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Katy Haas

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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.

Palooka - 2011

January 16, 2012
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The subtitle of Palooka seems to indicate that editors Nicholas Maistros and Jonathan Starke have something of an outsider’s mindset. This “journal of underdog excellence” contains work that, according to Maistros, responds to the “storms” we experience in “different yet collectively elemental ways.” From the journal’s colorful and playfully disturbing cover art to its entertaining contributors’ notes, Palooka turns the difficult trick of making itself accessible to a wide range of audiences without talking down to them.
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Let me tangle
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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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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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This issue of Quiddity is simply delightful. Beginning with Fani Papageorgiou’s poem “The Welder,” it goes about its business of entertaining the masses of literary fandom:
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Though lamentably thin for an annual journal, Oyez Review still provides the reader with tremendous value and represents a pleasant afternoon of reading. Considered as a whole, the editors selected fiction, poetry, nonfiction and art with a European feel. The work traffics in easily accessible themes, but refuses to offer easy, unfulfilling answers to important questions.
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Small and unassuming, The Orange Coast Review, an annual put out by Orange Coast College, is visually dazzling, for the cover art to the glossy midsection gallery. Including far more artwork than most journals, the 2009 issue features the work of fifteen different artists, several contributing multiple works. The most arresting pieces include Barbara Higgins’s photographs of mod-clad mannequins at a glitzy Laundromat, Jonathan Fletcher’s series of pin-hole photos, distorted, elongated features of his subjects all the more striking in black and white, and Frank Martinangeli’s etchings, which give the viewer the feeling they are viewing two worlds simultaneously.
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Why I adored this issue of the New Quarterly:

Lumina - 2010

July 15, 2010
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This issue begins with a simple question, but Susan Nisenbaum Becker’s “What If?” is a complex amalgamation of blessings that might just change everything, but that ends with a rather sobering wondering. For instance, she writes,
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