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Katy Haas

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Entitled “Politics & Religion,” this issue of the Mississippi Review might just as aptly be named the “Stand on the Rooftop and Shout Yes, Yes, Yes!” issue.
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With two traditionally constructed short stories, a meta-fictional batch of autobiographical “contributor’s notes” by writer Michael Martone, and a nonfiction piece excerpted from the personal notebook of author M.V. Clayton, this issue of The Journal is slim on its prose offerings, leaning almost entirely toward poetry.
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If you are like me, the multitude of literary reviews named after universities or geographic locations tend to blend together in your mind. However, for me, the Indiana Review just ceased to be one of them. Indiana Review is one of the only university affiliated magazines I’ve read that publishes great edgy and risky writing.

Hobart - Winter 2004-2005

February 28, 2005
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Now this is a great magazine. Short, quirky writing that takes itself seriously but is not without a sense of humor. Think of it as a McSweeney’s for very short fiction (most of the stories here are between two and six pages). Perhaps the similarities are due to guest editor Ryan Boudinot, a McSweeney’s contributor who includes two excellent Icelandic authors in this issue who also appear in the new McSweeney’s.

Harvard Review - 2004

February 28, 2005
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The cover means to draw us in by announcing work from Jorie Graham, André Aciman, Honor Moore, Kenneth Burke and theirs is certainly worthwhile. One of the most gifted writers on place, Aciman never disappoints, and I loved this essay on New York. Moore's piece on Lowell is marvelous—she is such a fine essayist I would read her on any subject, but she is especially satisfying when writing about other poets.
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What makes this issue of Green Mountains Review especially appealing is the range of styles and tones represented here. Maureen Seaton is as quirky, irreverent, playful, and original as ever in several pieces that defy classification. Erick Pankey is as solemn and soulful as we know him to be in three self-portraits composed of exacting, carefully calculated language. Lola Haskins is, as we expect her to be, both lyrical and sharp-tongued in "Parsing Mother" ("You're the twig that slashed my eye as I pushed through the branches. / Why I see cracks, faults, flaws, in every vase and daughter. O / Mother how declensions abound: nominative sun accusative moon."). The fiction follows suit, with solid, conventional short stories by Jenna Terry and Daisy Tsui; a lyrical folk-tale style offering by Christopher White; and stories I am tempted to categorize as "sudden fiction" or "short shorts" by Francine White. Among the many memorable and noteworthy pieces in this issue is one I simply cannot refrain from mentioning— Eamon Grennan's marvelous poem "From the Road," which begins:

Event - Spring 2005

February 28, 2005
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This is the annual creative non-fiction awards issue, but every issue of Event is a winner from what I've seen.
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For those still Stone Age enough to think of Texas poetry as an oxymoron, welcome to Austin. Alex Grant’s “Vespers” offers home and peace and space and the beautiful old word quieten. Kelle Groom’s poems find the soul of things and help us hear the faint but heartfelt dialogue between the living and the dead: “I wonder / If they are always talking behind the glass, / Full of joy for us, if they are in the trees, swinging, / Smiling, saying live, live, live, & on this side / We hear birds, / Songs from far away.” Brenda Ladd’s photo series gives us lost-(or perhaps found) in-performance soul glimpses of the likes of B.B. King, Abbey Lincoln, and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. (A white light shot of a joyful Ray Charles graces the issue’s cover.) Weston Cutter’s wondrous strange, down on all fours and calling “Same Animal” reminds us that evolution of the human kind can be a tricky proposition. To delight you even as it makes you weep that we’ve all but lost to computers the handwritten record of our writers’ painstaking choices is the manuscript page of Walt Whitman’s lovely “unpublished, undated, and perhaps unfinished fragment” “In Western Texas”:

One Story - 2006

April 30, 2006
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One Story publishes 18 journals a year of one story each. Impeccably edited, professionally dressed, the slender, 5”x7”, pocketable books are a brilliant addition to the lit scene. “The Arrival” (Issue 67) by Robin Romm is not another cancer story.
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Reminiscent of The Paris Review or, to a lesser extent, Western Humanities Review or The New Yorker, New England Review asserts itself as a dense academic journal that takes itself as seriously as academia tends to take itself. And that’s pretty serious. The journal’s subscription tear-out reads, assuredly, “Look to NER for the challenges your taste requires.” After a billboard like that, false advertising is pretty much out of the question.
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