NewPages.com is news, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.

NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted July 14, 2008

  • Issue Number Volume 25 Numbers 1 & 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of Alaska Quarterly Review is nice and thick and full of great writing. Of the fiction, my favorite story was “B & B” by Celeste Ng, a coming of age tale featuring a main character who suffers from pica, the urge to eat things the rest of us don’t consider food. I will never look at chalk in the same way again. I also enjoyed Shao Wang’s story, “One Voted No,” a melancholy piece about an aging Chinese widow whose life is disrupted when the town must elect a mayor.
  • Issue Number Number 4
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue of Beeswax Magazine, with its red and gray letterpressed cover and “hand-turned metal binding pegs,” is so beautiful I had a hard time opening it. When I finally did, I discovered the inside is just as distinctive as the outside.
  • Issue Number Volume 20
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
With a splendid cornucopia of colors and textures on the large, glossy front cover, and many gorgeous full pages of voluptuous art and photography within, The Briar Cliff Review could be a splendid coffee-table book. However, with the quality literature inside, it proves it is something more. The art is spectacular – twenty-two works from oil or acrylic to graphite, sculpture, even archival inkjet. Thirteen photographs are equally spectacular and eclectic – the issue is a feast for the eyes.
  • Issue Number Volume 2
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Broken Bridge Review sports a three-piece painting as cover art: three gorgeous blue-green panels titled “World View Trip-Tik” by Jessica Hathaway Scriver, painted on top of world maps. The editors chose to make this painting the inspiration for this issue, and included a substantial amount of material that is in some way connected to the political sphere.
  • Issue Number Issue 3
  • Published Date Winter 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Brooklyn-based Cannibal by the editorial duo Katy & Matthew Henriksen is a poetry journal in the manner of sharp sincerity – sharp in its well-rounded and striking poem selections and sincere in its physical construction. With a textural screen-printed cover in copper ink, copy-job striations and sewn binding, the journal has the look and feel of a gift hand made for you by your no-frills but talented friend. The journal’s seven signatures handbound to the spine capture in their physicality the overall theme of the work: poems in parts.
  • Issue Number Number 19
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Conduit: subtitled, “Last Laugh,” “Black Humor in Deadpan Alley,” “Words & Visions for Minds on Fire,” is just what these phrases suggest. This tall, narrow issue with a gold skull and crossbones printed on the black cover definitely sports a sense of humor, and strives to be different. Instead of having numbered pages, it has alphabetized words on the lower corners of pages, such as, “antics, balderdash, banter, barb….”all the way to “wag, whoopee cushion, wiseacre, x-ray specs, zany.”
  • Issue Number Number 34
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Issue 34 of Creative Nonfiction is all about baseball. I have to admit, I’m a bigger fan of baseball writing than I am of the actual game, and this magazine does not disappoint. The essays cover many aspects of the game: its history, fandom, positions and paraphernalia. They include heavily researched articles and deeply personal memoirs, but all the essays reveal something fascinating about the game.
  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Though not planned as a themed issue, Editor Michael W. Pollock claims “Dysfunction” took hold in tying this collection together. Admittedly, the theme didn’t stick with me, as I found each work unique in its own right, the strength of this journal being the variety of the prose selections.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Issue 2
  • Published Date Winter 2007
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Forge is a short, one hundred-plus-page journal, small in size but not in impact. It chose as its cover theme “little people opening things.” The picture on the pale, yellow, glossy cover depicts black stick-like figures pushing open two huge doors that dwarf the little anonymous people, making a 1984-esque look. Forge is actually quite whimsical in places, very modern in its approach and material, and frequently rather dark.
  • Issue Number Volume 62 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
From the essays to the poetry and fiction, war and 9/11 are recurrent themes in this issue of The Georgia Review. The essays – by Ihad Hassan, Reg Saner and Elizabeth Dodd – all examine current and past world crises, from fundamentalism in literature to a reminiscence by a Korean War vet. In Dodd’s essay, she meets an Iraqi poet who wrestles with disturbing images of war and suffering.
  • Issue Number Volume 21 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
When I tried to think of an adjective to describe this issue of The Gettysburg Review, the closest that came to mind was eclectic. No prevailing theme or esthetic tied together these wonderful essays, stories and poems.
  • Issue Number Issue 42
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This issue of Hayden’s Ferry Review is themed “The Grotesque.” It lives up to the name, especially the photographs which include strange human bodies, a bird turned inside-out, and a dog with recent knee surgery.
  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
An image of a ferocious bear wielding a handsaw at a precise 45-degree angle over a two-by-four greets the reader after opening the handsomely letterpressed cover of The Lumberyard: A magazine for poetry and design. Though slim at thirty-two pages, the magazine is otherwise stuffed with a visual array of black and white cropped text and found art in a copy-job, cut-and-paste style. The layout, with varying font sizes within pages and poems, has the jostled effect of ‘90s television dramas shot by hand-held cams, which may be distracting for some or a fresh sight for others looking for an irreverently-styled magazine.
  • Issue Number Volume 2
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
In these days when literary journals have mainly free verse poetry, Measure: An Annual Review of Formal Poetry is a refreshing contrast. This second issue contains over two hundred pages of formal poems, from Catullus and Horace to Seamus Heaney and Richard Wilbur, as well as many lesser-known poets.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
To launch their inaugural issue of Memoir, a literary magazine devoted to prose, poetry, graphics, and more, the co-editors, Joan E. Chapman and Candida Lawrence, write competing columns on the definition of memoir. Chapman brings a postmodern reading lens to the genre, delighting in the shifting self and the instability of memory, while Lawrence focuses on a good story carried by a strong voice. Taken together their viewpoints create a solid definition of the complex genre and provide the perfect starting point for a magazine devoted solely to memoir in all its forms.
  • Issue Number Volume 15
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
“Art & Poetry” reads the cover of Mudfish 15, with an impressionistic watercolor of a man treading water in a swimming pool; on the back is a watercolor of trees, a blue mountain, purple fields, a pink sky, all conveyed beautifully by Paul Wuenshe with a few deft brush strokes. Also deft are the poems inside, which can be as short as three lines, or a paragraph or two; many contained in a single page, some several pages.
  • Issue Number Volume 46 Number 2
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
This issue of Northwest Review features “essays, fiction, and poetry on aneurysms, arrhythmia, adolescence and other afflictions.” What caught my eye – and stoked my envy as a writer – was the excellent fiction.
  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Most of PEN America reads less like a traditional literary journal and more like the transcript of conversations with authors, which makes sense, since much of the writing comes from PEN’s annual World Voice festivals. The unique format allows for interviews, conversations formed around a theme, and short remarks, as well as the traditional poetry, fiction, and essays. Of the various forms, the interviews and conversations stood out the most to me.
  • Issue Number Volume 2 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Midwest African American Literature may seem to set a narrow focus for this publication, but in Reverie, writing to or of the socio-cultural African American experience runs like an undercurrent throughout the broad expanse of the literature. That its authors need only be somehow related to the Midwest does not limit the content, but rather helps to further create a sense of unity and connection.
  • Issue Number Volume 3
  • Published Date 2007
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The Tusculum Review is two hundred pages of a bit of everything – all wrapped up in a glossy purple cover. Ordinary? Not even close. “New voices” – that’s what the editors tell us it is about. It contains fresh, exciting material – like a one-act play with only one character living out a “wide awake nightmare,” titled “Gone” by Roy Sorrels. It’s ingenious, compact, and a delightful mini-nightmare to read.
  • Issue Number Volume 82 Number 4
  • Published Date July/August 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
“Literature Goes Green” is the theme of this issue of WLT, with Laird Christensen’s essay, “Writing Home in a Global Age,” setting a pivotal tone. In it, he comments on the contemporary writer’s focus on local place when there are many more global issues at hand that need our attention. Bill McKibben, for example, has gone local while the rest of us are just now ‘getting it’ – the alarm of global concern he sounded two decades ago in his book The End of Nature. Christensen argues that this more microscopic shift is necessary, brought on by our own “voluntary placelessness in removing ourselves from the land and how we see the bioregion in which we live.” This lack of connection to place has allowed us to treat that which sustains us so poorly. With no sense of place, we have no sense of responsibility. Yet, this local literature is often treated as second-rate. Christensen counters this attitude: “The bulk of place-based writing, no matter how local, deals in universals, for we are all in desperate need of examples that show us how to belong.” This essay, as well as the whole issue, would be a powerful addition to any curriculum that includes nature, environmental, or place-based writing.
newpages-footer-logo

We welcome any/all Feedback.