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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted November 20, 2008

  • Issue Number Issue 6
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The “pop flotsam” and “cultural jetsam” captured between the covers of Barrelhouse offers the best of both worlds. The material is literary and meaningful while simultaneously maintaining broad appeal. The “Barrelhouse Editorial Squadron” consists of self-proclaimed “misfits,” and they have found a number of beautiful red-haired stepchildren for this issue.
  • Issue Number Volume 28 Issue 4
  • Published Date July/August 2008
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly
The theme for this issue of The Bloomsbury Review is “Writing the Land,” and its book reviews primarily dwell on nature or regional writers across the United States. The lead review describes two Wallace Stegner biographies – Wallace Stegner and the American West and Wallace Stegner’s Salt Lake City as well as The Collected Letters of William Stegner. Reviewer Tom Wylie compares Stegner’s work to that of Twain, Faulkner, and Steinbeck, and calls him “one of our great American writers.” Wylie blends Stegner’s biography with the review of these new books, resulting in a survey of Stegner both as a man and as a writer.
  • Issue Number Volume 4 Number 1
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The Burnside Review’s CD-case size fits snugly in my purse, a place from where I’ve pulled and read it the last couple weeks, despite the fact the issue is all about LA, and I’m a snobby Portlander. Sid Miller, Burnside Review’s editor, acknowledges the Portlander’s aversion to LA, then shows it’s unfounded – at least literary-wise – by including excellent LA writers and writing.
  • Issue Number Volume 35 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue of College Literature is devoted to essays that examine the intersection between law and literature. The essays make the case that the law often influences literature, but more importantly, that literature can effect change in the law.
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Dogzplot is an amalgam of eclectic and varying styles of literary excellence publishing fiction, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, artwork, opinion pieces, poetry and even photos (which are requested to be works that are not necessarily “good” or polished as polished can be, but works that will “blow our fucking minds”). When you read this journal, you will quickly realize that it is an energetic environment where the humorous and the serious artwork, writing and photography can coexist with the ironic, sardonic and satirical pieces that dominate this daring journal. And you may not know where the bones are buried in this unique universe, but rest assured you are one happy dog.
  • Issue Number Issue 21
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online
Ducts, a self-proclaimed “webzine of personal stories,” lives up to its hype in that the narratives that inhabit its confines smell of truth in one way or the other, especially when it comes to the lives and relationships of its central figures. Whether it is in essay, memoir, fiction, through the lens of its art gallery or in a poem, there is an emotional component that grips and excites.
  • Issue Number Volume 37 Number 2
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
There is a lot of very inventive work in this issue that deserves attention, and I promise not to ignore or overlook it, but bear with me if I must begin with the understated – Aaron Giovannone’s perfect little prose poem:
  • Issue Number Volume 10 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
“I was looking for hope. I was trying to find a durable kind of hope to direct myself toward in order to pull together that broken piece of my life,” says environmental activist and essayist William DeBuys in his interview with Fourth Genre editor Robert Root. I read, always, looking for that durable hope, and I suspect I am not alone, but I am not sure I have ever encountered a more concise or precise description of this yearning. DeBuys is equally astute and humble in efforts here to define the forms and meaning of his own work and of the larger task of documenting the natural world about which he writes.
  • Issue Number Volume 38 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
The best way to describe this issue is rich – there is a simply a lot here to take in: a short play, a graphic short story/essay, a portfolio of poems by international poets (Writers in Residence in the writing program at Iowa), short fiction, poems, reviews, and several short prose pieces that might straddle the literary space between fiction and nonfiction (they are not labeled and might easily be construed as one or the other). Lyn Lifshin’s “April, Paris,” is representative, at least in terms of tone, of much of the work in this issue: “Nothing would be less shall we call it what it is, a cliché / than April in Paris. But this poem got started with some / thing I don’t think I could do but it reminded me of / Aprils and then three magazines came with Paris / on the cover.” The “message,” here too, is not a bad summary of the issue’s overall impact: things probably look more like April in Paris than they actually are, just keep reading and you’ll see what I mean.
  • Issue Number Volume 7
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Under the direction of faculty members Matthea Harvey and Martha Rhodes, talented poets in their own right, students at Sarah Lawrence College produce this terrific journal, now in its seventh year. Current and former Sarah Lawrence teachers, undergraduate and MFA students (Gery Albarelli, Lucy Cottrell, Gillian Cummings, Kathy Curto, Todd Dillard, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Robert Perry Ivey, Marie-Elizabeth Mali, Stuart Spencer, Alexis Sullivan, Tricia Taaca, and Chris Wiley) are joined by an impressive group of poets, nonfiction and fiction writers, and photographers unaffiliated with the college, including Nick Carbó, Denise Duhamel, Eamon Grennan, and Paul Muldoon, among others. Nonfiction contest winner, Seth Raab, whose piece, “Heart Failures” was selected by Mark Singer, makes his first ever appearance in print here. His essay is tender, lovingly constructed, and expertly paced, so let’s hope this is the first of many successes.
  • Issue Number Number 164
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Journalist and filmmaker Tadzio Richards won the magazine’s 2008 Far Horizons Award with “Travels in Beringia,” selected from more than 500 entries and featured in this issue. It’s an odd time, to be sure, to be reading about the “sea frozen with chipped ice” that lies between Siberia and Alaska (which mentioned more in the news media in the US in 2008 than it likely was in the entire century before the last presidential election).
  • Issue Number Volume 193 Number 1
  • Published Date October 2008
  • Publication Cycle Monthly
Often one of the best things about Poetry is the prose, which is the case this month in which letters, essays, and reviews comprise nearly half the issue. Prose contributions include an excerpt from Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence of Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, an essay on reviewing Hart Crane by William Logan, and reviews of new books by Jason Guriel. Logan’s essay is a thoughtful, if mildly self-serving, “response” to critics of a controversial review he wrote for the New York Times last year.
  • Issue Number Number 8
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Annual
After a seven-year break, The Prague Revue is back. The journal, which categorizes itself as “Bohemia’s Journal of International Literature,” is a compact little tome, just right for a bohemian life of travel. And if you’re about to set out on a trip, I certainly recommend you take this issue with you. No matter how long the lines at the airport, you’ll never be bored. Produced under the auspices of the Prague Cultural Foundation in the Czech Republic, the journal presents fiction, essays, poetry, drama, and reviews in English (some written in English, others translated from their original languages) from around the world. This issue features work, including a short play and photographs by writers from the US, China, the Czech Republic, Scotland, Belgium, Ireland, England, and Germany.
  • Issue Number Volume 5 Issue 1
  • Published Date Summer 2008
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
In her introductory note, the editor says she hopes the reader will “find both the wretchedness that makes us human and the grace that will ring.” This “Journal of Literature, Art, and Faith,” the final issue of Rock & Sling, fulfills the editor’s vision through stories and poems of both cruelty and assistance. Some of the pieces are blatantly Christian; other pieces indirectly display the Christian themes of suffering, grace, justice and redemption.
  • Issue Number Volume 58 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
“All I can say is what I do myself, and that is that I don’t think about theory at all. I have no theory of poetry. If something works for a particular poem, it works.” Brendan Galvin in this interview with Thomas Reiter, is honest, approachable, serious, sincere, much like this issue of Shenandoah and like his poems, several of which are included here. Reiter’s own poem, “Signaling,” which appears later in the issue, is a fine example, quiet, deftly composed, sure of itself, but in a vulnerable, human way. These poets are joined by more than a dozen others this issue, along with five short stories, two essays, a portfolio of beautifully composed color photographs by Larry Stene, the journal’s typically superb reviews of new poetry and fiction, and brief remarks in memory of the late George Garrett.
  • Issue Number Volume 10 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2008
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This is the “political issue,” which I am reading just prior to the election, and I am, paradoxically, glad, almost relieved to find the sad ironies (The title page quotes John F. Kennedy, “The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war”), popular truths (the Editor’s Note begins with the old bumper sticker adage, “If you’re not pissed off, you’re not paying attention."), and delighted to find that Tin House is as provocative as ever, especially when we need it most.
  • Issue Number Issue 131
  • Published Date 2008
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
Guest editor Henry S. Bienen’s theme is “the other,” the “real or presumed differences” between us, which he categorizes, by way of partial example, as: race religion, language, country of origin or birth, region, geography, clan, tribe, caste, family, class, social status, income, occupation, age, gender, sexual preference, style of dress, or hairstyle. He has selected nine essays, four stories, the work of three poets, a powerful portfolio of photos by Fazal Sheikh, and additional photos by Jeremiah Ostriker, all of whom convert these categories of identity into work that reflects these definitions’ inadequacy when it comes to knowing the real people and circumstances of which our diverse world is comprised.
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