” follows the life of a young female civilian soldier and the everyday preparations of dying. In the poem, she “shall be severed. Spread with voracity, / then refined to seeds and meat. / This land. All hunger girls.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 34
  • Published Date Spring 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Syracuse, New York was the center of a major salt-mining industry in the 18th and 19th centuries, such that it acquired the nickname “Salt City.” This fact may explain the name of the literary magazine Salt Hill, which bears the logo of a little glass salt shaker. The magazine itself only says: “Salt Hill is published by a group of writers affiliated with the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 39 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Lovers of poetry, readers, and writers alike, will find much to swoon over in the Winter issue of Spoon River Poetry Review (SRPR). The issue opens with the winner, the runners-up, and the honorable mentions of the Editors' Prize for 2014. I suggest that readers take in the prize winners and all of the poems in the issue as if drinking quality wine and measure each poem for the appropriate acid, body, and finish it exhibits, for each has the right structure, power, and lingering aftertaste that makes reading poetry so satisfying.
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  • Issue Number Number 39
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2014-15
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The current issue of Salamander is chock-full of human experience. One might think a large role of all literature is to capture such experience, and I believe this to be true, but the poems and stories in this issue provide experience in the purest way. Our lives are lived through fragments even though time feels linear. The work published in this issue show us fragmented living.
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  • Issue Number Issue 16
  • Published Date Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The title Skidrow Penthouse evokes images of grit. A cover photo featuring bird heads and faceless, female nudes immediately confronts readers with the promise of grit. The 200+ pages of varied writing paired with black and white art neither disappoint, nor fall short of those gritty suggestions. The entire volume is a pleasure to navigate, but the words are not always nice.
  • Subtitle A Literary Confection
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  • Issue Number Volume 7 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2014
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
One thing to be said about Sweet’s publications is the creative “cover” of each online issue, making the issue even more of an experience. With this issue, it’s all about the autumn treats: the table of contents is set up like a tray of blueberry pie, the section titles powdered with sugar. And each slice, each piece of writing, is a delicious treat. Courtney Kersten’s very short essays are easily relatable and allow the metaphors to provide all of the insight. For example, in “My Father in Wisconsin,” her father experiences a tragic event, and as a result of it, he has large scars from the gashes: “When I was younger, I would watch him shirtless and swearing and lugging things around the front yard unable to fathom how such deep gashes were able to heal.”
Rust, dust, lust is the three-pronged theme carried in the pages of this year's Slipstream. Poems start on page 5 of this issue and continue, unrelentingly in all the right ways through page 92. That's 87 consecutive pages of notable work! Janet Warman and Margo Davis do an absolutely amazing job, separately, in weaving a compelling link between all three themes in a short space. Warman's poem “Tin Man” uses familiar subject matter for the most part and left me cringing in anticipation. School plays, for their derision among parents, foster a necessity for creative ingenuity and a waypoint for future childhood memories. The lines "She made us rust, / and I was to grab his legs / as he told his Beautiful story." showcase this perfectly.
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  • Published Date Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
This issue of Sixth Finch begins with the line “You wish for a moon,” from Elizabeth Barnett’s “Between Two Houses,” which ends, “if sometimes / a house hurts you, // you still walk toward it / in the dark.” So tread forward into this issue; you may be wishing for a moon—beautiful turns of lines—and you’re most certainly walking in the dark, not sure what you’ll find, but I promise it won’t hurt you.
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  • Issue Number Volume 7 Issue 7
  • Published Date 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual online

This issue of Southern Women’s Review has a “Bust” theme and is full and broad in exciting and enriching literature including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. As I was traveling at the time of reading this issue, I took special note of Kerry Madden-Lunsford’s piece in which the narrator is in China teaching English but is feeling isolated and very much an outsider. Although she wants to learn her own way into the culture, she can’t seem to and retreats back to English literature to find her own comfort.

  • Issue Number Volume 5 Number 44
  • Published Date 2006
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
You could try cocaine, or you could read subTerrain. This Vancouver-based magazine is rough around the edges but compensates with winning, dark intense fiction and warm, intelligent nonfiction and poems. The piece I can’t stop talking about in this issue is “The Shark Tumour Collection,” a short story by Jill Connell. An 18-year-old pet store employee with cancer decides sharks, an animal made entirely of cartilage, would be the perfect anti-cancer talismans.
  • Issue Number Volume 43 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
In the introduction to the seventeenth installment of the “Writing in the South” series, Editor Bret Lott questions the past, present and future of Southern literature through the lens of Walter Sullivan’s essay in the original “Writing in the South” issue, thirty-nine years ago. Sullivan wrote, “[…] the new Southern writer must be something other than Southern: his faith and vision must be fixed somewhere beyond the Southern experience: he must find his own source.
It’s fitting that the journal whose health T.S. Eliot once lauded as an indicator of the world of periodicals should publish such an issue. The Sewanee Review’s issue comes subtitled “A Salute to British and American Poetry.” The opening pages are a list of books reviewed, including Wendell Berry’s Given, W.D. Snodgrass’s Not for the Specialists: New and Selected Poems, and the much lauded Adam Kirsch volume, The Wounded Surgeon. There’s a menagerie of material here.
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  • Issue Number Issue 17
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
I was surprised when I realized that Subtropics was barely more than five years old. Of course the issue number is right there, announcing itself on the front cover, but I don’t think it’s entirely my fault for forgetting: published out of the University of Florida,Subtropics has the look, feel, and quality of a journal that’s been around for much longer. And if my word isn’t enough, you can check the records: last year alone, the journal had fiction chosen to appear in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2014 and Best American Short Stories 2014.
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  • Issue Number Volume 25
  • Published Date May 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The epigraph at the beginning of this issue of The Sierra Nevada Review comes from Aimé Césaire: “What presides over the poem is not the most lucid intelligence, or the most acute sensibility, but an entire experience: all the women loved, all the desires experienced, all the dreams dreamed, all the images received or grasped, the whole weight of the body, the whole weight of the mind.” This epigraph couldn’t fit more perfectly as each piece within this issue asks the question “What happens when a body (or person) enters a foreign place, what is the experience?”
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  • Issue Number Volume 15 Number 4
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Sow's Ear Poetry Review does better than many literary magazines at integrating poetry and visual arts. In fact, marrying the two genres is the express intention of its "Crossover" section, which features the 8 x 10-inch digital mixed-media selections Wholeness and Eternity by Jing Zhou. Part of a series called "Ch'an Mind; Zen Mind," these black-and-white pieces demand repeat "readings," as does Sandra Kohler's nine-part poem cycle "The Unveiling." With its elliptical structure, recurrent imagery, and timeless theme, this poem amply rewards the reader who peels back the layers of craft and meaning. More direct but no less moving are Christine Leche's "Three-Minute Egg" and "Eye of the Storm," and upon reading Kelly Jean White's "I Cannot Say How Deep the Snow," I felt a chime of recognition. I would have positioned "The Drowning Man" by Nick Conrad as the issue's finale poem, for its haunting quality will linger with readers long after they have set the journal aside.
  • Issue Number Number 9
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
I confess I missed the first eight issues, but now that I’ve become acquainted with this unconventional journal, I’d recommend it, especially to readers who prefer a great, big messy read of a review to more slender volumes. Everything about this magazine is big from its oxymoronic title, to the type size of its 300 pages, to the startling amount of space devoted to this issue’s “featured poet,” Anthony Seidman – a whopping 60 pages. I’d venture to say that Seidman is the most widely published writer in the issue, though it would be impossible to judge based on credentials.
  • Issue Number Volume 38 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
As a group, the titles will tell you a lot: “Little Incisions,” “From God’s Notebook,” “In My Version of the Afterlife Grandma is Riding an Elephant,” “When Dada Ordered Chinese,” “Apparatus for the Inscription of a Falling Body,” “Scar Art,” “Six Whole Ducks in the Belly of an Ounce I Once Killed,” “The Middle-Class Philistine Heartfield Gone Wild.” Was Seneca Review always this, well, edgy? Is edgy the right word? Inventive? Out of the ordinary? Provocative, that’s it!
  • Issue Number Volume 43 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Could there be a better moment for a re-examination of the very notion of “America?” With a translation from the French of noted French art historian, essayist, and poet Yves Bonnefoy’s story, “America” (translated by Hoyt Rogers), essays on white poverty in the south (Wayne Flight), and on modernism and democratic pluralism, with a focus on John Dewey (Allen Dunn), and fiction that considers American family life (Brigitte McCray), I am tempted to say that the editors of this issue of Southern Humanities Review (SHR) predicted, months ago, our need to explore what is at the essence of American identity during the current time of turmoil and transition.
  • Issue Number Volume 20 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This all fiction issue of SMR is jam-packed with quality prose. From traditional storytelling to more experimental fiction, this issue covers the gamut. I was also pleased to see among the contributors a first time publication for a writer.
  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
The Straddler is a journal that hungers to challenge the mind of its readers by publishing a diverse and heady collection of literature whether it is poetry, fiction, essay, movie review or criticism. In one of their introductory pieces, “An Editor Has Her Say,” by Elizabeth Murphy, they break down their philosophy to its core elements: “Put even more simply, our hope is to provide a venue for work that understands the importance of its context. That is, without tossing the rinds and skating away.” So, do not cower in an intellectual stupor because you are scared of the truth. Here, the truth is something to be embraced, stimulated and coaxed into being because it is potent and intoxicating.
SWAMP is an online magazine that exists to feature the writing from postgraduate creative writing students. Edited by postgraduate writers, it is a great community for these students.
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date March 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Star 82 Review puts forth its first issue, filled with sections titled “Shorts,” “Postcard Lit,” “Art Post,” “Erasure Text,” and “Hidden Gems.” I wish this magazine well, because they are already publishing great work.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Spry is a new literary journal that claims to be a place “for people who excel at taking risks.” And certainly, even in their very first issue, they have succeeded with this.
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  • Published Date Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Enter Shadowbox’s site and you’ll see a shadowbox filled will several objects. Clicking on the image of the flowers will bring up this issue’s featured writing. It brings up a spice rack, each bottle containing a spice of life, if you will. Dedicated entirely to all forms of creative nonfiction, Shadowbox presents a collection worth reading. Some pieces are in the traditional essay form, while others stray quite a bit, opening up new ways to see creative nonfiction.
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  • Issue Number Issue 82
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
The title intrigued me. As I took my Pandora-esque peek between the pages of Sinister Wisdom, I was caught in a whirlwind of shadows, hope, despair, courage and fire. There is no complacency here, folks, so if that’s what you came for, you’ve come to the wrong place. These essays, poetry and art by lesbians who experienced the “coming out” times of the 60’s and 70’s force the reader’s eyes open, shines a light into them—a light that is sometimes too bright, too painful. You want to look away, but don’t. There is much here that you should not miss.
For all the hoopla and sage editorial paragraphs regarding work grounded in location and place on the submission pages of many, many journals, few magazines can come close to the South Dakota Review’s incredibly grounded, sure, located/locatable collection in this, their 40th anniversary issue. As E.I. Pruitt writes to begin his poem “Corn”: “You can’t live in this part of the world for long / without developing a personal relationship with corn.”
  • Issue Number Issue 42
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Since this is an annual publication—despite title—the short story's continuing evolution may be visible—although not yet deciphered—over even the one short year of this stellar 528-page collection.
  • Issue Number Volume 56 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2006
  • Publication Cycle Annual
American folk music enthusiasts will want to check out this issue devoted to traditional music of the Appalachian region. It includes interviews with Janette Carter and Mike Seeger, whose families have long performed and preserved mountain music and culture. Other essays highlight the careers of fiddlers J.P. Fraley and Tommy Jarrell, as well as guitarist and singer Elizabeth Cotten. Among the poems in this volume, several honor particular performers (Jeffrey Harrison’s “Homage to Roscoe Holcomb” and Ron Rash’s “Elegy for Merle Watson”), while others evoke the songs themselves (Candice Ward’s “Ballad Child” and George Scarbrough’s “The Old Man”), or explore their power over listeners (Judy Klass’ “Conundrum and Fiddle” and “The Tao of Twang” and John Casteen’s “Insomnia”). An excerpt from the novel Fiddler’s Dream (SMU Press, 2006), about a young musician who wants to play bluegrass and find his missing musician father, amply demonstrates Gregory Spatz’s ability to write lyrically about music and music makers.
  • Issue Number Number 152
  • Published Date Fall 2006
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This non-fiction issue of Salmagundi includes, along with much else, Richard Howard's response to disdain for works older than one's self—"A Lecture on a Certain Mistrust of the Past among Young Writers"—and "The Women of Whitechapel: Two Poems" by Nancy Schoenberger, whose second victim, remarkably perceptive under the circumstances, comments: "[. . .] a gentleman's a man where darkness lurks until it's sprung by some medicinal." Linda Simon's curious title, "What Lies Beneath," is a review of Virginia Blum's Flesh Wounds, the search for redemption via cosmetic surgery. From David Bosworth's "Auguries of Decadence – American Television in the Age of Empire": "If the rude yoking of the picayune to the profound is a feature of the post modern [. . .]," his brilliant 50-page rumination on TV's spectacles of pain and folly—weeping Kurdish women, Extreme Makeover's cosmetic-surgery desperadoes—is postmodern, indeed; and also a hard-hitting indictment of the Bush administration. "D. H. Lawrence, Comedian" by Jeffrey Meyers must concede the humor of Lawrence may be easily mistaken for misogyny, as in this example: "[. . .] I feel such a profound hatred of myself, of the human race, I almost know what it is to be a Jew." Informative and entertaining as all this is, one expects no less from a journal claiming Russell Banks, Carolyn Forche, and Mario Vargas Llosa among its regular contributors.
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  • Issue Number Volume 43 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
A dormant but beautifully ominous volcano sets the mood for this compelling issue of Southern Humanities Review (SHR). From the Japanese art on the cover, to the final poem “Resurrection: Ivorybill,” by Ashley Mace Havird, an undertone of imminent eruption, and the realms that will be, are, or have been downstream from the event, pervades each piece. This is not to say that every piece is dark and looming; rather, whether fissures of perception, or pyroclastic flows of meaning and connection, this issue conveys that the effects of earth-shattering change are worthy of being felt, remembered, and revered.
Always surprising and unconventional, this issue of Salt Hill is even edgier than usual, with Thom Ward's "imaginary" scholar Dr. Arnold Schnagel and Schnagel's parody of reviews and critiques (like this one!) of the work of "imaginary poet" Jan DeKeerk whose very real poetry is translated here (from Flemish) by Schnagel; and Steve Almond's interview with novelist and screenwriter Tom Perotta ("Q: But you don't behave badly?" A: Well, I'm a fiction writer"); and Denise Duhamel's poem "Lost Bra," thirty-four couplets, every line of which ends with the words "Maidenform Bra." G. C. Waldrep contributes three poems with his signature merger of the sacred and the profane (as it happens, a story about Waldrep's conversion to the Amish is featured in the latest issue of Poets & Writers and provides a context for his work). Poet Miles Waggener contributes excellent translations from the Spanish of three poems by Jaime Siles — poems that at moments sound as raw as Peter Cooley, who also has a poem in this issue, and a verse or two later as erudite as Jorge Luis Borges: "Hace que deulen hasta los pronombres/It hurts right to the very pronouns." There's never a dull moment at Salt Hill. [Salt Hill,  Syracuse University, English Department, Syracuse, NY 13244. E-mail: . Single issue $8. http://students.syr.edu/salthill/] - SR
  • Issue Number Volume 16 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2004
At first glance, Sycamore Review seems a typical literary journal, divided into the usual blocks: poetry, fiction, interview, review. A deeper look reveals an eclectic and engaging selection of work. Smart but not obtuse, the poetry is well-crafted with diverse subject matter - mortality, refugee camps, a child’s collection of pets - but my favorites are the witty pieces. One standout is Mary Jo Firth Gillett’s “On Being Asked by a Student How You Know When a Poem Is Done” (“I say, when you’ve given up searching / for something to rhyme with orange because / you’ve eaten the orange.”)
  • Subtitle A Journal of Prose Poetics
  • Published Date 2003
Size and shape matter — literally and metaphorically. And because they do, Sentence is off to a great start with this inaugural issue. The journal has an inordinately pleasing size and shape, both literally and metaphorically. With an announced bias for work that does not veer toward sudden fiction, editor Brian Clements describes the journal's purpose as "a full-service forum for readers, writers, critics, and scholars of the prose poem tradition…critical and scholarly essays, translations, occasional interviews, a bibliography of recent criticism…and our 'Views and Reviews' section where you can vent your most dearly held opinions…Sentence will have the widest scope."
  • Issue Number Volume 40 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2004
The Southern Review is one in that clutch of legendary literary journals, which in many decades of existence have unfailingly proffered the work of America’s finest writers.
StoryQuarterly magazine is neither a quarterly nor really a magazine. Rather, it is an annually published tome of fiction. Issue 40 clocks in at 563 pages, almost triple the average lit mag length and about the same price. You might assume that with so much fiction it couldn’t fail to have enough good work to justify the price, and you would be correct. There are several good short-shorts here such as Nathan Alling Long’s somber “Between” about a son who only knows his father through the prison bars when he visits once a month. Steve Almond has an interesting one titled “At Age 91, Anna Smolz of the Gmersh Unit Speaks.” This issue also includes a great group of color photos all taken in the Midwest as well as a long interview between Tom Stoppard and Charlie Rose. However, my favorite piece in StoryQuarterly 40 was Rebecca Curtis’ idiosyncratic, pseudo-fairy tale, “The Wolf at the Door.” Here is a snippet to catch your interest:
Southwest Review is already one of the most established journals in the U.S., but this issue receives a commemorative boost with the recent passing of the great Arthur Miller: “The Turpentine Still,” one of his last works, is included here. Through the eyes of Levin, a 1950’s ex-radical, the novella ventures into the pine mountains of Haiti around one American’s quixotic dreams of industrializing the country.
This glossy black-and-white journal of poetry, prose and art work showcased some fantastic photography of human female subjects in Old Havana, Cuba, by Karen Keating (especially moving: a portrait called “Fidel’s Granddaughter,” a wide-eyed toddler with her hand on her hip, and “Teenager on Cuba Street,” a pensive girl in a tight, revealing outfit) as well as literary work of equal merit. Particularly interesting was a non-fiction piece on the tragic life of Modigiliani’s final mistress by Jacqueline Kolosov, “Seule: The Story of Jeanne Hebuterne, Modigliani’s Last Mistress.”
  • Issue Number Volume 21 Issue 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
My favorite section of this issue was the interviews: Theresa D. Smith interviews the poet Adam Zagajewski, and Mehdi Okasi interviews the novelist Lan Samantha Chang. Zagajewski discusses how he writes poetry, why he writes poetry and themes in his work. “The empirical world is less luminous than our favorite books of poetry,” he concludes. Chang talks about her craft process and how reading other contemporary novelists has challenged her to write differently than she originally intended. These mini Paris Review-like interviews are both informative and inspiring.
  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Slice Magazine is definitely slick. To begin with, it has a nice shape, slightly more square than rectangular, bigger than the typical paperback book – its very size lending itself more to the coffee table display than the random misplacement on an overstuffed bookshelf. Page by page, the design by Amy Sly and Amanda Ice is hip and pleasing to the eye; this issue is embellished throughout with a color I want to name “pumpkin,” the only additional color enhancing the requisite black and white. Titles are rewarded with their very own pages, the type large, unique, inviting, accompanied by a thematically appropriate illustration or photograph. Even the white spaces between sections of prose are uniquely addressed; while one story is divided by three pumpkin colored X’s, the next is divided by a series of pumpkin colored asterisks, the next by a pair of slightly staggered lines. The cover illustration by Jessica Gomez is immediately followed by an equally appealing cover photograph by Patrick Schlichtenmyer, as if the burden of narrowing in on a single cover layout was simply too much to bear. Teetering somewhere between an art/lit magazine or a lit/art magazine, the overall design and presentation of Slice is definitely exemplary.
  • Issue Number Volume 10
  • Publication Cycle Annual
South Loop Review is the creative nonfiction and art annual published by the English Department of Columbia College Chicago, and though said to “give greater emphasis to non-linear narratives and blended genres,” I would say the publication as a whole is fairly balanced in its variety. It might be more accurate to say the non-linear and blended genres are the stronger and more lasting pieces in this issue.
  • Issue Number Volume 117 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Only three writers have ever published plays in The Sewanee Review, including William Hoffman, whose drama in this issue, “The Spirit in Me,” based on a story of the same title, appeared in the Review twenty-five years ago. The play takes place in a southern West Virginia coal town (Hoffman’s father, incidentally, owned a coal mine) in the sweltering summer of 1936 and is an exploration of race and class issues which unfold inside the framework of a love story, shaped by the strong arm of the law and the church. The dialogue is fast-paced, despite the sluggish, heavy heat, and the voices clear and true and particular. It’s easy to imagine a production of this short play, with its spicy, clipped dialogue, finely etched characters, enormous imaginative opportunities for a set, and historical importance.
  • Issue Number Number 6
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
You can hold Sentence in one hand. It’s fat, but also squat, and just the right size for a one-fisted read, so you can hold a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, in one hand and hold up the journal in the other. But, wait – you won’t need the caffeine or the booze. Sentence provides its own special and particular high. I have loved it from the first issue, and this one is easy to love, too.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This thin, yet surprisingly full journal is a collection of poems far more diverse than their numbers might suggest. It was a wonder reading all these lovely pieces, and I’m hoping that there are many more issues of Supermachine to follow.
“I can sometimes almost read the inscriptions on brick walls, in doorways, between/ the wing blades of pigeons.” So writes Yvonne C. Murphy, in her poem “Avenue of the Strongest.” Slipstream No. 25, a journal, as always, consisting solely of poetry, is rife with equal allusions to both the body and to the written word, both in crude and refined forms. At first this seems a strange set of motifs to underline a journal. But a second look finds body and text not altogether removed, and, in fact, a relatively popular contemporary discussion.
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  • Issue Number Volume 5 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Published by Pacific University in Oregon, Silk Road includes fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. As diverse as these three genres are, so is the work presented within each.
StoryQuarterly, an annual lit mag out of Chicago, is a tome of pure fiction that, if somewhat uneven, is never dissatisfying.
The Sewanee Review, for those of you not familiar, is one of the bastions, along with the Southern Review, of regional literary culture in the South and one of the reasons people talk about “Southern writers.” I always read the essays in the Sewanee Review with as much interest as the featured poetry and fiction because they stand out as vibrant and gripping.
Reliably excellent, Shenandoah delivers in this issue all that you expect – big names, solid writing, earnest essays – an overall package flavored with its slight regional tang. However, let it not be said that Shenandoah clings to the “merely” regional, as writers from farther afield – including, in this issue, Marvin Bell, David Wagoner, and Mary Oliver – crop up on a regular basis. In this issue, besides the usual offerings, you’ll find the AWP Intro Journals Project Award winners in fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
My background for loving art is completely pop-music based, so of course some aspect of me is eternally High Fidelity bound to rank and list and award and order all that I read. It is in this vein that I have to be completely, over-the-top hyperbolic and reverent and honest: Swink is certainly the best new literary magazine of the year, and if the last few years hadn’t been so great (One Story, Land-Grant College Review, further back to McSweeneys and Tin House) this journal would take the prize for best in a few years.
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  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date Fiction Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Reviewing Sixfold is an entirely different game due to the way submissions are selected. Instead of being voted on by a judge or editors of the magazine, submissions are voted on by other writers that submit, working their way up the ranks until the top 3 are selected for prizes and others are selected for inclusion into the issue.
  • Issue Number Volume 59 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
As usual there are great poems and stories in the latest issue of Shenandoah, though I must say that the two essays, Jeffrey Hammond’s engaging “My Father’s Hats, and a wrenching must-read by Shari Wagner, “Camels, Cowries & A Poem for Aisha,” about harrowing conditions in Somalia, are stand-outs. Set within the frame of a memoir, Jeffrey Hammond’s essay, “My Father’s Hats,” is an entertaining history of the hat, beginning with the snug pilos, the Greek name for a common, helmet-shaped cap made of felt. I sat at my computer as I read, Googling the names of hats as Hammond’s prose moved through the centuries.
  • Issue Number Volume 88
  • Published Date 2003
Oh Sally Bingham and William Wenthe! Oh John DeCaire and Kathryn Ma! Of the 28 authors with work in this journal, the sighing, huge vowel and exclamation could be used on just about any of them. The Southwest Review comes out of Dallas, Texas and while its cover trumpets nothing so much as a mature, almost National Affairs-esque sobriety (the lower half of the cover is a list of the work inside, and maybe it’s just me, but I’d take a cover like Tin House and get my ingredient list from the table of contents), the work within wanders different trails.
  • Issue Number Volume 34 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
I wonder what Abraham Lincoln (yes, that Abraham Lincoln), whose poems with their broad metaphoric strokes and plain, but competent rhymes conclude this issue (“And here’s an object more of dread, / Than ought the grave contains – / A human-form, with reason fled, / While wretched life remains.”), would make of Martha Carlson-Bradley’s objects: “Locked in the past, insistent, / someone knocks on the door/midmorning – // as metal trays in the freezer / trap their half-formed ice / and sanitary napkins hide, / wrapped like mummies / in the trash.”
  • Issue Number Volume 2
  • Published Date 2005
The second issue of Swivel is a wry collection of fiction, essays, poetry, and yes, even the occasional comic strip, all written by women. “This time,” says editor Brangien Davis, “the zeitgeist is littered with beasts,” meaning that thematically, this issue seems inexplicably connected by animals — including giraffes.
  • Issue Number Volume 42 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2004
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Published by the University of South Dakota since 1963, this issue of South Dakota Review contains many fine stories including James Jay Egan's "The Hand of God," in which things go terribly wrong, Robert J. Nelson's graceful memoir "The Music Teacher," Katherine L. Holmes lyrical "Eggs in a Basket," and Christine Sneed's "Furious Weather."
  • Issue Number Issue Twelve
  • Published Date April 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Eric Pankey and Jim Daniels, John Kinsella and Denise Duhamel — there's no formula here, no template — the breadth of poems in Smartish Pace is one of its key attractions. Forty-two poets as different from each other as forty-two poets can be. There is a pleasing balance here, too, of stars (Bob Hicock and Lola Haskins, not to mention Rimbaud, Italian poet Giovanii Pascoli, and Polish poet Jerzy Kronhold, in addition to the aforementioned) and newcomers. I am sure I would have found Darren Jackson's poem, "Pain Rents a Room Off Bourbon Street," one of his first to be published, powerful had I read it last week or last year, but from here forward, of course, it becomes an entirely new experience:
  • Issue Number Volume 39 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2005
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Southern Humanities Review has respect for the questions of moral fabric that challenge a classical, essentialist universe, but it is not strictly a religious journal.
  • Issue Number Volume 113 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2005
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Officially this country’s most time-tested literary quarterly (it was founded in 1892), The Sewanee Review is one in that very small number of old-school American journals that just can’t be messed with, the kind of publication that can successfully sport an antiquated, unembellished cardstock cover without seeming quaint or stodgy. A reviewer feels, while reading a publication whose founding date stands more than a century back, that any inspired high praise will seem inordinately past its deadline.
If it has ever occurred to you to wonder where exactly one might draw the line between poetry and prose, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself engrossed by Sentence, amongst whose litany of stated objectives you’ll find: “to explore the gray areas around the prose poem,” and to “publish work that extends our perception of what the ‘prose poem’ is or can be.” And even if it’s never occurred to you to worry about “the distinction between the prose poem and poetic prose,” you’ll still find yourself engrossed—I can practically promise.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The inaugural issue of Sakura Review is striking in its simplicity. The cover of this perfect-bound journal sports a line drawing of a naked tree surrounded by its fallen leaves, and the back cover just a stump, still surrounded by the undisturbed leaves.
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  • Issue Number Volume 60 Numbers 1-2
  • Published Date Spring/Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
This issue is a tribute to Flannery O’Connor. Eleven essays are accompanied by the work of 11 short story writers, more than a dozen poets, 7 visual artists, a book review, and a series of O’Connor’s letters in their original forms. Photographs by Kathleen Gerard of O’Connor’s residence, Andalusia, are marvelous with their intricate shadows and acute sense of place. I had never really wanted to visit this site until I saw these photos.
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  • Issue Number Volume 6
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
All the bad, bad boys. You sort of wanted them to fraternize with each other—take the sociopath Greg from Erika Wurth’s short story “Freight Train” and introduce him to the Matthew/Luke character (trust me, they are merged in the story too) from Graeme Mullen’s memoir of creating a community art project, then place them under the suicidal tutelage of Ilya Leybovich’s eponymous ‘suicide artist’ flailing for good fortune in the Upper East Side. I wanted the characters to meet each other, and that is how you know that even the surreal ones are thoroughly alive.
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  • Issue Number Volume 121 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
War is a constant throughout human history. Even now as I write this review, North Korea is threatening all-out war with South Korea and the United States (even though they have technically been at war since 1953, but we won’t get into that). The latest issue of The Sewanee Review examines all the facets of war in its collection of fiction, poetry, and essays. From the battlefields of the distant past to the conflicts of today, the authors in this issue examine the heavy cost of war and the impact it has on those who survive.
  • Issue Number Numbers 52/53
  • Published Date April 2004
I don’t know spank about Italian, but I know a giant when I see one.
  • Issue Number Volume 38 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2004
Southern Humanities Review seems to have a little something for everybody.
This is my introduction to the Montreal-based Scrivener Creative Review, and I find it mostly delightful—from Matthew Aaron Guyer’s metaphysical fiction, “The Theory of Doorways,” to a beautiful collection of photographs, especially those of Geoffrey Brown. The poems are worth returning to again, as well, and I look forward to doing so.
The first issue of Small Spiral Notebook is a promising collection.
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  • Issue Number Volume 7 Number 66
  • Published Date Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
subTerrain has a youthful feel. But rather than the ages of the characters or speakers themselves, the feeling is borne more of a sense of dislocation and disorientation. Even when they are seen in an adult habitat—job, relationship, a rhythm that most of the over-25 set settle into—the bleakness, the weirdness, and the whimsy in these pieces recall an eighteen or twenty-two-year-old’s fantasy of what life may turn out to be like down the road, if they remain on the edge of convention either internally or in society and haven’t become more content than they are now. Perhaps the fantastic and the rootlessness are a product of the issue’s theme, “This Carnival Life,” which throws up and tears down an entire mesmerizing world in the space of a few days. And true to the chaos in a carnival, subTerrain isn’t interested in tidy structures. The stories end abruptly, the poems demand considerable powers of association from the reader, the commentary can take leaps of logic, and the book reviews sometimes grope unsuccessfully for the right word. Yet the talent of these writers is evident; the skill they have for creating worlds is a promise for greater things to come.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1A and 1B
  • Published Date Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The inaugural issue of this stellar new litmag “devoted to stories of all kinds, focusing on a single theme each issue” is a double steal. To access Side B from Side A, readers have to turn the volume (the same size and shape as The Believer and Creative Nonfiction, two similarly innovative mags) over and upside-down. In either side, said reader will find herself “innovated” and turned more than a bit upside down, on purpose and with undeniable, delighted affirmation. I can imagine a cadre of new readers sitting around a table drinking wine and rehashing this issue with high gratification deep into the night.
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  • Issue Number Volume 47 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Southern Humanities Review, published at Auburn University and affiliated with the Southern Humanities Council, is a humanities journal with a Southern flavor, not a review of the humanities in the South. This means it publishes fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews that may or may not be anchored in Southern culture. For example, the lead piece, an essay by James Braziel titled “The Ballad of JD,” is set in Georgia and Alabama and is rich in down-home, colloquial language and detail. “I’ve seen him drinking Thunderbird before, what we call hog liquor back home because it smells like a pig farm and gasoline and faintly of overripe oranges,” he reports of a man who has nearly burned himself up in an apartment fire. JD, the title character, works at the pulpwood yard and sometimes at loading watermelons badly, a nobody whose anonymous, hard life makes him, paradoxically, memorable. To tell his story, Braziel takes the long way around, making the side trips as important as the destination, the way Southerners do. So the essay is both set in the South and is Southern in its delivery.
  • Issue Number Volume 26 Number 2
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Southeast Review is a true literary variety journal, with strengths of selection across all genres. The fiction is dominated by strong character stories and relationship observations, not so much on place. Even Kevin C. Stewart’s “Baton Rouge Parish” is less about NOLA and more about a couple’s relationship, which heats up when unsolved murders are splashed across the media. “The Rooftop” by Sarah Faulkner turns the coming-of-age theme on its head with this story of three sisters attempting to out-sex one another. It’s insightful and so real it almost hurts to keep reading. “Fourteen Carousels” by Fulbright Jones and “The Travel Writer” by Joey R. Poole, the other fiction in this collection, are similar in that they are gutsy, human, and at times hurt our reality check centers.
  • Issue Number Number 28
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This issue of Slipstream includes the work of four-dozen poets, many of whose bios (though admittedly not all) are among the quirkiest you’ll find. Jane Adam of Buffalo, NY, “is more liquid than solid and leaves behind the hyaline purity to melt under streetlamps.” Jon Boiservert of Corvallis, OR, “throws up a lot.” J. Blake Gordon of Evanston, IL, “sleeps soundly, thinks about music, prepares simple meals, and watches a little television.” Toni Thomas of Milwaukie, OR, lives with “two energetic children.”
  • Issue Number Volume 8 Number 1
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The cover of this issue is a delightful reproduction of a painting (oil on wood) by Jayne Holsinger whose closely examined human subjects share the vivid spirit and astute observation of much of the writing in this issue of The Saint Ann’s Review. Holsinger’s paintings are so finely etched and so sharply defined, it’s hard to believe they are created in oils. The work of 13 poets, 10 fiction writers, two essayists, an “e-interview,” several reviews, and strong artwork by three other artists match Holsinger’s gift for original and memorable image making.
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  • Issue Number Volume 4 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
This issue of Sleet Magazine is a mash up. Inside there is a knitting monkey, a speaking octopus, and an affectionate doe and buck; there are plastic dolls, cymbal crashes, and “Peter Pan teeth”; and amidst all that, there are also pieces with more serious subject matter.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date October 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
This month, Sundog Lit opens the pages of its very first issue. Including poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, it hosts a bevy of writers, both established and new. Editor Justin Lawrence Daugherty writes in his note that this issue accomplishes what they hoped it would; “it burns retinas.” If there is one piece that stands out as “burning” my retinas, it’s definitely “Caul” by Jenna Lynch. It was, well to be honest, gross (if you don’t know what a “caul” is, look it up), but even though it is eerie and not pleasant to picture, it’s insightful:
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  • Published Date June 2011-November 2011
  • Publication Cycle Weekly online
I am not a fan of science fiction, but I decided to check out Strange Horizons, an online publication of speculative fiction, poetry, articles, reviews, and art. The first two stories bored me but the third was engaging, and I was hooked. I read a bunch of them.
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  • Issue Number Volume 36 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
What in the absence of color will staunch
this dreaming, what without fire will cauterize,
clot? Can nothing—not doubt nor distraction
nor sleep nor dopamine—stopper this seeping
apace?
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  • Issue Number Volume 96 Number 3
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Christopher Bakken's skillfully paced essay “Octopus Ear” begins serenely with a dive off the coast of Greece, where he takes students on tours. Before long, though, he's climbing down Mount Olympus in terrible pain from an ear infection, confronting his grief over his wife's mental illness, finding unexpected kindness from a young waitress, and simultaneously laughing and weeping in a gust of what the Greek's call harmolypi—“joyful sadness.” Part observant travel writing, part gripping personal narrative, the essay gets this ninety-six-year-old magazine off to another good start.
  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Slice Magazine is a high-quality production with a layout that is both stimulating and friendly to the eye. The inaugural issue appropriately takes shape around the theme of firsts and new beginnings. Jonathan Galassi, president of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, shares a short but moving account of how books being present during his childhood left “ineradicable interfused impressions” on him.
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  • Issue Number Issue 6
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Straddler takes the cultural temperature of America and reads it back at a pitch and slope that we of the era of entertainment “news” are hard pressed to find in more popular venues. It is not a straightforward look at the nation, though the topics discussed are at first glance fairly frank. This issue is a fragmented offering of subtle depth, taking on the System, the Administrator, the Economy, and looking at them sideways, questioning conventional notions of responsibility and control, beauty and aberration.
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  • Issue Number Volume 118 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue of The Sewanee Review glorifies the intellectual and emotional benefits of immersing oneself in the cosmopolitan ideal of the Western tradition of knowledge. George Core and the rest of the Sewanee staff offer the reader a slow and relaxing trip around the world, using a Western lens to illuminate people and society from several different cultures. Interestingly, that lens is also used to remind us what the United States was like before blind ethnocentrism was considered a cardinal virtue.
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  • Issue Number Issue 429
  • Published Date September 2011
  • Publication Cycle Monthly
Reading The Sun is like spending a few hours with a very smart and environmentally-aware friend who is also a little bit of a goof. The theme of this independent, ad-free journal varies month to month, but the prose, poetry and photography selections tend to create an over-arching narrative like a well-ordered book of poetry.
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  • Issue Number Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Still Point Arts Quarterly is the print publication of the virtual Still Point Art Gallery based out of Brunswick, Maine. Their premise: “That art and artistry possess the capability to transform the world.” It is a laudable belief and Still Point’s editor, owner and director Christine Brooks Cote is working admirably to see this premise through, as the art, artist portfolios, feature articles, poetry and exhibition information chosen for this journal are of exceptional quality.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date August 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
I read this issue throughout the week entirely from my phone, in bed, before I fell asleep and started dreaming. It felt appropriate as all of these long stories contain an element of dreaming; some of the stories incorporate it more while others just mention a dream that the character had. Yet as much as these stories contain surreal and dream-like elements, the stories are about much more than fantasy.
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  • Issue Number Issue 13
  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
I have never lived in the South (aside from the first two years of my life in Texas, which doesn’t count), and I certainly don’t know anything about Alabama, but this Birmingham-based magazine that strives to “provide a vehicle through which Alabama artists and artists from elsewhere can connect and find common ground” doesn’t seem foreign. In fact, it accomplishes its goal of uniting writers to a common ground.
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  • Issue Number Issue 7
  • Published Date Autumn 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Reading StepAway Magazine is taking a stroll down the streets of a city, though you’ll never know which city is next—it is all determined by the writers. StepAway Magazine is “hungry for literature that evokes the sensory experience of walking in specific neighborhoods, districts or zones of a city.” Each writer must do this in 1000 words or less.
  • Subtitle A Literary Confection
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  • Issue Number Volume 5 Number 1
  • Published Date September 2012
  • Publication Cycle Semiannual online
The editors of Sweet say, “We want you to find something here that you need, something perhaps not as practical as a potato, but just as vital.” In this issue, I found something I “need,” and I found it in Anne Haines’s poetry. Contributing three poems, she was able to reach out of her poetry and capture my attention, stirring up feelings that I didn’t know I had. In “Night Language,” the middle stanza stands out:
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  • Issue Number Number 3
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Now this is fun! Published out of Canada, Sterling gives us a handy (128 pages), portable (of course, most literary art is portable), and extremely enjoyable collection of poetry, fiction, plays, manuscripts, and an “interview.” The cover of the issue evokes the idea of Boy Scout merit badges, but for writers. With badges such as “First Typewriter,” “Rejection Letter,” and “Rhymed with Orange,” the cover puts forth its main badge that says, “All Stories Matter.” I like variety, and the Sterling premise is “I want to hear everyone’s stories.” Me too.
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  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Northwest Institute for the Literary Arts (NILA) is a community of writers on Whidbey Island (Washington state) which supports, teaches, and guides upcoming writers by means of a freestanding low-residency MFA program, an annual conference, and this publication, Soundings Review. This was the last issue to be produced under the direction of founding editor Marian Blue. Subsequent issues will be produced by students and faculty in the Whidbey Writers Workshop, the Institute’s MFA program, where, according to the website, production of the Review is to become an aspect of the proposed MFA in Publishing and Editing. It’s apparent from the bionotes of the journal that much of the work published in Soundings comes from within the NILA community—but that doesn’t mean it’s local, or even regional. It especially doesn’t mean that it’s anything but “high quality poetry, fiction, and nonfiction” by writers whose deepest value is to create community and contribute to the field of writing. The institute’s website is emphatic about this; I find it very exciting.
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  • Issue Number Volume 22 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
A reader who gets a copy of this issue of So to Speak: a feminist journal of language and art will find that it delivers on the promise of its title. A mix of prose, poetry, and images, this print issue from a well-established publication has beauty, intelligence, and provocation. The journal doesn’t insist on any one definition of feminism, preferring instead to take whatever touches women’s lives as its subject. Anyone who cares about women and/or cares about good art will appreciate it.
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  • Issue Number Volume 7 Number 62
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
The journal subTERRAIN is published thrice annually by the sub-TERRAIN Literary Collective Society in Vancouver, British Columbia. Although the journal originated in 1988, to a reader in the United States, it appears to be a somewhat Northern combination of the 1970s Mother Jones magazine with its funky typeface and riotous paper and Harper’s Magazine with its editorial composition. Despite its funding from various governmental entities, I don’t think its writers or its editorial collective really tend to bow or mew to anyone in particular.
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  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date Summer/Autumn 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Dear Structo:
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  • Issue Number Number 5
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
We read magazines for escape. At least, I do. Whether I’m sitting under the salon hair-dryer flipping through celebrity gossip or snuggling into a comfy chair with a novel that forces me to be the narrator (Look at me! I just killed a dragon!), I am an escape artist. I enjoy leaving reality far, far behind. So, for me, Stone Voices was a major wake-up call.
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  • Issue Number Volume 2 Numbers 8 & 9
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Solo Café 8 & 9 is a volume written by teachers and students. It considers the relationships between teachers and students as well as the dynamic of an educational setting. Having such a diverse age range of writers with so many different experiences relating to education was enlightening. The writing follows a more autobiographical track filled with emotion, rather than being dominated by writers trained to excel as creative writers. The raw story takes precedence over any craft in storytelling. It made for a very interesting read, and there were some great contributions of poetry to dive into.
  • Issue Number Issue 399
  • Published Date March 2009
  • Publication Cycle Monthly
I absolutely love The Sun. Without fail, in every issue I’ve ever read, there has been writing aplenty to admire. The Sun is one of the most democratic literary magazines I have ever encountered in that it celebrates and honors anyone who has something worthwhile to say. I have never read a less than stellar piece of writing in it. Edited by Sy Safransky, The Sun’s contents are always a revelation, a slap in the face reminder that brilliance and compassion are lurking everywhere.
  • Issue Number Issue 26
  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
Jason Sanford, the founding editor of this literary magazine is stepping down after seven years at the helm and ceding his position to Spring Garden Press out of Greensboro, N.C. He will, however, continue to direct the wonderful and very needed Million Writers Award. As his farewell salute, he has presented a selection of the best fiction, essays, and poetry from the last seven years.
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  • Issue Number Number 57
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The bright, colorful, fun, full bleed cover with its octopus, crab, and turtle swimming from margin to margin says it all. It announces Number 57’s theme (“The Sea Issue”); the journal’s tone (delightful, playful, forward moving); and its voice (a little over the top, “Featuring the riveting poetry of Jeffrey McDaniel; the unputdownable fiction of Amelia Grey, and the dazzling nonfiction of Steven Church” the cover copy shouts). The journal is produced by graduate students in the Department of English at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Ah, but the faculty advisor is Ander Monson. Well, now I get it! Monson is the inventive and clever editor of the online journal diagram (and a lot of great stuff in print) and the publisher of hybrid and graphically oriented work at his New Michigan Press. His students are learning their lessons well. The journal is really inventive. Really fun. And, despite some excesses, really successful at what it does, beginning with the illustrated instructions on how to read the journal.
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  • Issue Number Issue 17
  • Published Date April 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The work in Smartish Pace is just what the journal’s title suggests, accomplished and sophisticated. The issue features many poets whose reputations are entirely in keeping with that categorization (Gerald Stern, Eamon Grennan, Carol Muske-Dukes, Terrance Hayes, Barbara Ras, Kim Stafford, William Logan, Sandra McPherson, Amjad Nasser of Egypt, Norman Dubie, and Michael Collier); and many others whose poems are no less accomplished or sophisticated (Steven Cushman, Terence Winch, Casey Thayer, Patrick Ryan Frank, and Katie Ford, among others).
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  • Issue Number Volume 2 Issue 25
  • Published Date Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Above the lintel of a passageway in Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol is a quote from Dante that reads: “Abandon all hope all ye who enter here . . .” The struggle for Irish independence mirrors this bleakness, but that struggle also corresponded to a pantheon of literature that no occupation could suppress. In this issue of The Stinging Fly, a literary journal based in Dublin, the Irish spirit is robust enough to signal outward. Not only did the editors cull a magnificent, relentlessly balanced collection of short narratives, they did so through translation. Voices from Brazil, Morocco, Belgium, Italy, China, Rwanda, Poland, Ukraine, Greece, The Netherlands, Spain, Austria and Finland come through translated from their native tongues into a worldwide map of disciplined craft.
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  • Issue Number Volume 31 Number 2
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
If surrealism is a vehicle for expressing the unsaid, then The Southeast Review smartly packages its fiction in a way that says a great deal through a scrim of restraint. In this way, the magazine honors the Southern vernacular tradition of saying something poignant innocuously.
  • Subtitle The Nexus of Women & Wit
  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date 2004
An enjoyable new offering that hails from Seattle, Swivel showcases “women writers of wit.” As editor Brangien Davis writes, “In Swivel, you’ll find both funny ha-ha and funny strange, but mostly you’ll find that we take funny women seriously.”
The Seattle Review, which has been one of my favorite journals since before I moved to Seattle, has recently become the new bastion of the Pacific Northwest literary scene, and it certainly manifests a renewed glamour in its latest issue. The featured retrospective of Sharon Olds by Linden Ontjes, and essay by Olds herself, generously full of her poetry and personal photos, would, by themselves, make this issue a must-have.
The august tradition of Southern writing that is The Southern Review comes by its reputation honestly.
  • Issue Number Volume 58 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
“All I can say is what I do myself, and that is that I don’t think about theory at all. I have no theory of poetry. If something works for a particular poem, it works.” Brendan Galvin in this interview with Thomas Reiter, is honest, approachable, serious, sincere, much like this issue of Shenandoah and like his poems, several of which are included here. Reiter’s own poem, “Signaling,” which appears later in the issue, is a fine example, quiet, deftly composed, sure of itself, but in a vulnerable, human way. These poets are joined by more than a dozen others this issue, along with five short stories, two essays, a portfolio of beautifully composed color photographs by Larry Stene, the journal’s typically superb reviews of new poetry and fiction, and brief remarks in memory of the late George Garrett.
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  • Issue Number Volume 5 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Straylight is pure, enjoyable entertainment. It is eclectic enough to satisfy any reader’s mood. This collection of fiction, poetry, an interview, and visual art is pretty darned amazing. At first glance, the selections may seem disjointed, especially for literary magazine readers who have become accustomed to themed collections, or high literary selections. Straylight is just plain fun, and the works that make up this volume are like a colorfully arrayed salad bar where you, Gentle Reader, get to pick the most enticing morsels.
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  • Issue Number Volume 6 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
As most people know, the Silk Road was a many-thousands-of-miles-long trade route linking Asia with the rest of the world in ancient times, a network of land and sea avenues over which civilizations traveled and cultures interfused. The goal of Pacific University’s literary journal is to “give readers a vivid point of exchange or interaction that could occur only in a specific time and space . . . ‘place’ is the touchstone the magazine uses for the pieces we publish.” In this issue, there are eight stories, six pieces of creative nonfiction, work from sixteen poets, and a provocative interview that “take readers somewhere crucial, defining and relevant.” The issue as a whole is a journey worth taking.
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  • Issue Number Number 4
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This issue is dedicated to Hayden Carruth who taught at Syracuse University where the journal is produced. “It has never been our intention,” say the editors’ notes, “to explicitly define ‘upstateness’ in so many words…but it does seem to be true, in a purely ostensive way…that our editors in each issue have helped communicate a vision of our region that is more vital than perhaps even those of us who live here would suspect.” Upstate is, in fact, they conclude “a state of mind.” Evoking that state of mind is the work in this issue of nearly two-dozen poets, nine fiction writers, a dozen nonfiction writers, a short drama, two dozen visual artists, a handful of book reviewers, and Mary Gaitskill, who is interviewed by Jennifer Pashley.
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  • Issue Number Number 7
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poetics, a publication of Firewheel Editions is, in my not-always-so-humble-opinion, one of the most exciting and satisfying journals being published today. Editor Brian Clements favors work that is provocative (but not ceaselessly edgy) and often inventive, but nonetheless solidly grounded. There is seldom anything superfluous or ostentatious; never anything crude; nothing designed to shock or surprise for the mere fact of surprising. The work tends to be highly original and idiosyncratic, but is rarely opaque, obscure, or impenetrable. Inventive forms and hybrid genres are created of carefully crafted language, respect for the integrity of meaning, and attention to the primacy of rhythm and the value of original, but plausible and impressive imagery.
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  • Issue Number Number 166-167
  • Published Date Spring-Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Almost nothing can excite me more on the cover of a magazine than these five words “a novella by Andrea Barrett.” Barrett is a terrific storyteller and a master of the form. Novellas are hard to find (so few journals publish them). And Salmagundi is always great, so finding the combination Barrett/novella/Salmagundi signals good reading ahead. And both Barrett and the journal deliver.
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  • Issue Number Volume 41 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Unless one is a regular reader of Social Policy magazine, there may be some confusion, despite Wade Rathke's "Publisher’s note." He says the Spring 2011 issue is “in perfect harmony with the heart and spirit needed in these times, despite the challenges of adversity…and challenges of our…heroic strengths and weaknesses.” If Social Policy is “[the] key site for intellectual exchange among progressive academics and activists from across the United States and beyond,” it would be instructive and helpful to say so in the boilerplate masthead or logo. Their website says, “Social Policy seeks to inform and report on the work of labor and community organizers who build union and constituency-based groups, run campaigns, and build movements for social justice, economic equality, and democratic participation in the U.S. and around the world.” Again, why not say so in the magazine? Its cover does include "Organizing for Social and Economic Justice."
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  • Issue Number Volume 47 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Admittedly, I was a bit tentative when I began reading the latest issue of The Southern Review. When I hear the word “Americana,” its self-proclaimed theme, certain images are conjured—flat beers, hunters waiting in the pre-dawn darkness, the barefoot and pregnant teenage fatherless-yet-sweethearted girl working in a diner on the side of a barren highway—of which I have become a bit tired. Let us call those images shortcomings of my imagination; I had no idea of the depth and variance to the works waiting inside this publication’s pages. Produced by Louisiana State University, it is an engrossing and well-balanced mix of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and photography.
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  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Slice highlights lies and make-believe in its newest issue and overflows with engaging poetry, spectacular fiction, smart nonfiction, and insightful interviews with Ray Bradbury and Isabel Allende among others. Where to begin? What to highlight?
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  • Issue Number Volume 49 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Southern Review is published by Louisiana State University and has a long-standing literary tradition dating back to 1935. It seeks to find work that pays careful attention to craftsmanship and technique and to the seriousness of the subject matter. The most recent issue is indeed a finely crafted publication that starts strong and remains so throughout. This issue is packed with fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and the art of Patricia Spergel.
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  • Issue Number Volume 18 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In the opening sentences of Naira Kuzmich’s “The Kingsley Drive Chorus,” a group of women in an ethnically Armenian subsection of Los Angeles neighborhood find themselves collectively and consecutively isolated as if in parallel tombs in a glass mausoleum. The storyis told in the first-person plural to create a grammatical tense that conveys, through expertly crafted language, a community at once too-close and fissuring at the strain of immigration and assimilation. The story conveys a national heritage, with measured references to kyoftas and the city of origin, but the story is not limited to remembering; it is not a honeyed tribute to Armenian sociology or history or even the adaptation of these pursuits; rather, it is an almost Biblical story of violence and loss.
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  • Issue Number Volume 97 Number 4
  • Published Date Autumn 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This is one of those issues that’s a pleasure to read cover to cover. The fiction, including the winner of the 2012 David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction, is outstanding; the brilliant essays take us from Greek isles to the chicken farms of Arkansas, from Salinger to Alain-Fournier to Twain; and the poetry is, without exception, beautiful. Don’t miss any of it.
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  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
NFL fans who take pleasure in the arts will affirm that Green Bay has more to offer than the Packers. From the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay comes the Sheepshead Review, now in its 35th year of publication. Offering fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and a healthy serving of the visual arts, this publication arrives with the smell of a new book, bearing an elusive whiff of fresh bread. Bold graphics lead the way throughout, and not just in the pages designated for the visual arts; the hefty paper and 4-color format contribute to the satisfying feel of the journal.
  • Issue Number Number 2
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Many Americans read little from emerging foreign writers. The St. Petersburg Review, an excellent anecdote to this situation, offers translations of Russian writers into English, or English writers into Russian. The latter pieces are of particular interest me, since Russian is almost never found in American literary magazines. Any student of Russian should pick up a copy and check out the Russian translations of Maxine Kumin’s poems scattered throughout the journal – poems which haven’t yet appeared in Russia.
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  • Issue Number Number 11
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
If poetry is the food of love, then Spinning Jenny is a five-star restaurant. Whether you’re in the mood for sweet or savory, their menu has it all. This modern delicacy features eighty-plus pages of delicious poems, with a center insert of eight pieces of unconventional art. It’s straightforward. You open Spinning Jenny up. You flip through the first few pages of copyright and staff information, and voila! One page lists the titles of the poems. The rest is love. Or food. Something like that.
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  • Issue Number Volume 38 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Sou’wester is a journal produced by the Department of English at Southern Illinois University nearing its 50th year of publication. New poetry editor, highly acclaimed poet Adrian Matejka, expects to choose poems “appreciated for their varied timbres, dictions, structures, and strategies” and to continue the journal’s tradition of cultivating “a dialogue between the diverse aesthetics in contemporary poetry.” I think it is safe to say that he’s off to a good start with this issue. The work of a dozen and a half poets is accompanied by nine short stories and one essay. They reflect Matejka’s desire to present a variety of modes, styles, and approaches, as well as varying levels of publishing experience.
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  • Issue Number Volume 59 Number 3
  • Published Date Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The cover (“Posted”) of this issue is a starkly beautiful oil painting of late fall/early winter, a house and grounds in the backcountry west of the Blue Ridge mountains, painted by Barry Vance. In the middle of the journal is a portfolio of his utterly marvelous work, “Dwelling in the Backcountry,” seven paintings accompanied by excerpts of the work of writers, past and current, of the region (Billy Edd Wheeler, John O’Brien, Matilda Houstoun, Charles Wright, Wendell Berry, Louise McNeill, Ann Pancake). The work is from a recent exhibition of 24 paintings of the Potomac Highlands, and together with the literary selections, “express sentiments nurtured by the life of the backcountry,” writes Vance. These paintings are uncanny in their blending of elements that are both lush, yet finely etched, so that the paintings are focused, yet somehow dense; colorful, yet often stark; dreamy, yet realistic; precise, yet textured. They evoke a particular and unique atmosphere with a kind of palpable certainty of sensation. And they are simply exquisite. I couldn’t stop turning to them again and again.
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  • Published Date Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Scapegoat Review claims to “gather pieces that actively engage with the audience— they may be challenging, surreal, or even absurd, but they always express an interest in communication. Rather than work that is dry or academic, we seek writing that resonates with sincere, if ironically observed, emotion.” While this is a similar goal of many magazines I come across, I found their aim to be reached. Each and every poem here was engaging, not “dry or academic” (not that academic can’t be engaging too . . .).
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  • Issue Number Issue 34 1/2
  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
storySouth is not about a flashy design or a new digital look. With a clean and readable format, readers can focus on the writing. As the editors say, “Online fads can’t help but fade away; great writing endures. storySouth is all about the writing.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 16
  • Published Date January 2013
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online
On the first day of each month, The Sim Review releases an issue that features one poem and one story. While it certainly does not entertain a lot of reading, it does provide the reader with a way to learn about new writers, and it shines down a spotlight on the writers, putting their voices and names forward.
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  • Issue Number Issue 6
  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Perhaps it’s only my personal attention span, but I believe that focused collections of any art can be easily perused and set aside for any number of reasons. A collection of one type of literature or art must be read or looked at one piece at a time and held for reflection. A combination allows for any mood and many returns. Such is the Still Point Arts Quarterly’s summer issue and their idea to showcase their current site exhibit.
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  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Snail Mail Review prides itself on being a print magazine that maintains “mail-only interaction” with its writers. Interestingly, although this magazine revels in the virtues of print, one main reason that it attains the amount of quality work as it does might be because of its online presence. Although the magazine is amateur-looking (they hope to move from saddle-stitching to perfect-binding soon), Snail Mail Review is professional in the way that it belongs to LinkedIn, has a Facebook page, Gmail address, and many calls for submission on literary websites and blogs. These calls work. In the introduction to this issue, Editor Christine Chesko writes of a gigantic stack of submissions sitting on a chair in Co-Editor Kris Price’s house.
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  • Issue Number Volume 29
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The allure of the Spring 2012 issue of Salt Hill starts with an enticing cover, a black and white illustration by Aaron $hunga where a character named “Mr. Rhombus” is told to get ready “to enter Xenocave.” More of $hunga’s graphics detail a fantastical story in the concluding entry in Salt Hill. As if that graphic wasn’t enough of a warning about the kind of fiction contained in this issue, the editors’ note reads, “The twenty-ninth issue of Salt Hill is evidence of how capricious and flimsy our perceived world is, how gray and clouded the separation between phenomenological reality and the science fictions looming behind it. Or in front of it. The fantasies stuck between its dark matter. Either which way, the work in this issue pursues out-there dimensions.” Perhaps because of this dipping into strange avenues, the best work in this edition is the poetry, as well as amazing artwork done in ink on paper by Faye Moorhouse.
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  • Issue Number Volume 17 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but to be honest, I do it all the time. Of course the work in a journal always ends up speaking for itself, but I’d be lying if I said first impressions didn’t influence the way I approach new lit mags. In this case, between the title and the cover art, Salamander had me feeling a bit uneasy.
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  • Issue Number Volume 3 Number 2
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This edition of Straylight has everything: a life-like horror strike that comes on like lightning; a story that asks you to suspend your disbelief (and you willingly do); an amusing take on a bridge’s history; a travelogue of sorts; and a doppelganger in a poem. It gives the publication a sense of completeness rarely found in literary magazines. It made it, quite truly, a joy to read, and an honor to review.
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  • Issue Number Volume 11
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
South Loop Review, a journal of creative nonfiction and art/photography published by Columbia College in Chicago, “publishes essays in lyric and experimental form.” The editors prefer “non-linear narratives and blended genres…montage and illustrated essays, as well as narrative photography.” While a good deal of the work in Volume 11 is considerably more traditional in both form and style than this description, there are a number of provocative “non-linear” and “blended” efforts.
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  • Issue Number Volume 27 Number 2
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The editors of The Southeast Review like to present the familiar in unusual form. This attitude is made clear with the playful front cover photograph depicting a baseball player with index finger extended at an umpire who was apparently in the wrong. Bat in hand, posture aggressive, the ballplayer clearly won’t tolerate an unfair call. The twist: the ballplayer is a woman, apparently a member of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League’s Fort Wayne Daisies. The fiction, poems and nonfiction in The Southeast Review play by the rules, but reserve the right to imbue them with a slightly askew tone.
  • Issue Number Issue 23
  • Published Date October 2007
  • Publication Cycle monthly
Storyglossia is the online magazine I turn to if I feel like reading long short stories – rich, complex stories that feel old-fashioned in the same way original wooden floors are old-fashioned: darkly lustrous and strong enough to carry some weight. The magazine's sparse, easy-on-the-eyes layout (large font, no frills, cream-colored background) resembles a plain book page, aptly enough, since the stories compare to the offerings in printed magazines both with regards to style and length. Not very flashy, perhaps, but so satisfying!
  • Issue Number Issue 18
  • Published Date Fall 2007
Smokelong Quarterly publishes flash fiction – the whole range from plot-driven mini-stories to language-twisting prose poems. Reading a new issue is strangely addictive, a bit like opening a box of chocolates and trying to eat only a few: before you know it, you’ve eaten (or rather read) it all, the box is empty, and each chocolate tasted perfect in its own way. What I like about a Smokelong-style flash is a sense of closure, of minimalist perfection. The pieces don’t feel slight or unfinished – they feel complete. If you want to know what this flash/micro/"sudden" fiction thing is all about, check out this publication.
  • Issue Number Volume 34 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2007
This issue contains seven essays, all extremely diverse in subject matter. From Susanna Ashton’s essay about Booker T. Washington’s use of language to Catherine Himmelwright’s argument about Kingsolver borrowing from both the Western and the Native American myths, this issue’s articles show the interplay between great Southern writers and the historical period in which they wrote.
  • Issue Number Number 19
  • Published Date Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Once again, Salt Hill upholds its tradition of publishing fresh, flavorful, innovative fiction and poetry. The Hill serves up an invigorating trio of poems by Amit Majmudar. Reading “Merlin” is like watching a movie that never once disappoints the imagination, except that it ends too soon. The images powerfully evoke the collective pathos of human history, making this easily one of my favorite poems. The wise wizard found that “Histories resolve more justly [. . .] when you study them being rewound.” So that’s what he did. Merlin “saw the hanging before the crime” and how “fire collected smoke to build a hut, / and bums arrived to live in it.” Merlin witnessed in Dachau as “A muddy field ruptured. / Jews sprang irregularly, / flowers that they were, / the roots of their necks / sucking up blood / by capillary action / down to the last fleck, / risen rosebuds. / They grew healthy / and donned their rightful clothes / and went home wealthy / to readied ghettoes.” Merlin saw men grow young and return to the womb, being unborn, “savored,” “digested,” and so on. He eventually went back to witness the first cave paintings, back before language gave birth to history, hoping to finally make sense out of “all he has witnessed.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 12
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Co-publishers Celia Blue Johnson and Maria Gagliano of Slice magazine want to take a moment of your time to share with you their rabid obsession with literature: “This issue of Slice was designed to interfere with your day. We want you to miss your subway stop because you were too busy turning the pages.” This is no joke, dear reader. Obsession is the theme of this issue and every story, poem, and essay is dangerously addictive to read. Subjects range from the mundane to the insane and every piece of writing is sure to keep your attention as your train passes you by.
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  • Issue Number Volume 38 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Readers looking for poetic range in vast quantities, this is the issue for you! Over 100 pages of work that I would bet contains at least three things even the pickiest of perusers will enjoy. I found that I had to keep myself very present while reading through the issue because I would have gotten lost in the variety of words presented.
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  • Issue Number Volume 8
  • Published Date Spring 2014
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Physically built like a monograph from the City Lights Pocket Poet series, Saw Palm weighs approximately 5 oz., literally, with a figurative weight of so much peninsula, so much history that the Atlantic can deliver against the Florida shoreline. The book is preciously constructed, and the contents arresting, dedicated with precision to the literature and art of the state, its denizens and diaspora. Unlike other journals, where metaphor can wheel the reader away from the centrality of theme or place, this issue is a very strong representation of what perceptions and realities a writer might assign to place. It is a great work of editorial cohesion in that the work inside all relates to Florida—even in some unexpected ways.
  • Subtitle Appalachian Poetry
  • Issue Number Volume 55 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2005
This issue features a "Portfolio of Appalachian Poets," which includes poems by 34 regional writers. The Appalachian's most celebrated poet, Charles Wright, is front and center, followed by established and lesser known names who explore subjects explicitly linked to the region (landscapes, family life, flora and fauna, the "local characters," mining, regional landmarks), and others from anywhere and everywhere (love, the loss of love; love, the loss of love). There is a pleasing mix of modes, styles, and tones and all of the work is strong. I was particularly taken with work by Lynn Powell, Michael Chitwood, and Cathryn Hankla.
  • Issue Number Number 146-147
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2005
Salmagundi continues to offer up work that is challenging, not because it is unusual or inventive, but because it is thoughtful in the truest sense of the word. Thinking, is in fact, the subject of one of this issue's many splendid essays: "The (Possible) Reasons for the Sadness of Thought," by the ever thought-provoking George Steiner.
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  • Issue Number Volume 34 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
After everyone decided that Google changed the way Americans think, certain technocrats decided that we read differently too—gone were the days of “linear” reading: enter the temporary narrative, with Chaucer in the bathroom, Proust in the kitchen, Ginsberg in the den, collectively a kind of horizontal homage to Lowell or anyone who could compete with the subtitles of the foreign films playing in the bedroom. It could be that these alphabetic adventurers simply wanted a literary magazine, with twenty-five different voices in one compact book of leaves. Soundings East, for example, captures that American premise well. It showcases the end of moral innocence (Doug Margeson’s “The Education of Arthur Woehmer”), the liberation of internees at Santo Tomas University in the Philippines in 1942 (Anne-Marie Cadwallader’s “Waiting”), and a love story complex enough to cross time and space and species (Janet Yoder’s “Getting to Misha”). But what I found especially nonlinear about the enterprise was the way that the writing began.
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  • Issue Number Issue 20
  • Published Date April 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
If there is one thing you can count on when it comes to literary journals it is that Smartish Pace will always produce a solid body of poetry in each and every issue. This issue is thoughtfully constructed, well crafted, and satisfying. Coming up on its fourteenth year of publication, Smartish Pace is only getting stronger.
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  • Published Date April 2012 [Place Marks]
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
Browsing Short, Fast, and Deadly is like walking into an old house, one where the floors creak and you expect things to pop out of you. Each time you turn the corner into a new room, you discover something new, some treasure. This mag, posted every month on the 19th, is doing a lot of great and interesting things. Every piece in it is short and snappy with all of the prose under 420 characters (no, not words) and the poetry under 140 characters. There are several sections, including a themed section (this issue's is [Place Marks]), a featured writer, prose, poetry, views, and a nifty section called BlackMarket that includes mash-up pieces of "found"
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  • Issue Number Issue 6
  • Published Date January 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
In sixteen lines or less, these writers serve up a shot of poetry each. Some of them are sweet and some burn on the way down, but all of them prove the ability to convey meaning and emotion in a small amount of space. Just take a look at Burt Kimmelman's piece which accomplishes this with only 23 words or Dan Sklar's three shots of reflection. I certainly can't get over my sinking gut after reading Neil Banks's cinquain poem "Lost Words"
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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date June 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
Straight Forward is a newer mag that includes both poetry and photography. While I wasn’t impressed with most of the photography—but that’s really a matter of opinion because I know nothing about the art—several of the poems stuck with me. 
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  • Issue Number Volume 2 Issue 2
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Spittoon magazine says, “To us, the form is as important as the content, and both form and content should work together to develop the intended effect,” and I think the pieces in this issue certainly hold true to that. When I was reading, I noticed a lot of different forms—something I always find endearing.
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  • Issue Number Volume 14 Issue 6
  • Published Date June 2012
  • Publication Cycle Monthly online
Stirred is exactly how I felt after reading the fiction piece in this issue of Stirring; Lisa Locascio’s “Friend Request” made this issue well worth the read. The story is narrated by the father of a teenage girl whose username on “YourPage” is Susiecide. Throughout the story, the father monitors the young girl’s posts and photos, taking a peak into her personal world that she limits him access to. As I was reading it, I had to constantly remind myself that it was a piece of fiction: the characters and narration her felt so real and authentic that it seemed like it could be nonfiction. Locascio certainly did a great job taking on the voice of the father. She is careful and crafty in making all of these characters seem like real people.
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  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
This issue of The Summerset Review marks a ten year anniversary. Although I had not read this magazine before this issue, if this issue is any indication, I can see why they have made it this far. While small and simple, this publication has a lot to offer. The poetry that started the issue, two poems by Ha Kiet Chau, was especially inviting. The words in “Dizzy Distraction,” easily glide over the tongue in a summer haze that is perfect for the June issue:
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  • Issue Number Volume 22 Issue 2
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Amber Albrecht’s intricately composed, enticing drawings, more than two-dozen of which appear in the magazine as well as on the front and back covers, are representative of the work in this issue. You want to look more closely, find out more, figure out why a tree is sprouting from the back of a dress or from the chimney of a house. These images and perspectives are hard to classify. They’re not whimsical or playful so much as intensely of-the-moment, heightened in a familiar, but somewhat mysterious manner. They seduce with a kind of welcoming strangeness, a dress that looks like an egg from which the figure is hatched, a patch of ground that resembles a flying carpet, and titles like “People Who Are Not Like Us,” a short story by Brock Clarke. The opening of the story, too, captures the spirit of magazine as a whole: “Rupert goes first. Rupert’s real name is Shamequa, but we call her Rupert because one of the things we do is give black women the names of white men.” An irresistibly original beginning.
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  • Issue Number Volume 20 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The magazine’s contest winner Dean Rader is joined by two dozen poets and a marvelous “Crossover” feature, “Book Sculptures” by Samantha Y. Huang, photo reproductions of exactly what the title of her work denotes, pages, spines, covers, words/text the stuff of three dimensional “ideas.” Poems in this issue, like Huang’s book sculptures, aim to reshape the way we think about spaces, places, and the capacity of language to capture unique angles.
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  • Issue Number Volume 22 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of the Santa Monica Review features eleven stories introduced by a brief excerpt from each of the contributors (“Ab Intra”). The journal’s website describes its contents as fiction and nonfiction, though there is no genre classification in the TOC or the pages of the magazine. I’m tempted to refer to every entry simply as a “story” (real or imagined), though some pieces clearly do read more like fictive creations and others like “lived tales,” beginning with the opening piece in the issue, “Expert Opinion,” by Michelle Latiolais, a story about suicide, medical malpractice, and the fatal consequences of “adverse” reactions to commonly prescribed drugs.
  • Issue Number Volume 44 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Before my obsession with literary magazines began, Brett Lott – The Southern Review’s editor – spoke to my writing group. At the end of his talk, he put a plug in for the literary journal. If I would have known then what I do now, I would have ordered The Southern Review immediately. But I did not. Now I know it’s one of the country’s oldest reviews, consistently publishing some of the best writing. The current issue is no exception.
  • Issue Number Number 3
  • Published Date Fall 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Short Story is a sleek and slim publication containing three short stories, one interview, and one photo essay in its total of 81 pages. The front cover is plain black with the publication name and contents subtly centered in sophisticated lime green type. It is the perfect size to hold in the palm of your hand, the perfect weight and density to carry in your purse, backpack, or back pocket. From the outset I was impressed by Short Story’s exterior style and was relieved to discover that its interior was equally satisfying.
  • Issue Number Volume 3
  • Published Date 2006
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Before I start, I have to admit to being confused by humor, which at least I do know is a very individual construct. I don’t watch stand-up comedians because I can’t enter into the proper frame of mind, David Letterman’s smug face makes me want to hurl (hard objects at the TV), and bitter sarcasm makes me anxious for the state of the world.
  • Issue Number Volume 56 Number 3
  • Published Date Winter 2006
  • Publication Cycle annual
Is it me or have Shenandoah’s covers gotten hipper and hipper? Vibrant full-page paintings, an enormous guitar, now a haunting neon-red vintage Billiards sign—finally covers as bold as the contents. George Singleton goes wild with a 25-word title to his story about a religious group who print Revelations on their trailers for weather protection (“everyone took to insuring them with the Good Book”). Mixing his trademark humor and imagination, this brilliant critique-of-Southern-culture-studies-gone-wild leaves you grinning like a madman.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2005
  • Publication Cycle Annual
It would take a particular effort of resistance to ignore this debut of The Saranac Review simply because Frank Owen’s vibrant painting In Season August adorns the cover. And while the black-and-white interior renditions of his paintings do not do justice to his work, the written works (fiction, non-fiction, verse, and “inter-genre”) match the cover’s brilliance. I enjoyed reading excerpts of the forthcoming novels Deadline Fiddle (HarperCollins, 2007) by Jay Parini and Push Comes to Shove by Wesley Brown. Parini’s novel, with its sympathetic characters and well-drawn settings (couldn’t tell much about plot in so few chapters), will likely take a prominent place among novels set during the American Civil War.
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  • Issue Number Anniversary Issue: 2
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This Brooklyn-based review celebrates its fifth anniversary with this issue, and I must say, they are five quite underrated years. Alongside some new pieces, the editors have selected the best of their fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Brian Baise’s “Don’t Leon Sanders Me” is flat-out hilarious.
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  • Issue Number Volume 51 Number 1
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
I am enamored of literary magazines devoted solely to poetry. I look forward to immersing myself in metaphor, surrendering to symbolism, and indulging in sensory imagery to my heart’s content. This issue of Southern Poetry Review delivers a compilation of poems of such craft and mastery that leaves me nearly speechless and most assuredly breathless.
  • Issue Number Issue 390
  • Published Date June 2008
  • Publication Cycle Monthly
Confession: It’s been ten years since I last read The Sun, and I’m not sure why, but now I feel a sense of regret for all I have missed. If you don’t read this three-decades-old, ad-free publication, or don’t know it at all, get this issue (at least). The interview with Edward Tick is an absolute, tell-everyone-you-know-to-read-this-now piece. Tick currently directs Soldier’s Heart, a nonprofit initiative to promote “community-based efforts to heal the effects of war.” As a college teacher working with returning vets, I felt guided by Tick’s insight. The most poignant comment for me: “We have a parade and shoot off fireworks, which scares the hell out of many veterans. A better way to honor them would be to listen to their stories. We should give them new ways to serve and an honorable place in our communities.” Thanks to Tick, I have already started an initiative in my community. This interview, read in combination with Edwin Romond’s poem “Brother in Arms,” about the treatment of ‘Nam vets in a particular workplace, gives voice to the sorry spectrum of response our “warrior class” experience.
  • Issue Number Volume 5 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Although its content was featured in notable anthologies, Sport Literate has been riding the proverbial pine since May 2005. Thankfully, the publication has returned to the mound and serves up this Chicago-themed issue of creative nonfiction, poetry and photographs.
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  • Issue Number Volume 4 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
SpringGun, available through issuu, publishes work that is “unexpected, sudden, immediate, urgent—it’s happening now.” In the words of the editors, SpringGun is “simultaneously insane, comical, violent, practical, ingenious, irresponsible, terrifying, vulnerable, and deadly.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 39 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2009/Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Full disclosure: I read this issue and am writing this review while recuperating from surgery to repair a fractured hip. So, this issue’s focus on the corporeal (Special Double Issue: The Lyric Body) is of particular interest. Of the body, editors Stephen Kuusisto and Ralph James Savarese say they present “a form for engagement" that "is always political…and always lyrical, whether we see it that way or not.” If lyrical means poetically inspired, and political means engaged with the world, then I would say their choices for the issue are, indeed, lyrical and political. And they’re also quite wonderful.
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  • Issue Number Volume 46 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
When money’s involved, what constitutes a document can be volcanically contested. Prior drafts, letters of intent, symbols sketched on a corner of a tablecloth are material one way or the other, if at all. Not so with every literary magazine. The summer 2012 issue of Southern Humanities Review is the first out of maybe twelve issues that I’ve reviewed that is curiously harmonic, down to the detailed footnotes of an essay. The Minutes of the Executive Board Meeting of the Southern Humanities Council, the copyright attribution on the last page from November 1931 are allusive, contributing to a cohesive whole, teasing, in the vein of a modern Nabokov, what is real, what is to be believed.
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  • Issue Number Volume 3
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Upon reading Volume III of Sakura Review, I had an immediate interest in finding out what the word “Sakura” referred to. I, of course, went first to Wikipedia where I learned that “sakura” might refer to “the Japanese term for ornamental cherry blossom trees and their blossoms.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The cover explains the selections within very well: things are going to get weird. The publication is filled with more questions than answers; each story leaves you in a new locale, and while rereading may make things more understandable, true clarity is never given. The biggest mistake one can make entering these works is assuming that a solution, a character, or a situation will be made explicit. Often one is simply forced to fight imagination with imagination.
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  • Issue Number Volume 49 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
When I first received my copy of South Dakota Review, I took one look at the cover—a photograph by editor in chief Lee Ann Roripaugh of roller derby queens “Olive Mayhem,” “Lady Boop,” and “Sandra D’vious”—and I knew I was in for a treat.
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  • Issue Number Number 13
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Skidrow Penthouse’s website assures us that their magazine does not contain homeless people in suggestive poses (sorry to disappoint). They also assure us that their magazine is not “hospitable to eat-shit-shower-and-shave writing, or any kind of literary undertaking that aspires only to disturb the flaccid ghost of Bukowski.” It is a journal that specializes in absurdist literature and art, offering a “home for wayward voices, insect souls, architects of gutter, a place to hide one’s rain.”
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  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
A student journal as youthful and energetic and innocently/un-innocent as…well…youth: “You dig your fingers, thick with car grease / into me. I shiver toward you,” writes Caroline Kessler in “I Open My Mouth to the Storm.” Rob Rotell offers another storm of emotion in his story “A Couple of Problems,” which begins: “He woke up to Nikki’s crying. She sounded as if she was hiccupping. Her sobs were soft. They had a quick tempo.” Staci Eckenroth, too, starts off with a moment of heightened sensation in “a dime a dozen”:
  • Issue Number Volume 42 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Published out of Auburn University, Southern Humanities Review has a distinctly academic flavor. Ann Struthers’s series of poems in formal verse pays tribute to the Romantic poet Coleridge. Among the poetry I also liked Bruce Cohen’s “Hotel Chain” which explores the creepiness of hotel rooms. He writes: “Bibles are blank / & escort services are circled in the yellow pages.” In T. Alan Broughton’s “Legacy,” a father comes to grip with his own father’s habit of arguing with him: “We still argue, my father and I, / although he’s dead. He leans on the table, / meshing his hands, gently chiding, never raising his voice.”
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Published by the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California, this is inaugural issue of the Southern California Review (formerly the Southern California Anthology).
  • Issue Number Volume 45 Number 4
  • Published Date Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
In his essay, “Old America,” editor Brian Bedard sets the tone for this issue of the South Dakota Review. He paints this region of the country as a difficult but rewarding place in which success requires a tough body and tough spirit. The work in this issue illuminates a place where people acknowledge their past while working toward a better future and remaining in touch with the land. The theme is reinforced by Suzanne Stryk’s cover art that features a feather alongside a DNA double helix.
  • Issue Number Numbers 158/159
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Titled “War, Evil and America Now” isn’t going to get Salmagundi’s current issue any major attention. Any politically inclined journal can focus on that issue. But dedicating over a hundred pages to the discussion between formidable thinkers and speakers is a fantastic move forward. It’s not possible to summarize their various mindsets or cast an illumination on their thoughts in a review of the whole issue, however, and I’ll abstain from mentioning anything other than the fact that it hearkens to Salmagundi’s conference on the clash of civilizations, but increases its scope in all dimensions. That’s the latter half of the issue.
  • Issue Number Volume 2 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The subtitle for Silk Road is “A journal of writings on place.” In an interview with John Rember, he coins a contemporary definition for place: “Place used to be something that stayed the same, by which you could measure changes in yourself. Now you have to stay the same and watch while place changes. It means that place, if it’s going to exist at all, has to become internal rather than external.” Silk Road’s authors write about different places in the traditional sense – as physical entities – but they also inevitably write about the internal sense of place as well. An excellent example of this duality is in John Rember’s own story, “When a Cold Place Turns Hot”: “Can you ever really know a place if you keep changing?” his narrator asks.
  • Issue Number Volume 14 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Southern Indiana Review takes geography seriously. Based in a heartland where visions of utopia still color local history, this journal blends a commitment to regional writers with an equal commitment to a broader audience. The resulting volume succeeds on both counts, celebrating a range of largely Midwestern voices within a far-reaching context that is anything but provincial. The variety of genres and forms presented here illuminates SIR’s encompassing aesthetic.
  • Issue Number Volume 19 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of the Santa Monica Review starts off with a bang: a reprint of the speech Ursula LeGuin gave upon receiving the Maxine Cushing Gray Award. Her words are brief and humble, and she insists on accepting the award “as a proxy, a stand-in, for Literature.” The rest of the speech is an engaging description of the power of literature and its role in our society, and as I left this opening piece to make my way through the rest of the magazine, I did so with a renewed sense of awe for the written word.
  • Issue Number Volume 12 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Salamander is nothing less than a triumph, a quiet diffusion of luminous work. From the gripping first story, “Evanthia’s Legs” (Henriette Lazaridis Power) to the socially critical insights of the final poems, this issue proves that too many jewels don’t spoil the necklace. Alternating small groups of poems with prose selections, Salamander ensures a fluid reading experience, anchored at the center by the colorful prints of Boston artist Kelvy Bird. The diligence and care of the Salamander editors is evident on every page, as is a commitment to diverse, expansive writing.
  • Issue Number Volume 39 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue begins with Catie Rosemurgy’s poem “Things That Didn’t Work.” Delicate. Restrained. Precise: “Picture frames. Targets. The psychological / boundaries described in books. / Any shape or line whatsoever.” And, fortunately, not a predictor of what lies ahead in Seneca Review. There are certainly pieces here that might not have worked in less capable hands. But the risks have paid off and the work is strong. In particular, I appreciated what Laura Brown-Lavoie accomplishes in “Bricklaying,” an essay that merges biblical language, fragments of fairy tales, poetry, political commentary, and the poet’s lyrical diction in prose-poem like paragraphs separated by sets of empty brackets. The piece is about (if it is fair to say that it is about anything) how we create, and while I’m not always sure I follow its logic, I want to see it through to the end.
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  • Issue Number Volume 24 Issue 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
“A conversation,” says Editor-in-Chief Jessica Jacobs of The Sycamore Review, “involves two people who know each other sitting down in a familiar room. But as anyone who’s ever picked up a book and had it speak to her knows, conversations can also occur in which not even a single word is said aloud, in which two minds engage each other outside the immediacy of same time, same place.” Jacobs’s words provide an appropriate introduction that mirrors the fantastical cover art by Kathleen Lolley. The latest issue of this journal from the Purdue University English Department wants to have a conversation with you, dear reader, and to share its poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, art, and book reviews.
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  • Issue Number Number 12
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The Spinning Jenny team at Black Dress Press has put forth no lack of effort. The magazine’s cover design, as well as the first few pages, index, and footers, speaks of a literary sense of humor. The editors manage not to take themselves too seriously while also producing a line of beautifully fashioned issues, and issue number twelve is no exception. An equally as well-designed website for the magazine sports past issues and reviews, all of which are positive and a good introduction to a first reading of Spinning Jenny.
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  • Issue Number Volume 48 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
“Foreign countries exist.” – Geraldine Brooks, The Best American Short Stories of 2011
Sententia opens with a kind-of abridged editor’s note on the inside of the front cover. The title name is “Latin for sentence, but also means thought, meaning, and purpose.” The magazine couldn’t be more appropriately named, and, in fact, I would’ve described the works in the journal with these three adjectives prior to reading this note. The editors of Sententia had a goal in mind, and they achieved it.
  • Issue Number Volume 111 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2003
If personified, Sewanee Review would be an accomplished scholar, wry professor and imaginative writer, persisting with an evening pipe and pale cardigan despite colleagues who have lurched forward into dark jeans and lunchtime smoothies. Indifferent to keeping up with any literary Cloneses, its spirited criticism, fiction and poetry abide no indulgent memoirs about tallness or the curse of an Irish childhood, no sneering hepcats, noble gang members or hyper-realist bodily functions.
  • Subtitle The Washington and Lee University Review
  • Issue Number Volume 54 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2004
At least half of the stories, poems and essays in Shenandoah feature explicitly southern environs: a contemplation of the moniker, “Southern Writer,” a reflection on the racial understory of magnolia-blossomed Mississippi, a woman’s return to the Carolina blackberry patches (and chigger bites) of her youth.
  • Issue Number Volume 24 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2004
The Normal, Illinois-based Spoon River Poetry Review features some of the best writing from the Midwest and beyond.
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  • Issue Number Volume 48 Number 1
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
One of poetry’s most useful, satisfying, and unique characteristics is the power to capture life’s small philosophical or metaphysical realities with a kind of precise, economical, focused – and uncanny – accuracy. These are the sorts of poems at which this small journal seems to excel. Poems that embody both physical and emotional immediacy. Masters of the art represented here include David Wagoner, Margaret Gibson, Carl Dennis, and Kelly Cherry, who are joined by more than two dozen others who clearly also excel in this arena.
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  • Issue Number Issue 11 Number 1
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Any Table of Contents where the names Simon Perchik and Catherine Sasanov appear is a good sign! These favorites of mine are joined by more than 50 other poets and 5 fiction writers whose work comprises an engaging issue of this magazine.
  • Issue Number Number 3
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
“Speaking the same language through literature” are the words spread in light gray block letters over a dark gray background on the cover of St. Petersburg Review. This publication is “independent and international”; it was founded and is headed by an American, Elizabeth Hodges. She has traveled to Russia numerous times and participated in several Summer Literary Seminars at St. Petersburg. Among the associate editors, staff and advisory board are many American-looking names, many who by their bios have traveled to or live in Russia. Others are native Russians or “citizens of the world.”
  • Issue Number Volume 31 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of SRPR is longtime editor Lucia Cordell Getsi's swan song before retirement; tempted though I am to draw a parallel between her moving on and this issue's many poems of grieving, I won't.
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  • Issue Number Volume 2 Number 1
  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Storm Cellar is slender literary magazine—this issue is less than 30 pages—whose website advertises “a special emphasis on the Midwest.” The cover is catchy, a colorful curiosity of overlapping images. Flowers and faces mix among abstractions, and it all looks a bit like wallpaper from the neon ‘80s. Despite the inclusion of only three pieces of fiction, one of which is no longer than a page, and poems by five authors, this issue of Storm Cellar holds up as an interesting, varied read.
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  • Issue Number Volume 24 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of the Santa Monica Review starts out with a bang—literally.
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  • Issue Number Volume 1 Issue 3
  • Published Date Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Stealing Time is a magazine for, about, and by parents. When I discovered its existence, I was immediately intrigued, yet wary as well. Would it have an angle, an agenda to promote? Would it rise above the content of most parenting magazines out there? Thankfully, the answers are no and yes. Stealing Time lives up to its mission statement: “To provide a venue for quality literary content about parenting: no guilt, no simple solutions, no mommy wars.”
  • Issue Number Volume 33 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Editor Bruce Guernsey’s introductory note is nothing if not frank: “We . . . have no use for the celebrity mentality that infects the current poetry scene.” It’s a laudable sentiment, and one I share, though I’m not certain that the refusal to provide contributors’ notes is a meaningful way to respond to the “star scene.” Nonetheless, it does force me to focus exclusively on the work presented, poems by more than two dozen poets, including featured poet Michael Van Walleghan, with whom an interview also appears, an essay on pedagogy, and a review essay.
This issue would be worthwhile for the artwork alone – stunning reproductions of photos paintings, and drawings by Sialia Rieke, Ana June, Richard Sullivan, Norm Hamer, and Kim Gibbs, Rebecca O’Day, and Kira Becvarik, among others. Many of this issue’s poems and stories are equally memorable, and I was happy for the opportunity to get to know the work of writers I’d not encountered before, in particular poetry by Anne Valley-Fox Christien Gholson, and Mary McGinnis, and prose by Laura Madeline Wiseman. Wiseman’s essay, “To Starve to Die,” is a carefully crafted meditation on anorexia, more lyrical, less self-indulgent than much of the writing about “disordered eating” and more powerful for its balance between revelation and restraint.
  • Issue Number Volume 3 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
There’s a lot of variety in these average-sized, unspiralled pages—from the elegance of Paul Yoon’s “So That They Do Not Hear Us” to the humor of Ladette Randolph’s wonderful “The Girls” to the stark descriptions of Natasha Radojcic’s “You Don’t Have To Live Here.” No single characteristic defines the stories other than quality.
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  • Issue Number Issue 13
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Subtropics is the literary journal from the English Department of the University of Florida, and this issue is a true mix of fiction, poetry, essay and translation. The journal is hard to define and doesn’t offer a clear editorial or mission statement to go by. One can assume, though, that they are dedicated to publishing “the best” (as the submission guidelines on their website states) as this issue offers a mix of exceptionally strong writing.
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  • Issue Number Volume 40 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Published by Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (not to be confused with The Southwest Review published by Southern Methodist University), Sou’wester celebrated its fiftieth anniversary edition in 2011 and succeeds in the commemorative issue in creating a balanced fugue of themes, style and subject.
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  • Issue Number Volume 30 Number 1
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
I grew up on the classics and consequently nursed a bias that minimalism restrained the imagination. Then, I read the most recent Southeast Review where minimalism is done so well that the volume became, to me, a classic itself. I was especially floored when I read Maria Kuznetsova’s short story “Before and After.” The language was certainly careful and restrained, but she mastered the best parts of modern craft while telling at least three mesmerizing stories about innocence, growing up, and the spectrum of emotions that, collectively, we call love. While there is only one narrator, the possibilities of interpretation and meaning explode like a rash of fireflies.
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  • Issue Number Volume 120 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
William E. Engel’s compliment to J.D. McClatchy’s critical comments included in his Seven Mozart Librettos: A Verse Translation holds true for this issue of the Sewanee Review itself as a whole: “Written in an easygoing prose style, there is something in each section for every kind of reader.” George Bornstein adroitly reminds us readers in his essay on W.B. Yeats the irrevocable delicacy of the fact that “in poetry how something is said is what is said.” And throughout this issue all the writing explores and expounds upon this basic principle further demonstrated by Ben Howard in “Firewood and Ashes”:
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  • Issue Number Issue 7
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The image on the cover of this issue of Saranac Review is arresting: a full-bleed shot of moldering books, their pages waterlogged and swollen, their fore edges painted green and brown with several kinds of mold. In an opening note, Editor J.L. Torres points out that the image is taken from an interesting work of art by Steven Daiber, who built a wall of books in a forest in the year 2000 and has been chronicling the books’ decay and slow transformation into compost. The installation begs several questions regarding the relationship between print and digital media. Torres invokes the ideas of Walter Fischer, “a rhetorician who argued that the human species should be called homo narans rather than homo sapiens: narrating man.” Mankind is above all a storytelling creature; the medium may change, but the instinct will not.
Seneca Review continues to showcase stellar poems and lyric essays by both unknown and familiar writers. Lucy Shutz’s poem, “The Philosophers Will Never Love the Poets and the Poets Will Continue to Smoke Cigarettes and Starve Themselves,” is adventurous and playful in style, while still dealing with some of the more serious problems of existence.
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  • Issue Number Issue 36
  • Published Date June 6, 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
As always, SmokeLong Quarterly serves up a heaping plate full of appealing flash fiction; I couldn’t wait to dig in. “Ameilia Fucking Earhart” had me laughing—and easily disturbed—throughout as a young couple discovers an old skeleton wearing an aviator hat. Deciding it must be Amelia Earhart, Elias picks up the skull and has his way with it—both humorously and sexually:
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  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Megan Alpert opens this issue with a wonderful poem called “Blueprints,” which starts, “Move into a house where love sleeps / next to you, hiding in a mouth all night / long . . .” I was intrigued with each turn of the line, my heart breaking with the last of them:
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  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
The thing I immediately noticed about SNReview is its online format—clean and crisp. It doesn’t attempt to use a lot of graphics or design, which is actually really working for it: black type, in an easy-to-read font, on top of a white page. Alternately, each piece can be viewed as a PDF with active links to previous issues and the website. Beyond the format, this particular issue’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry delivers so that the graphics don’t have to.
  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date April 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
This website is rather spare and the editors don’t tell much about the magazine. Its first issue was apparently in December 2008, and as of this writing the summer issue has not yet appeared. Based on a paucity of information, they are based in Montana “featuring writers and artists from all over the world.” The present issue gives a healthy presentation of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, and “reviews and interviews.”
  • Issue Number Volume 45 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
In the Artist’s Statement that precedes her lithographs, etchings, and acrylic and charcoal drawings, Bosnian immigrant Tanja Softi? writes: “The visual vocabulary of my drawings and paintings suggests a displaced existence: fragmented memories, adaptation, revival, and transformation…I have the arguable privilege of having lived more than one life.” This issue of The Southern Review, a particularly fine one, seems to offer every reader a version of this same opportunity to step, briefly, but deeply into another’s life, and to watch words and lives revived and transformed. Not necessarily changed, or improved, or repaired, but altered by their evolution as artistic artifacts and by our encounter with them,
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  • Issue Number Number 170-171
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Founded in 1965, Salmagundi magazine takes pride in its spectrum of essays, reviews, interviews, fiction, poetry, regular columns, polemics, debates and symposia. In the past, the magazine has featured the likes of acclaimed literary figures such as J.M. Coetzee, Christopher Hitchens, Susan Sontag, and Joyce Carol Oates. Additionally, the magazine boasts that it showcases neither a liberal nor conservative predilection, proclaiming that, “in short, Salmagundi is not a tame or genteel quarterly. It invites argument, and it makes a place for literature that is demanding.”
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  • Issue Number Issue 17
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Spillway, an independent, semiannual journal based in Orange Country, California has been around since 1993. But, Editor Susan Terris remarks in her editor’s note that it’s only been in recent years that Spillway became a themed journal.
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  • Issue Number Number 9
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Brian Johnson takes over as the editor of Sentence in this issue, and if his first issue at the helm is any indication, this journal won’t miss a beat with the change.
Don’t be constrained by the name—Southwest Review, a cosmopolitan literary journal with a strong sense of the past (and thus, a keen understanding of where we might be headed), surely isn’t. Fearlessly fascinated by the inner life, The Review showcases the essay form, with offerings on the painter Tintoretto, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Baroness Elsa Von Freytag-Loringhoven, now recognized as “the great-aunt of punk” (“‘Cars and bicycles have taillights. Why not I?’ she quipped when asked to explain the battery-operated taillight tacked to the bustle of her dress.”) Chris Arthur’s “Getting Fit” offers a breathtaking description of the simultaneity of life, how, weird or wonderful as it may seem, everything everywhere—birth and death and whatever we can find to squeeze in between—is somehow happening all at once:
"It is the age of noon / when all the hours are sleeping / and you remain awake, for this / is where the poem begins…"—the young German poet Matthias Göeritz (translation by Susan Bernofsky) captures the essence of the entire glorious endeavor of poetry, waking us from sleep, from the stultifying trance of a hot, uncomfortable day—a "metamorphosis" as the poem's title announces.
  • Subtitle Creative Nonfiction + Art
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  • Issue Number Volume 14
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The editors of South Loop Review invite “essays and memoir, lyric and experimental forms, non-linear narratives, blended genre, photography and art . . . personal essays and memoir with fresh voices and new takes on presentation and form.” I reprint the description for emphasis. The magazine is not feigning interest in the experimental. Rather, essays appear (in Micah McCrary’s case) as meditations on color through a list format, toy with a redline feature as a method of managing conflicting emotions (as in Adriana Páramo’s case), and explore what one might term the “meta-essay” through the careful tides of stating and redacting comments about what illness can signify (see Vicki Weiqi Yang’s essay).
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  • Issue Number Issue 4/5
  • Published Date 2010/2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The body of great literature being created outside of the English-speaking world is vast; St. Petersburg Review is taking great strides to bridge the gap between cultures and languages that sometimes keep writers and readers apart. The thick volume is jam-packed with fiction, poetry, plays, and creative nonfiction plucked from everywhere in the world. A great deal of the work has been reflected through the prism of translation: a double-edged sword. Reading work in translation is, in some ways, like seeing a great painting through a pair of cracked eyeglasses. You can see the whole of the work and take it to heart, but there will always be some measure of intellectual distance between you and the artist. On the other hand, translations such as these are wonderful because you get a taste of the different music made by phrases that emerge from minds trained to think in unfamiliar languages.
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  • Issue Number Number 30
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This issue is a beautifully composed collection of poetry and black-and-white photography commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of Slipstream Magazine. Elegant, hauntingly surreal images by David Thompson and Lauren Simonutti, interspersed among the poetry, compliment perfectly the magazine’s tone. Poems contributed by authors from walks of life ranging from the academic to the janitorial present a similarly diverse range of perspectives, yet the poems feel like they were meant to be published together. The collection flows seamlessly from beginning to end in a way that makes reading it in its entirety not only easy to do, but extraordinarily rewarding as well.
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  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
In the Letter from the Editor, Darren Richard Carlaw states that the goal of StepAway Magazine is “to perpetuate the evolution of the walking narrative,” and encourages authors “to submit work which forges pathways through the cityplace.” Carlaw recalls his childhood fascination with William Blake’s “London,” which later spawned an admiration for Guillaume Apollinaire, Charles Baudelaire, and Walter Benjamin. In this issue, the featured contributors transport readers to the bustling streets of New York City to the fast-paced glitz of Los Angeles. While Carlaw sought inspiration from classic literature, StepAway Magazine is an undeniable product of modernism, unafraid to unflinchingly explore the ugliness of such cities.
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  • Published Date Winter 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
In this issue, Saltwater Quarterly channels inspiration through one of the most powerful and seductive emotions of the human condition: desire. Whether it is carnal or the spiritual, the maternal or the romantic, the selection of poems and prose are crafted by a sense of urgent yearning, carved from the deepest truths of the human heart.
  • Issue Number Volume 19 Issue 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Sycamore Review refuses to be lost in the “to be read” stack, partly because the magazine is an 8-inch by 8-inch square, which leaves its wings outstretched from most towers of books. However, not only its unusual dimensions (but, really, what is unusual anymore?) and comfortable paper quality make the magazine an aesthetic delight. We are gathered here today to find out whether form and content are unified as equal partners.
  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Although Subtropics is only three issues old, it’s already hard to imagine the American literary scene without it. Published at the University of Florida, it offers a wealth of quality fiction and poetry, including a few works in translation. In this issue, you’ll find an excerpt from Sándor Márai’s Hungarian novel The Rebels, and poetry by Romanian poet Mariana Marin and French poet Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859).
  • Issue Number Volume 5 Number 45
  • Published Date Winter 2006
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Generally speaking, I hate theme issues – if I wanted to read that much about a single topic, I’d buy a book – but subTerrain’s issue on “Money” won me over.
It is hereby noted that Sojourn has everything in it. Consider it a digest of contemporary writing, featuring fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translations, interviews (with poets Noami Shihab Nye and Ted Kooser), a play, and an array of photographs and paintings that build momentum from one page to the next. Yet in trying to be everything to everyone, Sojourn can feel incomplete and lacking in places.
  • Issue Number Issue .0875
  • Published Date 2006
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Sleeping Fish is, like many experimentally-based journals, not a collection of stories or even fiction in the traditional sense, but more the evocation and exploration of a single aesthetic premise: in this case, the unconscious mind at work. To say that its content is driven principally by wordplay goes without saying, even if titles like “The Mushroom Withdraws Among the Roots” and “The Bearded Favor” didn’t suggest this beforehand.
  • Published Date 2006
  • Publication Cycle Annual
If poetry as a whole struggles to avoid becoming a minor art, prose poetry may be even more endangered; and what’s clear is that Sentence, like may contemporary poetry journals, sees its mission as much about preservation as promotion. With this comes anxiety: Contributing Editor Russell Edson declares himself “one of the established masters of the prose poem,” while Peter Johnson, also a contributing editor, sees the tradition of “publishing excellent prose poems” as dating back to the establishment of his own journal in the 1970’s. Clearly, biographical modesty has not made it to Sentence’s’s agenda. But while such arrogance generally confines itself to an enclosed academic establishment, I was happy to find many contributors living on wheat farms (Louis Borgeois), healing the ill (Cecil Helman) or posthumously honored with continued translations (Friedrich Hölderlin – 1770-1843).
  • Issue Number Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
A new journal is born, one with an ancient name. How does it merge the split-ends of legacy and innovation? It embraces the age-old tradition of straightforward storytelling and updating it with a solid cast of fledgling writers.
  • Issue Number Volume 94 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2006/2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This Santa Clara Review opens with MC Hyland’s Palm Poetry Prize-winning poem, an apt entry into this issue with its measured cadence and stark pronouncements: “God is blond, and loves you, though not as you are now.”
Slipstream 23 presents work with an urban, contemporary edge. This issue was mostly poetry that has a “spoken-word” vibe but also included three pieces of short fiction and artwork and photography. I liked Johnny Cordova’s prosy but gritty poem, “A Kind of Dance” with these lines:
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  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date September 30, 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biweekly online
A brand new litmag, Sassafras Literary Magazine, may be in its third issue, but it has really only been publishing for a month. Putting out an issue every other Monday, Sassafras surprises me in that it has so much material in an issue, but kudos to them—or I should say “to her,” as it’s a one-woman show. There’s a selection of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and artwork, viewable online (in which they each open as new pages) or easier to read as a downloadable PDF.
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  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual online
As part of SpringGun Press, SpringGun Journal has just transitioned from a biannual publication to an annual one with this issue. I hope that they still get decent readership, because the writers—at least in this issue I know—deserve it. Without given much to go on about editorial taste, you really have to read the journal to discover how it feels. While I wouldn’t necessarily categorize it as themed, it does seem to ask, “Where are we going? What’s next? And how do we get there?”
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  • Issue Number Issue 9
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
This special issue of Subtropics features over thirty translations from France, Japan, Russia, Spain, Romania, Argentina, Mexico, and other countries that interpret a variety of crossings. “Hazaran,” by nobel laureate J.M.G. Le Clézio, introduces a mysterious handyman and storyteller who leads his neighbors when they learn that the government plans to evict them from Frenchman’s Dyke, a shantytown populated by migrants. The story concludes with an exodus as one character, Alia, glances back at the darkened shore. Translation can inspire feelings of displacement, but at its best, becomes appreciable as confident work rather than as a shadow of the original.
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  • Issue Number Volume 46 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
There is no announced theme in this issue (which marks the journal’s 75th anniversary), but do you perceive a pattern? Here are the opening lines of the issue from “In the Village of Missing Children” by Rigoberto Gonzalez:
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  • Issue Number Issue 5
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Saranac Review is an annual featuring work by American and Canadian writers published at the State University of New York in Plattsburgh. The terrific cover art is by Ric Haynes, oil paintings from a series called the “The Floral Wars” composed of combinations of “flower set ups” and toy figurines. His short essay, “The Floral Wars: Beauty and Brutality,” (with studies/drawings of the individual figures) is a highlight of the issue. The artist’s approachable style, both in the essay and the visual works, is representative of the journal as a whole, which features work that tends toward the “accessible” and casual in tone and diction.
  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
You’re idling in rush-hour traffic. Bored, and sick of hearing the same droning pop song for the fifty-seventh time, you flip through the radio stations and happen upon a song you’ve never heard before. The beat is good; the lyrics are fresh. You’re really in the groove. Bouncing head, tapping fingers, all that. You wait for the end of the song, desperate to discover the identity of the mastermind behind the creation. But the DJ cuts straight to commercial, and like me, you aren’t technologically savvy enough to own a robot-like phone that tells you what the name of the song is or who sings it. You’re stumped and annoyed, and you spend the next week humming the song to all your friends to see if they’ve heard it, too.
  • Issue Number Volume 57 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
A long poem by Wendell Berry, entitled “Sabbaths 2005,” opens this issue of Shenandoah. The poetry is exquisite, capturing what Berry refers to as “moments of pure awareness.” In the interview that follows, Birkin Gilmore engages the poet in an entertaining (for the reader at least) game of verbal dodgeball as he tries to get Berry to elaborate on his subject matter. Berry skillfully avoids most of the questions with responses like, “If [art is] any good, it’s happening pretty far beyond the sort of scrutiny that interviewers’ questions suggest.”
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This first issue of the St. Petersburg Review: White Nights 2007 is an opening for English readers to a part of the world previously denied them, to ravishing poetry, fiction and essays that will hopefully be coming for decades.
  • Issue Number Issue 14
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Smartish Pace is exclusively a journal of free verse poetry. It was a treat to read translations from Hindi – to have, as renowned translator Elliot Weinberger might say, “the news” of a faraway country brought to me through poetry. In Katyayani’s darkly-playful poem, “A Woman Hiding in Language,” a woman seems to disrupt language itself by hiding inside of it, such that, “. . .the dictators / didn’t get a wink of sleep all night. / That day the poets couldn’t play / with words searing as a mass of fire.” Shrikant Verma’s “Hastinapur” reminds me of how anyone might feel about a city or village in times of war or simply rapid change: “Just think / about that person / who comes to Hastinapur / and says: / “No, no this can’t be Hastinapur!” Though the average reader, like myself, probably speaks no Hindi, I thought it would have been illuminating to see the original poems – how they look on the page – as well as a read a translator’s note on the challenges in translating from Hindi to English. I’d have favored fewer poems in the issue to make space for this (several poets have 5-6 poems included).
  • Subtitle A Journal of Prose Poetics
  • Published Date 2005
  • Publication Cycle Annual
N. Santilli's essay introducing a feature on the prose poem in Great Britain calls the form one that "appears in print but is not formally accepted by its author or its audience, both simply accepting it for what it is." More than anything, it seems the purpose of Sentence is to correct this assumption by building a formal set of both intellectual and artistic frameworks for the consideration of this form, as well as to highlight the work already being done in the genre.
  • Subtitle A Creative Mosaic of Fiction
  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date 2005
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Ex Machina Press adds a new journal to the all-fiction genre with the debut of Silent Voices. The oxymoronic title is best defined by an excerpt borrowed from Isak Dinesen: “Where the storyteller is loyal, eternally and unswervingly loyal to the story, there in the end, silence will speak.” The loyalties range from the traditional to the experimental, stories of ghosts and toilet scrubbers, mad professors (“perhaps the jump from professor to career patient was not such a big one after all.”) and madder neighbors. Michelle Melon’s “Nameless,” winner of their first contest, refers to the book of names that a dying woman finds in the shack that used to be a church for slaves. Desperate to carve their names into tombstones, she hears their song and knows she is not alone. “ . . . she craves and fears the companionship they offer following the lonely, uncertain journey that lies ahead.” Raffi Kevorkian mingles with the afterlife in his parable, “Misfit.” The townspeople summon first the police, then the Der Hayr (an Armenian married priest), and finally a doctor who cannot help the man who carries his heart in his hand, a hole in his chest.
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  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Florida is a wildly unique collage of environments, from the gritty urban core of Miami to dense crocodile infested swamps; from the upscale shops of tropical Longboat Key to the historic architecture of Jacksonville, where the nights are distinctly northern with their chilly edges. This journal reflects this rich diversity from the edgy, tongue-in-cheek poetry of “spotlighted” poet Denise Duhamel, to the arch intelligence of prose stylist Janet Burroway (an interview and a story)—I have always admired them both.
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  • Issue Number Volume 16 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2010/11
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This strong issue includes the winner (Timothy Mullaney for “Green Glass Doors”) and runner-up (Susan Magee for “The Mother”) of Salamander’s first-ever fiction contest, three other stories, a memoir essay, and the work of more than two-dozen poets.
  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2006
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Two short stories in this issue of Sou’wester just knock me out: April Line’s “What It Would Be Like To Have a Baby With a Turnip” and Patricia Brieschke’s “Eat!” Both feature ordinary women as protagonists and both cover themes done before: the experience of pregnancy (Turnip) and self-starvation (Eat).
  • Issue Number Volume 43 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Southern Review prides itself on excellence, on not letting the reader off the hook. This issue has three essays on “Mind and Metaphor,” none of which are an easy task to read, partly because each of will unsettle your preconceived notions of those two abstract concepts.
  • Issue Number Volume 115 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
In a world of the increasingly gritty, beyond-experimental, post-post-modern and devil-may-care, The Sewanee Review feels almost old-fashioned in its emphasis on clarity, craftsmanship, and quality. It was a treat to carry it around with me, leave it beside my bed, and, before falling asleep underline stand-out bits of analysis in critical essays. Christopher Clausen’s “From the Mountain to the Monsters” intrigued me from the opening lines: “Take nature as your moral guide, and before long you find yourself haunted by nightmares of monsters. The relation between cosmic nature and human ethical conduct was the most important intellectual problem of the nineteenth century.”
The Santa Monica Review has little space for drawings or photographs. From cover to cover, pages are packed with writing presented in a generic font as though it were simply a college essay waiting to be graded. It is rare to see a nationally distributed literary arts journal with a layout entirely devoted to sharing high quality writing without unnecessary visual distractions.
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  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This 35th anniversary issue is editor Bruce Guernsey’s last after four years. He will be succeeded by Kristin Hotelling Zona, associate professor of English at Illinois State, where the journal is published. This issue’s Illinois Poet (an interview and a dozen poems) introduces the work of Cathy Bobb; the Poets on Teaching column presents Wesley McNair’s exercises for introducing students to free verse; translations include work from Brazil, Spain; and poems by 20 poets.
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  • Issue Number Volume 44 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
My recent reading just happens to have included a great deal of poetry by women whose work in the first half of the last century is now largely forgotten or ignored, so I was surprised, pleased, and curious to discover Mina Loy’s name in a poem by Priscilla Atkins in this issue’s TOC. I had to start there, though I was tempted to begin with a poem by Michael Andrews, “Lykambes Has Promised Neobulé,” because it has the most unusual title in the issue; or Terry W. Thompson’s “Spencer Rex: The Oedipus Myth in Henry James’s ‘The Jolly Corner,’” because I am fond of academic essays, and as editor Chantel Acevedo notes in her Comment, few journals publish them.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Issue 1
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The inaugural issue of this self-defined “independent poetry magazine” presents the work of three dozen poets with no fanfare, pronouncements of intentions or predilections, no submission policy statement, no announcement of prizes or awards, no editorial commentary, and no explanation of its name. In fact, the only information about the journal appears at the end of the its 74 (small format) glossy pages: one page listing the four staff members and editorial address in Salt Lake City, UT and a note that the journal is published biannually; the other a “thank you” to the journal’s sponsor (“Thank you to our sugar daddy”), Nations Title Agency, Inc. in Midvale, Utah.
  • Issue Number Volume 2
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Specs presents itself as a journal of contemporary culture and arts. Each issue has a theme, and this one is “faux histories.” A brief introduction from the editor-in-chief explains the theme is inspired by the “Renaissance Wunderkammer or wonder cabinet,” and the hope is that this collection of pieces will “allow for an uneasy coexistence between the campy, the sentimental, the political, and the repulsive – a mobile archive of committed fakeries in print and digital form.”
  • Issue Number Issue 10
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Boasting content creepy – in the best possible sense of the word – enough to match the eyeless, button-mouthed citizens congregated across the cover, Skidrow Penthouse is a lovely, straightforward literary magazine of avant-garde grotesquery. Definitely not for the easily disturbed, this issue displays numerous splashy images of sexual amorphous nightmare creatures, visceral flash fiction, and poetry rife with primordial images of animals, colors, and traumatizing childhood experiences. Anorexia, the Holocaust, street life, abortion, insanity, and BDSM are all addressed, often in excruciatingly, darkly humorous ways.
Spire is a slender volume of poetry, fiction, and stated purpose (from the web site): "Spire is dedicated to publishing traditionally marginalized voices of minority, low-income and young writers and artists who will create the future of arts and literature. Spire publishes new writers alongside more established writers in order to lend credibility and establish interest in the work of the new writers.
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  • Issue Number Volume 65 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The mission statement of The Southern Literary Journal is to publish “articles on the literature and culture of the American South and especially encourages global and hemispheric comparative scholarship linking the American South and its literatures and cultures to other Souths." This issue features both articles and reviews that present fresh and compelling ideas to the strong body of comparative scholarship that already exists on the literature and culture of the American South. Articles range from analyzing Gone with the Wind to the trauma of lost sovereignty within the South to the analyzing of Ellison’s Invisible Man as a “public jazz dance” in which each individual chapter on a grand scale represents the movements of syncopated communities.
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  • Issue Number Volume 43 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that reading a collection of lyric essays can require more concentration, more effort, than reading a collection of short stories or personal essays, and that is true of the pieces in this issue of Seneca Review. This intense hybrid genre, a form of many forms, gives rise to responses like responses to poetry—visceral, shocked, troubled, enraptured—partly because it is filled with images, juxtapositions, and gaps, yes, but partly because it depends on the frontal lobe too, the facts and footnotes of argument and persuasion, at the same time it claims the personal, the fragile and emotional.
  • Issue Number Volume 40 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
For how trim SHR is — barely over 200 pages — its 39-year-old mission to publish “fiction, poetry, personal and critical essays, and book reviews on the arts, literature, philosophy, religion, cultural studies, and history” is grand in scope.
  • Issue Number Issue 50
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
For its 25th Anniversary Issue, Sonora Review called on some of the University of Arizona’s MFA graduates and the journal’s previous staffers: Antonya Nelson, Tony Hoagland, Ken Lamberton, all of whom have gone on to successful careers. The cover features slivers of 37 past covers, all artfully arranged side-by-side in a bright stack of faulted literary strata. And although they couldn’t get Richard Russo and David Foster Wallace, also one-time SR staffers, this issue reaches lyrical heights without them.
  • Issue Number Volume 2
  • Published Date Spring 2006
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Still in its infancy, Silent Voices, published by Ex Machine Press, is making its own foothold among the vast array of literary journals. Its fiction-only focus is a plus for those of us looking for contemporary story collections, and a welcome relief from some of the more popular “Best of…” publications that seem to have bottomed out in terms of presenting a variety of style. (And for short story/creative writing teachers out there using those publications in your classes, SV certainly offers an alternative that might be of more interest to your students.)
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
In SUB-LIT’s first issue, you get the not so subtle impression that you will be titillated or at the very least tantalized. And you will, but in a more intellectually risky manner than first expected when you come face to face with the sexy 60’s style rock’n’roll poster on their website. The poems and stories in this issue challenge your definition of the truth.
  • Issue Number Volume 116 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Sewanee Review begins with twenty pages of “Current Books in Review” written succinctly about both authors and their current books, making these introductory pages informative and entertaining.
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  • Issue Number Volume 30 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2005
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
When I write a review, I try to organize it around the distinct pillars in the book that define the reading experience for me. With The Spoon River Poetry Review, that doesn’t work so well. There are as many writing styles as there are poets in this volume. Pillars here are like museum artifacts: free-standing, but still awesome to look at.
  • Issue Number Volume 90 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2005
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Joshua Harmon’s lead-off essay is titled “Live Free (Or Die Trying).” Yes, it’s a skewed reference to New Hampshire, and to the political divide in the U.S. and the secessionist fantasies entertained by blue-staters. Yet Harmon, a self-described “Mass-hole” and shrewd observer of place (see AGNI No. 60), discovers that voting patterns are not so easily explained when he visits a region he knows well, Coos County, NH—an otherwise conservative area in the rural mountains that John Kerry won in 2004.
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  • Issue Number Issue 9
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Sugar House Review is an independent poetry journal based in Salt Lake City, UT. It is named after one of the oldest and most artistic neighborhoods in the city, Sugar House. The journal aims not only to be rooted in their region and to gain local recognition, but to also appeal to a larger national and international audience. This desire for a global reach ensures that each issue of Sugar House Review is filled with great poetry and thoughtful reviews. As the artwork of this issue suggests the underlying theme is of the honeybee, each poem calls upon the “spirit” of the honeybee in some form of another making issue number nine a delectable issue.
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  • Issue Number Issue 10
  • Published Date Winter 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Eleven writers and four featured artists share space in this 98 page-long issue. The glossy finish on every page, a very artistic layout, and deep thought writings make this issue of Stone Voices a perfect coffee table magazine. It carries a byline of “art-spirituality-mindfulness-creativity,” calling out for readers looking inside to invest some time rather than a distracted flip through. That is not to say the material is not entertaining.
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  • Issue Number Numbers 180 & 181
  • Published Date Fall 2013/Winter 2014
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Reading Salmagundi is like sitting in a graduate school seminar in the humanities or a panel at the 92nd Street Y. Confidence, and sophistication, big names, and the requisite originality ooze through the page. Fortunately, it never quite tips into snobbishness, and following the writers’ trains of thought was for me a demanding but enjoyable exercise. Depending on your background, though and I use the word “background” broadly to mean cultural, ethnic, class, academic, professional, or simply experience or preference as a reader—it may be hard to miss the milieu in which Salmagundi situates itself: among the cerebral, among those who do not have to or who do not worry about money, those who have already carved out a place for themselves in the world, the arrived.
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  • Issue Number Issue 5
  • Published Date May & June 2013
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly online
The writing in Split Lip pulls the reader in, immediately. All the pieces seem to have that attention-grabbing first line(s). Take these for example: “Jude discharges liquid through her mouth all morning. She suffers from the opposite of motion sickness—she can’t handle the stillness” (Genevieve Hudson’s “Even Wild Horses”). “It happens in a Hong Kong hooker hotel, / off Nathan Road.  A round bed under mirrors, / girlie pinups gazing from candy-pink walls” (Lauren Tivey’s “The Breakdown Atlas). And: “You wake up on the toilet staring at your dick” (Sean Davis’s “Sudsy Penguins”). But, of course, first lines are the only part of the story. After each of these lines come excellent fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
  • Issue Number Volume 14 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
You’ll always find a few big stars in Salamander (Chase Twichell, Maura Stanton, Michael Collins). What’s more important, though, is that you’ll always find some stellar work. And this issue is no exception. I am thrilled to see two poems from Catherine Sasanov’s new collection, Had Slaves. I heard her read from this book last year prior to its publication and was quite taken with these spare (with the exception of their titles!), beautifully composed, and astoundingly moving poems about a family history of slave ownership.
With edgy poetry and quirky short shorts, Stray Dog is fun—really, really fun. This issue starts off with a prose poem—usually not the first selection in a journal—about a man writing prose poems. Michael Cocchiarale’s short short, “Other Side of the Bed,” is wildly entertaining, describing a man looking over his wife’s side of the bed for the first time in thirty years and discovering another man—and his apartment.
  • Issue Number Number 144-145
  • Published Date Fall 2004-Winter 2005
Big names and big reputations here, as always: Nadine Gordimer, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Howard, Chase Twichell, Honor Moore, C.K. Williams. Take this issue along if you're planning a long plane ride or a day of waiting somewhere, you won't run out of reading material and you'll be able to escape whatever drudgery surrounds you. The work here is dense, solid, and serious. Gordimer's story, "Alleserlorenn," is not to be missed.
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  • Issue Number Volume 41 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Lyrical essays and poetry rely upon the power of metaphor and associative thinking to create a deeper, more personal interpretation for the reader. The writers in this issue of the Seneca Review walk a fine line, hoping to tickle the reader’s imagination while providing enough detail to ground the piece in something resembling the real world. Most of the time, the authors are quite successful, providing delicious food for thought.
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  • Issue Number Volume 3 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
With its announced theme “Issues of Death” and its ghoulish cover of skulls, it’s impossible to imagine that inside this issue of Seattle Review, one of the most satisfying features is a graphic story, “Number One,” written by Janice Shapiro and drawn by Jessica Wolk-Stanley, a wonderfully illustrated tale of “the social pyramid of North Hollywood circa 1965.” And, yes, it’s about death.
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  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Photographer Carolee J. Friday’s “El Santuario de Chimayo,” at the center of the issue, a beautiful rustic stone church set against shadows that seem almost surreal they are so “hyper-real,” captures beautifully a true New Mexican sensibility. I find the issue’s artwork (photographs, paintings, a graphic story, illustrations), much of which has a decidedly Southwestern feel, especially appealing. Inspired by the region, too, are a short story from Bibi Deitz (“3rd Person, March”), a poem by Kathryne Lim (“Over the Taos Gorge”), and a poem by Michael G. Smith, who is also interviewed in this issue, “Late Autumn Poem, Winter Coming.”
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  • Issue Number Volume 97 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Such established and accomplished writers as Jim Daniels and Colleen S. Harris are joined by many student writers, a funky section of writing about the music scene, and 20 pages of impressive artwork.
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  • Issue Number Number 25
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Is Bob Hicok stalking me? His name appears in the TOC of nearly every journal I’ve reviewed for so long now that I no longer remember what is was like to read a magazine without encountering a Hicok poem. Not that I’m complaining. Who would dare complain about an opening like this one to “Perhaps an entry somewhere in a book”:
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
Superstition Review is not just another journal of interviews, art, fiction, nonfiction and poetry. This creation is a unique collaboration between an all-star team of professional writers/professors and the Arizona State University student community of writers. In this first issue, although there is gluttony of writing selections for you choose from (mostly from professors), you are not left bored, fatigued or searching for your lucky rabbits foot to take you into uncharted and more creative territories in whatever genre you choose to read from first.
  • Issue Number Number 10
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
“Imagination has a heavy appetite / for destruction. Whose red weather / gathers names, makes do / with the least momentous stuff.” Ashley McWater’s poem, “Defending,” sums up Spinning Jenny’s editorial vision: imagination as destruction in the sense of destroying expectations, shattering tired patterns, un-doing traditional formulas, un-making the routine and predictable, and creating something new.
  • Issue Number Volume 13 Number 2
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
At one point in Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Road, the main character laments how he’s forgetting things’ names: “Colors. The names of birds. Things to eat. Finally the names of things one believed to be true.” The work in this issue of Salamander reacts against this amnesia, knowing that loss in specifics results in loss of meaning. As Jennifer Barber, the editor, says, “[These pieces] restore the essential questions about what we live through, what we imagine, and what we tell, answering Rilke’s call to ‘Speak and bear witness.’” Through Salamander’s focus on life’s details, it does just that.
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