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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted May 28, 2008

  • Issue Number Issue 10
  • Published Date Spring 2008
Bejeezus is subtitled “Reclaiming Southern Culture,” but its coverage of culture extends far beyond its Kentucky roots. Encompassing the broad categories “See, Watch, Read, Eat, Listen, Make, Visit, & More…” the magazine provides short columns on each, keeping the publication varied and concise.
  • Issue Number Volume 24 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
What impressed me the most about this issue of Calyx was how it contained an extraordinary range of voices and styles while still maintaining a high standard of artistic craft that managed to speak to a highly diverse audience. While some of the poems, stories, and artwork in this issue didn’t strike me as “read-again” favorites, there was no question in my mind that they were examples of excellent, above average work.
  • Issue Number Volume 28 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
For those of you familiar with the Chattahoochee Review’s twenty-five year publishing history, this probably won’t come as a big surprise; but for me, a newcomer to the magazine, I knew as soon as I read John Stazinski’s heartbreaking short story “Waiting for a Dog to Run,” that the CR had achieved a level of literary sophistication that far outran the rest. I instantly realized I now had a new standard with which to measure my critiques.
  • Issue Number Volume 4 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Cincinnati Review has, in its five years of existence, built a reputation as an outstanding, and beautifully produced, literary magazine. Each issue includes a full-color portfolio of a contemporary artist’s work, as well as three writers’ reviews of a single book, allowing for dialogue between and among the arts.
  • Issue Number Volume 3
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
An ornate frame graces the cover of the Fairy Tale Review, now in its third issue. Inside the frame, a stark grey-and-white etched oval that opens a space in the violet background where a cloaked woman embraces a cloaked child. Both rise from the supine body of a menacing creature – a wolf? – who lies on his back as if dead, but whose open eyes and waving limbs suggest otherwise. “Violet,” editor Kate Bernheimer writes, can be misread as “violent,” and, as the cover image and this mistake-in-waiting suggest, fairy tales traffic in this tension.
  • Issue Number Volume 45 Number 1
  • Published Date February 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quintannual
This issue of the Hollins Critic focuses on Milton Kessler. The front cover features a portrait sketch and an excerpt from his poem “Tiny Flashes Always”: “To sing was the only way through High School and life.” Liz Rosenberg’s essay lauds Kessler as a teacher, a poet, and a human being. He had an eclectic teaching style in which he would ask random questions and make poets post their poems around the room. Although he wrote a lot of poetry, he rarely sent his work out to be published. He also “helped [poets] with their personal lives and health and finances,” so that his actions spoke as loudly as his poetry (4). Rosenberg’s essay celebrates Kessler’s life and poetry, and the two dozen excerpts included make the reader want to read more of Kessler’s work.
  • Issue Number Volume 30 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The Kenyon Review opens with a note from David H. Lynn describing a new project: KR Online. Although the editor mentions that pieces selected for online publication may be different than those selected for the journal, he promises that the “critical judgment and standards will remain intact.” If the online pieces are held to as high standard as those in the journal, readers should check out this new online addition.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
America is the land of reinvention: we love people and institutions that arise, phoenix-like, from the ashes of their old selves, glittering and new. Now New South, a dazzling literary magazine out of Georgia State University, has joined the ranks of Madonna, the U.S. Mint, and other such American institutions. Formerly GSU Review, New South’s inaugural issue features a snazzy red plane flanked by two smaller planes, jetting into a future that looks wide open.
  • Issue Number Issue 59
  • Published Date Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The resilient southern quarterly features essays, poems and journalism on a range of sports, both major and minor (for the latter, see Mike Powell’s essay on dog shows, “the most allegorical sporting event in America”). Some of the themed pieces are amusing but slight, more Sports Illustrated than New Yorker. Others, however, shade into poignant territory.
  • Issue Number Number 8
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
I had high expectations for this special “all-black women’s issue” of PMS. Guest edited by renowned poet Honoree Fanonne Jeffers, this issue featured several mega-literary names like Lucille Clifton, Patricia Spears Jones, Nikki Giovanni, and Edwidge Danticat. As a white woman only vaguely immersed in black women’s writing, I was thrilled and eager to dive in, more than anxious to finally become edified in this wonderful and “sassy” universe.
  • Issue Number Volume 2 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The subtitle for Silk Road is “A journal of writings on place.” In an interview with John Rember, he coins a contemporary definition for place: “Place used to be something that stayed the same, by which you could measure changes in yourself. Now you have to stay the same and watch while place changes. It means that place, if it’s going to exist at all, has to become internal rather than external.” Silk Road’s authors write about different places in the traditional sense – as physical entities – but they also inevitably write about the internal sense of place as well. An excellent example of this duality is in John Rember’s own story, “When a Cold Place Turns Hot”: “Can you ever really know a place if you keep changing?” his narrator asks.
  • Issue Number Volume 9 Number 3
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Tin House is thick – 200 pages – and it contains enough variety and ingenuity to enthrall even the pickiest reader.
  • Issue Number Volume 96 Number 2
  • Published Date April 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Its website identifies The Yale Review as the “Nation’s Oldest Literary Quarterly.” The magazine is august, perhaps, but not stodgy, on the evidence of its most recent issue. The strength of this installment is in its poetry, particularly in the selections from Louise Glück, David Wagoner, and Carl Phillips. Glück’s four poems look at themes of loss, in the personal and natural realms. Her final poem, “Sunrise,” connects both spheres: “I had to see if the fields were still shining, / the sun telling the same lies about how beautiful the world is / when all you need to know of a place is, do people live there. / If they do, you know everything.”
  • Subtitle A Journal of Speculative Fiction
  • Issue Number Issue 15
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
The stories presented in this issue of Zahir challenge the conventions of speculative fiction. Instead of tracking plots inspired by a unique idea or extrapolation of science, the reader is invited to consider the consequences of the hook at the same time as the characters.

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