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Katy Haas

Juked - Spring 2012

June 14, 2012
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Juked’s website says, “We don’t adhere to any particular themes or tastes, but some people tell us they see one, so who knows.” I’m not going to make any broad declarations of a theme connecting the stories, poetry, and interviews in this issue; I’m just going to highlight a few of the better selections.
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In its two-plus decades of existence, Image has garnered a reputation asa unique forum for the best writing and artwork that is informed by—or grapples with—religious faith.” This is no small calling. Not content to provide rote answers, convinced that beauty transcends trite aphorisms, the editors of the journal focus on verbal and visual art that “embody a spiritual struggle, that seek to strike a balance between tradition and a profound openness to the world.” In this issue, the fiction is compelling, and the nonfiction and poetry illuminate with heartbreaking effectiveness the tension between contemporary socialized intelligence and the fierce desire for God. Its theme seems to be fervent searching. I found it very moving.
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The Hudson Review is more thoroughly an academic/cultural review journal than many of the magazines reviewed at NewPages. Its essays, “Chronicles,” “Comments,” and the six pieces actually categorized as “Reviews,” are all provocative, erudite reviews of literature and the arts, aimed at an audience of well-educated, well-informed critics equal in measure to the authors themselves. This is a serious, high-minded journal well worth your time if your interests include analysis of the dramatic verse of Ben Jonson, the music of Philip Glass, or the autobiographical fiction of Gregor von Rezzori. Flawlessly edited and professionally impeccable, the writing here is secular, humanistic, and strong.
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The Greensboro Review, part of The University of North Carolina Greensboro’s creative writing program, is simply clad in thick paper which has a natural-pressed feel, with the title and names of the contributors on the front. The magazine opts for a simple cover, choosing instead to spend its efforts on the contents within. It is no surprise that the collection of pieces provided by MFA students is superb. The review features fiction and poetry, all of which feels effortless in its precise crafting. It’s handmade literature at its best.

Field - Spring 2012

June 14, 2012
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In Dana Gioia’s essay, “Can Poetry Matter?” published in May 1991 in The Atlantic Monthly, Gioia offers a prescription for poetry that includes writing prose about poetry more often. He observed that poetry as an art form had been partitioned within the wider culture. I quote his essay’s final paragraph here:
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Who doesn’t dig the moon? This issue of Conduit is all about that orb out there beyond our atmosphere spinning around our planet while our planet, in turn, spins about the sun. For any lunar fanatic, this issue is a must have item. While non-poetry readers may puzzle over some of the poems in here, everybody is going to be down for the Buzz Aldrin interview—yes, the very same one-time astronaut Buzz Aldrin who touched down on that astro-hunk of lunar wonder. His perspective is counterbalanced by an interview with scholar Evans Lansing Smith titled “The Myth in the Moon.” In addition, a plentiful supply of attractive artwork featuring the moon is scattered throughout these pages, ranging from Warhol’s Moonwalk (1987) (here reclaimed from being used as an infamous ad for MTV) to Caspar David Friedrich’s Two Men Contemplating the Moon (ca. 1830) along with plenty of other art in between, everything from photography to sculpture.

Catch Up - 2012

June 14, 2012
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Catch Up’s cover art bucks the usual trend of staid literary journal cover art. This issue features a lurid red, blue, and purple drawing by contributor Max Bode of a menacing figure with its head ringed with dynamite and its gloved hands holding detonators. So, the cover made me think more underground “litzine” or comics anthology than literary journal. However, I found, on the pages within, the work of some very widely published writers. Mixed in with this literary work are a few comics, including a nice series from Box Brown on Andre the Giant’s interactions with various cast members on the set of The Princess Bride, presumably from the comic biography of Andre that Brown is currently working on.
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Consistently one of the best, cleanest-looking, most affordable and most interesting literary magazines, Third Coast seems incapable of ever making a bad move. If you go to it for your fix of Bob Hicok, for example, you might get distracted by a story by Kieth Banner - lines like “I love her like you might love a stubbed toe if the rest of your body was numb.”
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I know it’s not polite to talk about politics, and there’s hardly a gray zone in the polarized debate regarding politics in this country right now, but the Long Story is specifically political, so it bears discussion.
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Jeff Walt has written one of the sexiest poems about smoking ever and Jennifer Perrine makes me want to hold someone’s hand. 
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