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Katy Haas

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Not to be confused with Poetry International out of San Diego State, The International Poetry Review is published by the Department of Romance Languages at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
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After creating controversy with the (some say) pornographic cover of their summer issue, Fence is back with a fine selection of fiction, poetry, and art. Everything about the magazine radiates “coolness,” from the idiosyncratic (and slightly creepy) art of John Lurie, to the experimental poetry, and quirky fiction.
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The debut issue of A Public Space is probably one of the most highly anticipated magazines in recent history. Brigid Hughes, the former editor of the Paris Review, tops the masthead and the contributors include literary heavyweights like Rick Moody, Kelly Link, Charles D’Ambrosio, recent Pulitzer winner Marilynne Robinson, and John Haskell—not to mention a rare interview with Haruki Murakami, a Japanese author who enjoys a cult-like following. And A Public Space does not disappoint.
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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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The Paterson Literary Review only arrives once a year, but leaves a lasting impression. This Passaic County Community College-based journal boasts 400 pages of poems, stories and essays and could easily keep you occupied during several intercontinental flights. In her editor’s note, Maria Mazziotti Gillan declares one of her primary motivations for selecting work from the 10,000 submissions the PLR receives each year: “I attempt to be inclusive of the work of writers from many races and ethnicities, choosing what I believe to be the best works.” She certainly achieved her goal; the journal balances the experimental and the traditional, the personal and the universal.
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Here is what to like about the Summer 2012 issue of New Haven Review:
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One of the many pleasing things about this issue of The Missouri Review is the design of the magazine, easy to hold in the hands, with a neutrally-colored cover and larger-than-usual font. Easy on the eyes, gentle and pleasant.
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The 2012 Late Fall issue of The Literary Review is out of control. No, really, the issue is dedicated to loss of control. “Control is an abstraction and a grail,” says Editor Minna Proctor. “Humans are driven to maddening distraction, dangerous and untenable lengths, in pursuit of control. We don’t ever get control, yet we hunt it.” The writers in this issue contribute a great selection of fiction and poetry that examines this hunt and shows how easy it is to lose control.
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Spare, elegant, and graceful, The Hollins Critic descends like a belle of the upper South on bibliophiles starved for beauty. Fittingly, this publication emanates from the first women’s college in Virginia, an institution with a proud tradition dedicated to creativity and “effective self-expression.” The accomplished artist Susan Avishai, after decades devoted to the international study and practice of art, entered Hollins University in 2001 to pursue a degree in creative writing. Between writing seminars, she painted in Hollins’s studios, and since 2004 has contributed a striking pen-and-ink cover portrait to each issue of The Hollins Critic. Avishai’s art perfectly launches the reader into the fierce economy of its unique format, its passion for literature, and its flair.
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Freefall bills itself as “Canada’s Magazine of Exquisite Writing.” Their mission statement commits to publishing 85% Canadian content, ranging from new and emerging to experienced writers. The editor’s opening statement, written by Micheline Maylor, describes an opposition to demolishing Al Purdy’s A-frame house, asking: “If muscle has the ability to remember, then why not a wall, a house, a landscape?” Her preamble continues, “For what is this life without a little magic?” and sets the tone for the creative work that follows.
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