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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted January 30, 2011

  • Issue Number Volume 8 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
I have always loved the organizing principle of this little journal: thirty-two ways to write (or read) a poem:
  • Issue Number Volume 8 Number 1
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
A snarling wolf graces the front cover of this issue. This jolting art, titled “The Queen/Bitch,” by Jennifer Murray provides an intriguing introduction to the central themes of the issue: loneliness and isolation.
  • Issue Number Volume 15 Issue 2
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2010-2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This fifteenth anniversary issue of The Aurorean, published in Farmington, Maine, celebrates the fall/winter seasons in New England. This issue features poets Jim Brosnan and Martha Christina, and includes a special section of Haiku and “related poetry.”
  • Issue Number Volume 10 Issue 1
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
This journal reads like a road trip. Its rich landscape left me with a lingering sense of journey as I found characters and imagery replaying in my mind like saturated photographs.
  • Issue Number Number 6
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Unaware of any necessary precautions in the handling of “The Contaminated Issue,” I consciously folded back the front cover and crossed my fingers in hoping its pages were not infected with some sort of incurable disease. But it was already too late; the truth is that I was already contaminated; we all are.
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 2
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Marideth Sisco’s essay “You’re Not from Here, Are You?” gives this issue of Elder Mountain its integral sense of place, a right-away taste of the people, culture and world of the Ozarks. Sisco remembers “lying on the porch on summer nights or curled up by the woodstove in winter,” listening to her relatives tell stories. Indeed stories and the people who tell them are the heart of Sisco’s writing and all the varied pieces that follow in this volume.
  • Issue Number Volume 7
  • Published Date 2009
  • Publication Cycle Annual
For this issue, the overall theme can be summed up in T. Allen Culpepper’s poem “My Life Is Not a Very Good Poem,” which starts, “My life seldom rhymes / (or reasons either, for that matter).” The genres in this issue are nicely mixed up in the ordering, and the result is an elegant, ever-changing reading experience.
  • Issue Number Issue 30
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
This lit mag is classier than its somewhat obscene name. The writing generally is clear and of high quality, the website is well laid out, and each story or poem is accompanied by engagingly colorful artwork. There is a certain in-your-face irreverence to many of the stories, but they are also entertaining as a whole. Frigg often presents two or three pieces of flash fiction by the same author – unusual in the universe of online literature today.
  • Issue Number Volume 10 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
This tenth anniversary issue of this journal, dedicated to creative explorations of health and healing, includes more than 120 pages of poetry; nonfiction contributions by 14 essayists; five short stories; and more than a dozen pages of appealing and memorable artwork.
  • Issue Number Volume 14
  • Published Date Spring 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Examining the inside of Lake Effect’s back cover will inform the reader of the journal’s standards. It “publishes [fiction] that emerges from character and language as much as from plot.” Always a fan of the character-driven piece, I was delighted to discover that this standard was adhered to carefully.
  • Issue Number Volume 54 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
The theme for this is “Refrigerator Mothers: ‘Just happening to defrost enough to produce a child’…and other things we said that we wish we could take back,” and I would recommend it to any writer who is a mother or expecting mother. The issue includes short stories and poems from the perspective of mothers and some from the perspective of the writer thinking back on their mother. “A Good Day,” an essay by Jessie van Eerden, is a moving, detailed look at the seemingly ordinary, everyday aspects of her mother that defined her.
  • Issue Number Number 68
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Guest editors Philip F. Deaver (fiction), Nancy McCabe (nonfiction), and Kelly Moffett (poetry) join drama editor, Charlie Schulman, and Louisville Review editor Sena Jeter Naslund to offer up yet another notable issue. From accomplished poets Eleanor Wilner, Stephen Dunn, and Frederick Smock—among many others—to the surprising accomplishments of poems in the “Children’s Corner,” featuring work more polished and successful than one expects from high school students, this is a particularly appealing issue.
  • Issue Number Number 7
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Monkeybicycle’s cover for this issue seduced me with its sleek matte finish of an image of red smoke over a white background. It was a pleasure to just hold the journal, and I couldn’t wait to see under the covers. The interior layout is conventional but easy to read, and I’m very thankful the editors didn’t try to do something fancy with the table of contents; they keep it simple and clean. The real beauty of this issue isn’t the cover or the layout, though. It’s in the stories and poems.
  • Issue Number Volume 76 Number 4
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
“Flight in Word and Deed” is the theme to this issue—transcendence, explains editor Robert Stewart. His introduction is, nonetheless, a defense of the grounded nature of the literary journal as an object, something “weighty” we can hold in our hands. (“As America gets fatter, it seems to want its art to become weightless,” he writes of e-books and cyber publications). He doesn’t need to convince me that the printed page, the bound volume, the variation in texture from the uncoated paper of the pages containing stories and poems to the glossy coated stock of the extraordinary reproductions of paintings by Fabian Debora are worth their weight in pixels, providing a kind of pleasure hard to replicate in digital spheres.
  • Issue Number Volume 16 Number 2
  • Published Date Winter 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Rattle's winter issue features a special section of poetry entitled “Tribute to Mental Health Workers,” which includes poetry on a variety of issues in the field, from Alzheimer’s to therapists to hospital workers. While some poems delve into the grief and sadness of these illnesses, others approach them with hope. Gwenn A. Nusbaum’s poem “Hospital, Spring,” is one such poem, describing a man waiting during his wife’s surgery, while “babies are being born.” This section also includes an interesting article by Maryhelen Snyder, “The Art of Waiting: The Parallels of Poetry and Therapy.”
  • Issue Number Issue 8
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
The cover explains the selections within very well: things are going to get weird. The publication is filled with more questions than answers; each story leaves you in a new locale, and while rereading may make things more understandable, true clarity is never given. The biggest mistake one can make entering these works is assuming that a solution, a character, or a situation will be made explicit. Often one is simply forced to fight imagination with imagination.
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
The cover art of this issue is from Dan Hillier’s collection of altered engravings, four which appear inside the magazine. Hillier’s pictures are odd, collaging the real with the imagined. Many of his engraving show humans with animal features. For example, the engraving on the cover depicts a woman in Victorian dress whose skirts branch out into octopus tentacles. This weirdness seems intentional and thematic for the issue as a whole.
  • Issue Number Volume 64 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
When I read for pleasure I want to be transported to another place: another world, another time, another headspace. But it is a particular treat when I am able to get a fresh perspective on the art of writing and storytelling itself.
  • Issue Number Issue 5
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2010
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
“Animals take center stage in this fifth issue of Wild Apples,” writes Linda Hoffman, the founding editor of the journal. Humans are a part of this issue too, but more precisely the pieces are about how we fit into the animal world—and even how the animal world fits into us. (In some cases, literally; in “The Animals Within Us,” Greg Lowenberg discloses that four hundred species of parasites live in and on us, including our intestinal tracts.) Thus, the interconnection between humans and other creatures becomes the thematic thread that strings together all the pieces in this issue.
  • Issue Number Volume 26 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2010
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
ZYZZYVA, besides having name difficult to pronounce, is a triannual publication out of San Francisco and features only West Coast writers. The name itself refers to tropical American weevils and is the last word in most dictionaries.
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