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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted October 15, 2010

  • Issue Number Volume 38 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
A simple, rustic cover – white, the title of the magazine in black, bold font, and a picture of a tilled field, wild tiger lilies framing the pastoral scene. The opening photograph, by Ann W. Olson, like the front cover, is of dilapidated stone steps running up a hill, framed by buttercups. The juxtaposition of decay with new life can be seen in many of Olson’s photographs, throughout the issue.
  • Issue Number Volume 13 Issue 3
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
After bracing myself for reviewing journals whose explorations of daily life tended to the abstract, it was high time to read prose and poetry from writers who didn't emulate Kafka when writing about work, bureaucracy, and class. Blue Collar Review's Spring edition serves it up straight – no-nonsense formatting, clear print, solid storytelling over pyrotechnics.
  • Issue Number Volume 9
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
I was considering giving up this reviewing gig, finding myself a bit weary having written several hundred mag reviews over the last few years. But then this issue of Center landed in my lap and I shudder to think at what I would miss! With its “Symposium: Place in Nonfiction,” this is one terrific issue. One personal essay on a place of sorts (gardens) and 10 short essays for the Symposium, are accompanied by the work of 20 poets (in which, unannounced as part of the place focus, place figures largely in nearly every one), three stories (place again in every one!), and a very, very good “conversation” with Croatian poet Tomaz Salamun, an interview of greater depth than many I’ve encountered that focus narrowly on writing techniques and related topics of limited interest.
  • Issue Number Volume 55 Number 2
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
This is a terrific issue of the Chicago Review featuring new translations of work by Stephane Mallarmé by Peter Manson, a long poem by British poet Simon Jarvis, a wonderful essay by poet and critic Stephen Burt on the usefulness and uses (read: need) for non-academic literary criticism and reviews (like this one!), three fine pieces of nonfiction writing (not a personal essay among them), a number of worthwhile poems, book reviews, and three solid short stories.
  • Issue Number Volume 44 Number 4
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
“For a long time we looked at the world and thought not,” begins Suzanne Buffam’s (nonfiction?) story “Trying.” This exceptionally good issue of Denver Quarterly is not merely trying, it succeeds, as does Buffam’s highly original piece on trying to conceive a child, part personal story – part musing on history and biology. Perhaps it does not matter that I do not know if the three prose pieces included among the work of nearly three-dozen poets and an interview with Dawn Lundy Martin, whose newest poetry collection will soon be released, are fiction or nonfiction.
  • Published Date September 30, 2010
  • Publication Cycle Daily online
This is an unusual online journal. Its founder and editor, Andrei Codrescu, can be found opining periodically on National Public Radio, and the journal reflects his attitudes and opinions.
  • Issue Number Issue 71
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Issue number 71 is a slender volume of poems that act as a slice of American life, with a focus on entertainment. Since entertainment is such a heavy influence in American culture, it seemed fitting, though sometimes oddly juxtaposed to the poems that focus more on rural life in America and to the cover image, the letter and photograph of a Civil War Soldier.
  • Issue Number Number 25
  • Published Date May 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Upon finding Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet on the review list, there was but one response I could make – SQUEE!!!
  • Issue Number Number 171
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This issue of one of the very best journals published in North America features the magazine’s novella prize-winner “Brains,” by Tony Tulathimutte, the work of 16 poets, an essay by Jessica Kluthe, and a number of smart book reviews.
  • Issue Number Volume 51 Number 4
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Published at Pittsburg State University in the other Pittsburg (Kansas), Midwest Quarterly publishes poetry and scholarly articles intended to be “interesting and readable.”
  • Issue Number Volume 33 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
One of the most unusual aspects of The Missouri Review is the treatment of poetry, the presentation of a group of poems (6-7) by a small number of poets, rather than a single poem by dozens of writers. This issue features the work of John W. Evans, Benjamin S. Grossberg, and Jonathan Johnson. Their selections are preceded by a personal statement, a photo, and longer-than-typical-for-literary-mag bios.
  • Issue Number Volume 60 Numbers 1-2
  • Published Date Spring/Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
This issue is a tribute to Flannery O’Connor. Eleven essays are accompanied by the work of 11 short story writers, more than a dozen poets, 7 visual artists, a book review, and a series of O’Connor’s letters in their original forms. Photographs by Kathleen Gerard of O’Connor’s residence, Andalusia, are marvelous with their intricate shadows and acute sense of place. I had never really wanted to visit this site until I saw these photos.
  • Issue Number Volume 12 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Tin House Editor Rob Spillman’s announcement that until 2011 unsolicited submissions will not be considered unless they are accompanied by a receipt for the recent purchase of a new book or literary magazine seems both in keeping with – and in some ways contrary to – the needs, concerns, issues, perspectives, realities, and experiences that surface in the poems, stories, essays, and interview that extrapolate on this issue’s theme, “Class in America.”
  • Issue Number Volume 45 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Published quarterly by the Western Literature Association at Utah State University, Western American Literature is a small scholarly journal with critical articles on “any aspect of literature of the American West,” book reviews, and artwork (reproduced in black and white) related to the region. This issue is comprised of three essays, Katie O. Arosteguy’s deconstruction of the myth of the cowboy in Annie Proulx’s Wyoming Stories; Kirsten Mollegaard’s analysis of Louis Sachar’s Holes; “Down the Santa Fe Trail to the City Upon a Hill,” by Andrew Menard, a consideration of the city of Santa Fe in American literature; 18 short reviews of works of criticism, fiction, and creative nonfiction; and paintings, photographs, and drawings by 9 artists.
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