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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Posted December 16, 2011

  • Issue Number Volume 1
  • Published Date Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Anobium embraces and celebrates the strange and surreal. As a reader, sometimes this works for me and sometimes not. This is the first issue of Anobium, and I think for what they are trying to do, it's a strong start. I liked the design, for one: the journal is pocket-sized, perfect-bound, and features subtle yet effective graphic design by staff artist Jacob van Loon.
  • Issue Number Number 7
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Are you up for a side trip to Bat City? The landscape is compelling and the water’s fine. Compiled and produced by the University of Texas at Austin, the Bat City Review demands, as Editor Caleb Klaces states, “to be read closely.” Jam-packed with wonderfully wrought poetry and provocative prose, this issue is the perfect companion to take along on a weekend trip or for curling up by the fire on a chilly evening.
  • Issue Number Issue 1
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Triannual
On its website, The Coffin Factory states that it “serves as a nexus between readers, writers, and the book publishing industry," with a mission to "provide great literature and art to people who love books, including those who do not usually read literary magazines.” It strikes me that the debut issue upholds this mission.
  • Issue Number Volume 6 Issue 2
  • Published Date Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
I fell in love with this issue of Ecotone at founding editor David Gessner's first mention of John Hay, one of my favorite nature writers. The issue proceeded to draw me in further and further, as I accompanied Poe Ballantine during his down-and-out struggles in Hope, Arkansas; drifted through former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins' dreamy poems; mired myself in Stephanie Soileau's tale of two siblings, each stuck in a different rut; and stared transfixed at Magdalena Solé's color photos of the Mississippi Delta. Next I floated above a poignant slice of childhood from Nancy Hale and stood by Joe Wilkins as he sent boys still short of manhood into a dark bar, following childish desires and finding much more. From there I traced Peter Trachtenberg's enchanting map of his cats' forays into the outside world, saluted Sam Pickering as he said goodbye to teaching, and in the final pages unsettled myself outside a remote cabin spun out of Kevin Wilson's chilling words.
  • Published Date Spring/Summer 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
Epiphany is “committed to publishing literary work in which form is as valued as content.” This emphasis on craft results in a balanced mix of excellent fiction, memoir, and poetry from both new and familiar authors.
  • Issue Number Issue 80
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Co-edited by two sisters, Susan Burmeister-Brown and Linda B. Swanson-Davis, Glimmer Train is a well-regarded magazine containing primarily short-stories. While many of GT's authors have impressive lists of past publications, other writers earn their first publication here. This issue includes stories by Geoff Wyss, Jenny Zhang, Daniel Torday, Evan Kuhlman, Nona Caspers, Olufunke Grace Bankole, Daniel Wallace, and Ken Barris. There is also an interview with Victoria Barrett by Debra Monroe.
  • Issue Number Issue 15
  • Published Date 2010
  • Publication Cycle Annual
Sometimes you need some literary chow. Your brain gets to feeling a bit peckish—in need of a good read. If so, this issue of Hunger Mountain will provide you with a veritable reading buffet. Take care that you don’t stuff yourself too quickly.
  • Issue Number Volume 34 Number 3
  • Published Date Fall 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
In this issue’s featured interview, author Dan Choan says, “A big part of my life has been feeling out of place in one world or another and trying to adjust to that sense of being alien all the time.” Displacement is a central theme in the fall issue of The Missouri Review, and the journal’s diverse settings keep readers moving as well. Most pieces at the beginning of the journal place readers abroad, showcasing the magazine’s attention to current political issues. It is about two-thirds of the way through that the stories take a turn toward cityscapes. (Burt Kimmelman’s urban nonfiction, Peter LaSalle’s NYC story and Kristine Somerville’s essay on graffiti art.) The final piece of fiction situates readers in rural Maine in Stephanie DeGhett’s story “Balsam.” We are constantly moving in this issue, but what ultimately unites all the included pieces is a thoughtfulness and quality of writing that make this issue a humbling, excellent read.
  • Issue Number Volume 199 Number 2
  • Published Date November 2011
  • Publication Cycle Monthly
One is prone to read Poetry expecting not only to find good poems, but also that something will be said about poetry. In this issue, the about reverberates most abundantly in Michael Robbins’s insightful review on three volumes, Clavics by Geoffrey Hills, Moving Day by Ish Klein, and Come and See by Fanny Howe. As Robbins suggests, poetry can be one thing—or that thing’s very contradiction: “where Flarf’s virtue is in its failure to hang together, Klein’s poems exude counterintuitive coherence.” This broad definition seems useful in dealing with a collection of poetry so diverse as in this issue of the journal.
  • Issue Number Volume 96 Number 3
  • Published Date 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Christopher Bakken's skillfully paced essay “Octopus Ear” begins serenely with a dive off the coast of Greece, where he takes students on tours. Before long, though, he's climbing down Mount Olympus in terrible pain from an ear infection, confronting his grief over his wife's mental illness, finding unexpected kindness from a young waitress, and simultaneously laughing and weeping in a gust of what the Greek's call harmolypi—“joyful sadness.” Part observant travel writing, part gripping personal narrative, the essay gets this ninety-six-year-old magazine off to another good start.
  • Issue Number Volume 36 Number 1
  • Published Date Winter/Spring 2011
  • Publication Cycle Biannual
What in the absence of color will staunch
this dreaming, what without fire will cauterize,
clot? Can nothing—not doubt nor distraction
nor sleep nor dopamine—stopper this seeping
  • Published Date June 2011-November 2011
  • Publication Cycle Weekly online
I am not a fan of science fiction, but I decided to check out Strange Horizons, an online publication of speculative fiction, poetry, articles, reviews, and art. The first two stories bored me but the third was engaging, and I was hooked. I read a bunch of them.
  • Issue Number Volume 3 Number 4
  • Published Date July 2011
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly
Part community news bulletin, part travel guide, and part literary magazine, Voices de la Luna drops the reader into the vibrant arts community of San Antonio, Texas. The magazine describes itself as "actively promoting poetry and arts in San Antonio by supporting other literary and arts organizations." Discovering the interdependent community of creative folks represented in Voices de la Luna’s pages makes me want to buy a one-way ticket to this great town.

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