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NewPages Literary Magazine Reviews

Posted May 8, 2008

  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Upon entering the first page of Alice Blue you encounter tiny square shaped images of odd looking stuffed animals that, when touched with clicking mouse, turns into a word denoting each distinctive section of their website. With issue number 8 of Alice Blue you are reminded of E.E. Cummings at his surrealist best with a healthy swath of absurdist tendencies incorporated into a mix of short prose pieces and poems ranging from experiments in form, language or both.
I immediately noticed that this small journal devotes a surprising amount of space to fiction and essays: 9 pieces total followed by 17 pages of reviews.
  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date March 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Rage and risk in writing is a powerful tool that can generate the most passionate work. In Blood Lotus, issue 8, the editors believe that if you write you should “Write like words are beautiful, powerful and dangerous…” In “katrina” by R.D. Coleman we are exposed to such risks and conviction head on: “my family up and / left me here, they knew / it called to me. / ...could smell the gas out by / the road. / life was done, she said. / she surely meant to die.”
  • Issue Number Issue 162
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Who could resist Glendy Chan’s dazzling cover design of this edition of The Cimarron Review? Luckily, the poems and fiction within the journal don’t disappoint. Though not a themed issue, the editors clearly chose pieces with the big picture in mind. This journal really hangs together, with each work speaking to the next.
  • Issue Number Number 20
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
In my English class, I used this issue of this journal when I started our poetry section; I used it to show students the wide variety of poetry that’s out there. They think of poetry in traditional terms: rhyme, meter, regular looking stanzas. This issue shows what is possible in the poetry world.
  • Issue Number Volume 30 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Reading for review forces the consumption of entire publications in very short periods of time: not recommend for this particular journal. This is the kind of publication that would make a reader grateful for her own copy to read and linger over at intervals.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
Diode, partially supported by Virginia Commonwealth University at Qatar, is a journal of American experimental and electric poetry transported to a foreign land and concerned with the inescapability of our American identities today: “Even eight thousand miles from the United States, the constant hammering of the American media machine reaches us. Our connections—wireless, satellite, cable—crackle with a seemingly endless loop of fear and consumption.” Diode's theoretical purpose is to break through all of this noise and communicate with the poem. Along with these serious pretensions, Diode amazes with its array of ambitious rhythmic poems that play like a firecracker laden sound and light show of invention and tactical and formal daring that does not let up until the final poem.
  • Issue Number Issue 17
  • Published Date September 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Dirty Goat, published by Host Publications of Austin, Texas, is dedicated primarily to featuring literature from around the globe. This issue includes original works in Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese among other languages with English translations. There is also unique work by U.S. writers, none of whom I have heard of before. There is no editorial, but visual artists and translators provide commentary.
  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date November 2007
  • Publication Cycle online
Earthshine does not just claim that poetry can save humanity, it believes in the beauty of poetry and its innate ability to bridge the gap of understanding between different minds. Its simple yet attractive crescent moon design will lure curious and not-so-curious readers to their side.
  • Issue Number Number 52
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I slid Gargoyle into my CD player. The colorful, beat-inspired cover assured me that “Poetry is the bomb, baby,” and I hoped that I would agree. Of course, I immediately thought about my past experiences with making “mixed tapes” and how difficult it can be when you’re only sticking with one genre, let alone many. However, after listening to the CD in its entirety, I knew that the editors of Gargoyle had done far more than compose a simple “mixed tape.”
  • Issue Number Issue 66
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Glimmer Train delivers a journal stock full of great stories. In this issue, the sometimes unusual jobs of characters seem as central to the stories as the characters themselves. The jobs both define the characters and the time periods as well as propel the plots forward.
  • Issue Number Number 83
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Inside The Greensboro Review’s simple cover is complex fiction and poetry. The first poem and story – “The Voice Before” by Melody S. Gee and “The Glass Mountain” by Aimee Pokwatka are Robert Watson Prize winners. Pokwatka's story weaves a thematic fairytale told by an aunt into a story about a young woman, her sister, and her lover. The language is delightful: “It was a stupid question, but we forgave him because his eyes were the color of a sandstorm, and he sat still as an injured bird.”
  • Issue Number Volume 19 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This volume of Manoa, edited by Frank Stewart and Barry Lopez, is dedicated to the theme Maps of Reconciliation: Literature and the Ethical Imagination. This journal includes many types of work: oratory, essays, poetry, fiction, photographic essays, an interview, and even a play. It’s uncommon to see a journal include all of these genres, and the Table of Contents divides them by genre, so it’s easy to navigate.
  • Issue Number Number 18
  • Published Date Fall 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Editor Steve Schreiner opens this issue of  Natural Bridge with a reference to Poe’s explanation of human temptation, that our “spirit of the Perverse” pushes us to “perpetuate actions to our peril simply because we feel that we should not.” The "Temptation Issue" offers many representations of this concept, from the swarming guppies in the late Dale Denny’s “Big Aquarium,” to the breast milk in James Vescovi’s “La Leche is Good for You,” to sticking one’s tongue to a cold porch railing in Amy M. Clark’s “Dumb.”
  • Issue Number Issue 6
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
In the appropriately named Paradigm, it is as if all the disparate forms of literature have unified to create a beautiful spiders web of art that includes sounds for the ears too. If you try to read every piece in one sitting, you may be so enthralled as to stay up to the wee hours of the night.
  • Issue Number Volume 116 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Sewanee Review begins with twenty pages of “Current Books in Review” written succinctly about both authors and their current books, making these introductory pages informative and entertaining.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
In SUB-LIT’s first issue, you get the not so subtle impression that you will be titillated or at the very least tantalized. And you will, but in a more intellectually risky manner than first expected when you come face to face with the sexy 60’s style rock’n’roll poster on their website. The poems and stories in this issue challenge your definition of the truth.
  • 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.
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