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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted October 6, 2008

  • Issue Number Issue 27
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly online
In Abyss & Apex, the reader is transported to speculative worlds that have an air of the suspense thriller movie or the ideas prevalent in the science fiction genre. Whether it is short fiction, flash fiction, poetry or haiku (or as they call it, the “Short Form Set) you will encounter the mysterious, the strange and the unknown until your curiosity wears out or is satiated and must wait until the next issue.
  • Issue Number Issue 17
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online
The poetry published in the Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal is possibly the most eccentric and intriguing mix of poetic styles ever mingled together in a chemical potluck of creative energy. A fascination with the life of certain creatures and their metaphoric or allegoric relationship to humanity is often at the center of these poetic pieces, as well as some poems that speak specifically or obliquely to the not-so-friendly and explosive reactions that have or can cause the death of millions in this country.
  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
The Colorado Review is one of the most reliably satisfying journals I know, with an editorial vision that is eclectic and generous, but not haphazard – a solid, but never stodgy collection of mature work. Summer 2008 features four short stories (by Kristin Fitzpatrick, Dawna Kemper, Lon Otto, and Kirsten Valdez Quade), all of which “accent the complex spaces between parents and their children,” and one of which, Valdez Quade’s “Den Mother,” is the winner of the 2007-2008 AWP Intro Journals Project, selected by Kwame Dawes. All constitute fine, enjoyable reading. These are competent, traditional stories with characters readers can care about and identify with.
  • Issue Number Number 69
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
I’m not sure what CutBank means but I now know it’s synonymous with great fiction and poetry. A university-based journal, it manages to attract emerging and established writers with serious credentials. Some of its contributors have had work in Tin House and McSweeney’s, two of the best if not the most recognizable literary journals.
  • Issue Number Volume 1 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
A joint US-Israeli effort, The Deronda Review makes use of every available inch of its 8 ½ x 11 pages, covers included, presenting poems written originally in English and poems in English translated from Hebrew by more than 90 poets – as many as four or five poems per page. With this much work gathered in one slender volume, it’s reasonable to expect some unevenness in quality, which is the case here. At the same time, there are a number of lovely, serious, and memorable poems.
  • Issue Number Number 19
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Dirty Goat is an international journal of visual art, poetry and prose that attempts to deliver a healthy bilingual tasting of literature from wide-ranging cultures and nations from the Ukraine to Iran. The pieces in this journal not only speak to the immigrant experience, as epitomized by the journal’s namesake, they also transport us to a place simultaneously otherworldly yet familiar, as if we were home, but it had been slightly altered from the photography of our memories.
  • Issue Number Number 6
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
“It’s very difficult to say peace is an ideal unless you go on to define an ideal as something you can’t possibly have, but can’t possibly help wanting to have. That’d be another way to look at an ideal. And both cases can’t possibly mind you, can’t possibly have, but can’t possibly help wanting to have.” One of this year’s “Fulcrum Features” is a set of 16 essays on “Samuel Beckett as Poet,” so you might think this excerpt is related to Beckett or to one of his contemporaries, in sensibility, if not style. But you’d be wrong! It’s from another Fulcrum Feature altogether, “Robert Frost: Three Unpublished Talks.”
  • Issue Number Number 2
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Hanging Loose, the press which gave Sherman Alexie his start as a poet, opens this volume with two of Alexie’s poems. Alexie, as usual, is simultaneously heartbreaking and hilarious. Quoting a section won’t give him justice. Read these poems, cry (from sadness and laughter), and know that Alexie still recognizes, despite his fame, that good poetry demands attention and vulnerability to the world.
  • Issue Number Number 5
  • Published Date Winter 2007/2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
While Juked is primarily on online literary journal, the editors call for longer submissions of fiction and cull through poetry subs and put together an annual print issue. This issue features the winners of the fiction (Marianne Villanueva) and poetry contests (James Belflower) as well as other selected work. Also included is Kelly Spitzer’s insightful interview with Claudia Smith regarding Smith’s literary struggles and successes.
  • Issue Number Volume 63
  • Published Date Spring 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Sorrow, loss and grief are recurring themes among the solid fiction in this issue of The Louisville Review. In Amy Tudor’s “Mourning Cloak,” a parent mourns the loss of a still-born child. Troy Ehlers’s “The Tide of Night” is a character study of a Vietnam Vet grappling with a traumatic past. Equally sad, Cate McGowan’s “How Can You Title Longing” skillfully weaves poetry and narrative as a shopper at a flea market finds an old book of poems. The story alternates between the present day and yesteryear scenes from the life of the poet.
  • Issue Number Number 5
  • Published Date Spring 2008
This issue celebrates dirty funny, e.g. bathroom humor, disfigurement, internet porn, genitalia, an aborted fetus, sodomy jokes, piercing mishaps, unusual orgasms, Beckett and Whitman; in essence, something for everyone. If you’re not amused by your own gas then you probably won’t laugh at some of these stories. Then again, you may not get what language we speak here on Earth. Guest-editor Eric Spitznagel distinguishes between run-of-the-bowl boring poo jokes and true poo humor: those that float or sink on their literary merit. Ahem.
  • Issue Number Volume 5 Issue 1
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Ninth Letter is a stunning production. Its editors incorporate a full range of visual elements, including photographs, graphics, drawings, and color with (and within) the texts they’ve selected. The results are often singular works of art.
  • Issue Number Issue 36
  • Published Date 2008-2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
In a brief introductory note, editor Maria Mazziotti Gillan reveals that the journal receives 10,000 submissions annually. I wish there were as many people regularly reading and subscribing to these sorts of reviews as there are submitting to them! We are lucky that dedicated editors like Mazziotti Gillan are willing to do the challenging work year in and year out to keep journals like the Paterson Literary Review alive. Selected recently by Library Journal as one of the ten best literary magazines in the country, the review continues to offer readers the best of well-known writers and those “whose work is so fine it should be better known” – a much more apt and respectful phrase than “emerging” or any of the other terms used to define writers whose reputations are not as impressive as their work.
  • Issue Number Number 4
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines “upstreet” as “toward the higher part of a street; as to walk upstreet.” That’s a fitting definition for this up-and-coming journal with a sleek, minimalist design. Coming in at over 230 pages, this issue of Upstreet is jam-packed with quality fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and an interview with Michael Martone.
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