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  • Issue Number Volume 14 Issue 2
  • Published Date 2017
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

This literary magazine is excellent for anyone who enjoys thought provoking poems. In this issue of Vallum, the focus is on “Lies and Duplicity,” and features a number of great poets, a collection of visual art, a conversation with poet Rae Armantrout, and book reviews by various authors.

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  • Issue Number Issue 51
  • Published Date Spring 2017
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

There is something mesmerizing about a lightning storm; each flash lasts for only a moment, but holds tremendous power that electrifies the air and the imagination. Good flash fiction has the same effect on the senses of the reader, and the online magazine Vestal Review delivers the same power with each story. Ever since its debut in March 2000, Vestal Review has published exclusively flash fiction and is “firmly established as an exciting venue for exceptional flash by both emerging and well-known authors.”

  • Subtitle The Language Quarterly
  • Issue Number Volume 30 Number 4
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

Reviewed by Ever wondered where the word “cocktail” came from, or been annoyed by some corporate entity referring to itself as a “family?” Have you pondered what dictionary publishers ought to do in regards to including words that are registered trademarks of companies with overzealous lawyers?

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  • Issue Number Volume 15, Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2015
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
There are voices that are almost always overshadowed despite that their histories are embedded in our nation’s roots. Centered on the glossy cover of Valley Voices is Margaret Bowland’s painting of a young, black girl—her brown skin thinly painted white. Her attire consists of a white dress, blood spattered against a garden of white roses and cotton blooms. Ahead of her, beyond the splashes of red, a turquoise blue land, perhaps a more promising place. With her face turned almost completely towards me, and hopeful, she leads me there into that place to listen to the voices that I so rarely get to hear.
  • Issue Number Issue 9
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The latest issue of Versal establishes its strong character before you even open it up. Simply styled with Antoinette Nausikaä’s cover art, it states in black handwriting “I AM HAPPY” (followed by the date and location of the statement’s creation). There it is. A negation of the bland and normal, an embracing of the strangeness of human existence. Part of the cover’s beauty comes from its confidence—isn’t it a bit more difficult, a bit more unnerving to say simply, “I am”? It allows for the possibility of any (or no) emotion, any description, and in that sense it is universal. Fitting, since the journal prides itself on its trans locality, based in Amsterdam but spanning across nations. At the same time, however, the statement is personal, almost forceful.
  • Issue Number Volume 81 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2005
"I dreamed in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole / of the rest of the earth,"—could any "dead poet" be more, for lack of a better word, relevant? It's not hard to understand why VQR has devoted a whole (glorious and gorgeous) issue to honor Walt Whitman on the 150th anniversary of the publication of Leaves of Grass. The issue includes essays of various styles, lengths, and intents from twenty-five American poets and writers and five beautifully reproduced sets of photos of Whitman with commentary by Ed Folsom, adapted from the gallery section of the Walt Whitman Archive.
  • Issue Number Number 8
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Produced in Amsterdam, universal in terms of themes, distinctly European in terms of innovation and overall quality, borderless in its aspirations, and utterly accessible to US readers, thanks to its publication in English, this issue of Versal is provocative, inventive, perplexing, and stimulating. Standout contributions include Paul Lisson’s short story “In Progress,” Norman Lock’s prose poem “Alphabet of the Birds,” Stacy Elaine Dacheux’s stroy “The Sociology of Containers,” and sudden fiction by June Melby, “In Soup”:
  • Issue Number Volume 7 Number 2
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue’s theme is “renegades,” perfectly apt for the journal as a publication of “new international poetics.” New poems from the prolific and ever-renegade-ish Tomaz Salumun, translated from the Slovenian by Michael Thomas Taren and the author, serve as a fitting start: “The relation between you can and you cannot / is art, / therefore the line is art.” The “you can” is poetry from two and a half dozen poets, reviews, and provocative visual art from Tanya Cooper and the journal’s marvelous—appropriately curious and disturbing—cover by Mathieu Bories. The “you cannot” is ignore Vallum as a poetic force to be reckoned with.
  • Issue Number Number 7
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Versal is true to its etymology. The word is related to the Latin vertere (to turn). This work will turn heads and turn your expectations upside down and inside out. You can turn some of the phrases over and over in your mind as you ponder their meanings. The work turns away from convention. There are surprising twists and turns. If you’re not into inventiveness or writing that is deliberately edgy and unusual (odd even), you may want to walk away. If this kind of work excites you, you’ll find something to interest you at every turn. Every time you turn the page, you encounter a unique turn of phrase.
  • Issue Number Number 2
  • Publication Cycle 2004
This square journal is too much for me to really review – it's a composite, compilation, collage of so many things, and the distances between each is too small for what I might be able to say make sense.
  • Issue Number Number 2:2
  • Publication Cycle 2004
First, thank god for Medbh McGuckian and her four beautiful poems within this small volume, and is everyone now clear, with each passion season and the crop of literary journals, that Canada is where it's happening, literary magazine-wise? Should we list? Probably not (click, back on the main page on Literary Mags).
  • Issue Number Volume 3 Number 4
  • Published Date July 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Part community news bulletin, part travel guide, and part literary magazine, Voices de la Luna drops the reader into the vibrant arts community of San Antonio, Texas. The magazine describes itself as "actively promoting poetry and arts in San Antonio by supporting other literary and arts organizations." Discovering the interdependent community of creative folks represented in Voices de la Luna’s pages makes me want to buy a one-way ticket to this great town.
  • Issue Number Volume 83 Number 4
  • Published Date Fall 2007
The Virginia Quarterly Review’s Fall 2007 issue, “South America in the 21st Century,” is a must-read for anyone interested in Latin American politics and culture, as well as those fond of New Journalism – using the fiction writer’s tools, like scene setting, character development, and dialogue to build news stories. The techniques have been accepted for decades now, but here they are spit shined to gleaming. I read the magazine from cover to cover. The poetry, fiction, cartoons, and collages are note-worthy, especially Chilean poet Marjorie Agosín’s poetry of exile; but the journalistic impulse dominates the writing and photography.
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  • Issue Number Volume 11
  • Published Date 2013
  • Publication Cycle Annual
It could be said that all surrealists are alike, but all nihilists are unhappy in their own ways. Fortunately for readers of this journal, it is sometimes hard to separate the two philosophies, which leads to astonishing feats of dreams and poignant detail, a crash course in the world by an impressive new wave of international literati.
  • Issue Number Volume 2 Issue 1
  • Published Date Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Valparaiso Fiction Review, a sister publication of the Valparaiso Poetry Review, is from the Department of English at Valparaiso University in Indiana. What first struck me about the magazine was the format. Each piece of the issue appears in a separate PDF that needs to be downloaded to read. This seemed odd and discouraging, but I’m glad I took the time to work with the format. These longer pieces of fiction found within the issue were well worth it.
VerbSap, an online magazine, publishes Concise Prose - Enough Said: Fiction and creative non-fiction, and very occasionally a poem. Work found here tends to be on the short side (at most 3000 words long), and all pieces have that surprising, jolting quality that comes from very close observation and the writer's unwillingness to settle for the second best word. There is room for the unusual and disturbing in VerbSap's selections, but you'll search in vain for gimmicks or sloppiness. Each large issue should be consumed in small sips, since these concentrated bits of fiction resonate a long time.
  • Issue Number Volume 83 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2007
In a beautifully designed issue devoted to the war in Iraq, The Virginia Quarterly Review makes a compelling case for why literature matters. The editor’s note, “The Dreadful Details: The Problem of Depicting War,” addresses the history of representing war’s carnage in photographs and the writing of witness, taking the position that “We must continue the painful work of bearing witness for posterity, of looking with the camera’s unblinking stare at the horrors of humankind.”
  • Issue Number Volume 4
  • Published Date 2006
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This end-of-year issue by the Canadian journal Vallum is a pleasant and serious counterpoint to the monthly whimsies of Poetry. Its theme is the desert, and I’m not talking about the American diet. Through poetry, Vallum explores deserts of ice and deserts of sand and deserts of the mind. Still hungry? Good.
  • Issue Number Issue 109
  • Published Date July 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
In the July 2012 issue of Verse Wisconsin, co-editors Sarah Busse and Wendy Vardaman stress the importance of community, and everything about the print and online issues of the journal point to the wisdom of their claim. Before moving to Madison, Wisconsin in 2009, Verse Wisconsin was published by Linda Aschbrenner for 11 years as Free Verse. Aschbrenner continues to serve on Verse Wisconsin’s advisory board, along with B. J. Best, Cathryn Cofell, Ron Czerwien, Tom Erickson, Fabu, David Graham, Angela Rydell, and Marilyn L. Taylor. In other words, Verse Wisconsin is a celebration of community and poetry.
  • Issue Number Number 10
  • Published Date Summer 2012
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Amsterdam’s Versal is a thoughtful collection of sophisticated, inventive writing and art. For the celebration of their first ten years, the editors included a mixed media art piece titled “750 Circles” that is a blank page with a balloon taped to it. Each of these pages is signed by the editors. The piece, they say, is to honor the many people who have made the last ten years possible. Small flourishes of creativity like this appear throughout the journal, making it not only a collection of great writing, but a united reading experience.
  • Issue Number Volume 9 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Vallum has been encouraging an international literary collaboration of established and forthcoming writers for a little over a decade. The publication is dedicated to fostering communication in and around its home in Canada as well as with countries that range from Australia to India. This issue features a special focus on Pakistani poets. Pakistan is “often portrayed as one of the world’s most dangerous countries,” and so it is no surprise that a collection from its poets is astonishingly beautiful and powerful.
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  • Issue Number Volume 80 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2004
VQR gets the award for the most evocative juxtaposition this spring — illustrator Eric Wight's blond, broad-shouldered "Escapist," from Michael Chabon's comic book story ("The Origin of the Escapist") practically leaps off the cover, heavy chains broken and loose in his hands, locks flying, white teeth gleaming, and then the first entry in the magazine, Carleton J. Phillip's "Capturing Saddam." 
  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date 2006
Versal is an attractive, large-format magazine, denser than its one-hundred pages would initially suggest and ornamented with full color art both inside and out. Most of the prose in the issue is very short, each story generally only a couple of pages long. Chad Simpson’s “Hunger,” for example, is one of the strongest stories in the issue despite taking less than a single page to convey a terrifying tale of a woman obsessed with eating after a move to a new house. Strong undercurrents of menace lurk between sentences, and the final line packs a surprisingly large punch, considering the story’s lean three-hundred-word body.
If the heavy theme of this issue, Integrated Education in America, puts you off, the author of its first essay will draw you right back in. Toni Morrison’s memoir on segregation in the American South is characteristically unflinching and beautiful. Equally compelling is a collection of collages by Romare Bearden from the 1960s, which depict, cubistically, the agonies and ironies of the African American condition at that time. A suite of reactionary poems by Kevin Young accompanies them, adding an additional layer of interest. Included, presumably, by virtue of their merit, not their theme, Quan Berry’s poems are an elegant, tightly crafted delight.
  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date July 2012
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
Different from traditional stories or poems, these pieces offer up small slices of life that are not necessarily whole stories but vignettes that absolutely invoke emotion, doing so in a small amount of space. I barely put down my pen the whole time I read as I took down notes and wrote down quotes.
  • Issue Number Volume 28 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date 2012
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Excerpts from Jean Donnelly and John Olson could be used to sum up the style of work in the latest issue of Verse, a magazine that publishes chapbook-length submissions. Donnelly’s “Some Life” begins “read poems to know / how to live,” and midway through switches to the abstract
  • Issue Number Volume 12 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2012
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
If you like literature that looks, sounds, smells and tastes like Mississippi Delta blues and jazz, then Valley Voices: A Literary Review, published by Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU), would make a nice addition to your library. This issue celebrates the journal’s 10-year anniversary with a collection of what Editor John Zheng calls “the best creative works, poetry and stories, Valley Voices has published.” This issue is evidence that the journal has long lived up to its stated dedication to promoting the works of MVSU students and the cultural diversity of the Mississippi Delta through writers from the Delta, while maintaining standards of excellence in poetry and prose.
  • Issue Number Issue 3:1
  • Published Date Fall-Winter 2005
A press release from Vallum: contemporary magazine announces the magazine is "dedicated to exploring reality in all its warped and beautiful aspects" and that this issue is the journal's first theme-based effort. The theme is "reality checks," featuring "'snapshots of things real and unreal."
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Amsterdam – city of hashish, soccer riots, bicycles – city of canals, tall people, and even taller people – continues now to bring us this international literary journal. The word versal means rare or universal as defined on the inside of the superbly designed cover. In this Versal 5 are indeed rare words that will cut edges in your mind. If you seek Versal for the atmospheres of Amsterdam, though, you will be disappointed. Versal is perhaps not the best of international literature, but holds a sure-shot at becoming just that.
  • Issue Number Volume 6 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2009
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
A special theme issue on play and the absurd, which includes the Children’s Poetry Contest Winners, an interview with composer Ruth Fazal, who sets excerpts (some of which appear here) of the widely acclaimed and popular book of children’s writings, I Never Saw Another Butterfly, from the Terezin concentration camp, to music; Ariela Freedman’s essay, “Letter from Jerusalem”; reviews; and more than two dozen playful poems. Contributors include the prolific and well known writer Lorna Crozier and a contributor too young to have made much of a name for himself yet, four-year old Mikhael Dylan Auerbach, who – absurdly or at least incredibly – “is currently interested in Spiderman, trains, soccer, and copying Old Masters like Braque, Matisse, and Da Vinci.” His drawings are exceptional, and if he really is only four, this is not so much absurd as frightening!
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  • Issue Number Volume 89 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2013
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The theme of this issue of The Virginia Quarterly Review is “People and Place.” The featured writers are Ann Beattie, Catherine E. McKinley, Garret Keizer, and Tess Taylor, but all of the 25 contributors are impressive and well worth reading and re-reading.
  • Issue Number Volume 84 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The fiction in this issue of the VQR offers “Superhero Stories.” But none of the protagonists of the short fiction that opens the magazine – a discharged sailor who suffered psychic and physical wounds in the 1946 Bikini Atoll atomic bomb test; a masked vigilante who comes across as “a slurring crackpot taking a momentary break from a barbiturate triathlon” in his only public appearance; and a homebody in boxer shorts who commandeers the voices of televangelists – are paragons of virtue. Instead, Scott Snyder, Tom Bissell, and George Singleton give us blackly comic portraits of the flawed and fallen. These are men forged and broken in violence, antiheroes for our own times.
  • Issue Number Volume 2
  • Published Date May 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
It’s 424 pages long, weighing in at a chunky 1.75 pounds; Vlak cannot be called a little magazine. It is a literary magazine, though, launched from Prague and flashing through the reader’s consciousness like a bullet train. With works from eastern and western Europe, Australia, North Africa, and the United States (and a single nod to Brazil), the issue brings together ninety writers and visual artists.
  • Issue Number Number 6
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Versal Six is published by wordsinhere in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and features poetry and prose written originally in English, as well as work translated into English from a variety of languages, and artwork, including reproductions of drawings, photographs, and paintings, as well as sculpture and ceramics. The journal is handsomely designed and produced – the quality of the paper and printing is exceptional. This issue includes work by writers from the Netherlands, the United States, Argentina, Uruguay, Morocco, Australia, Romania, Wales, England, Germany, China, South Africa, and the Czech Republic. It is worth noting that many of the writers who appear in Versal Six have extensive international experience, having studied and worked in as many as a half dozen different countries.

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