NewPages.com is news, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.

NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Honest critiques of new and established literary magazines

Posted August 15, 2017

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 17 Number 1
  • Published Date 2017
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

Published out of Southeast Missouri State University Press, Big Muddy showcases works and authors “related to the Mississippi River basin and its bordering ten-state area.” While that might at first seem limited, there is no sense of that limitation in reading this publication. On the contrary, the genre styles, subject matter, and author backgrounds are so broad, “big” is even an understatement. More like its river’s namesake, this Big Muddy meanders, rages, roils, and gently laps through the gamut of literary creative expression.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 29
  • Published Date 2017
  • Publication Cycle Annual

The Briar Cliff Review, a publication of Briar Cliff University in Sioux City Iowa, has published its 29th issue, and for 29 years it has held to its mission “to discover and support new and mid-career writers and artists, to keep literature and art alive for future generations.” This it has done in a beautiful issue of art, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that serves readers finely-crafted portions of each genre. The annual publication is worth the wait.

  • Subtitle Readings in Russia
  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 10 Issue 2
  • Published Date Spring 2017
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

Chtenia is a unique publication that focuses on translating, sharing, and re-discovering Russian literature, both classic and modern. Each issue has a special theme and Volume 10 Issue 2 focuses on happiness. It contains a variety of pieces, including plays, poems, short stories, and chapters of books, each one circling around the theme of happiness.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Issue 198
  • Published Date Winter 2017
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

With prosy poems and poetic prose, Cimarron Review provides fodder for intelligent readers. Founded in 1967 and a member of CLMP, the magazine regularly nominates its writers to “notable contests.” The Winter 2017 issue is a clean, slim volume, the pages almost square and formatted with a lot of white space so the reader can breeze through. Of the 25 writers, 14 are male, and a different 14 had published one or more books, while 8 were either MFA graduates without publications, or had published in fairly-unknown magazines.

  • Image Image
  • Published Date Spring 2017
  • Publication Cycle Triannual

An online journal devoted to brevity and where genre isn’t important. The work that appears in concīs shows up first on the homepage and then is later compiled into a seasonal issue. One thing is for certain: concīs proves that length matters not when it comes to quality and the Spring 2017 seasonal issue bears this out.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 4 Number 3
  • Published Date Summer 2017
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

Some of my favorite literary magazines are those that introduce and connect me to artists and writers I was unfamiliar with prior to reading. While it’s definitely nice to read work by favorites, I am always open to finding something new. The latest issue of Driftwood Press accomplishes this twofold. First, it introduced me to a cover artist I was unfamiliar with. Second, it connected me to writers, each piece accompanied by an interview with its creator.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Issue 12
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly online

In their "about us" section, elsewhere says it cares "only about the line/no line. We want short prose works (flash fiction, prose poetry, nonfiction) that cross, blur, and/or mutilate genre.” And, true to their word, that's exactly what the work in the latest issue achieves. Filled with evocative language and eerie imagery, the pieces here straddle the lines between prose poetry and flash fiction, sometimes almost seamlessly.

  • Image Image
  • Published Date 2017
  • Publication Cycle Rolling

Fiction Southeast has a tagline that reads, “An online journal dedicated to short fiction.” The dedication is readily apparent with one look at their site; there are loads of stories stacked as far down as you can scroll. Short fiction almost literally as far as the eye can see! The more recent fiction pieces have a lot to offer in terms of subject matter and character.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Issue 4
  • Published Date June 2017 online
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

Foundry online poetry journal is true to its name in that it ​​views poems as “manufactured objects—the intangible cast into forms.” But unlike the foundries of yore, Foundry magazine is a great deal more flexible in its production, supporting an array of poetic forms and styles. In fact, in searching for a singular descriptor for the type of poetry readers can expect to find here, it was not possible. The editors encourage poems that “feel as much as they think,” and that’s probably the best descriptor I could imagine to draw readers in.

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 30 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer 2017
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

A mystical melancholy permeates the summer issue of The Gettysburg Review. In fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, writers have tapped into the underground spring of emotion and pulled up some of the ambivalent detritus that accompanies life. This is not to say that the themes in the works included in this issue are dismal; there is a life-affirming quality in acknowledging human emotion in literary texts where strength can be summoned in what may seem like weakness but is more resolute and evolutionary.

  • Image Image
  • Published Date June 2017
  • Publication Cycle Bimonthly online

There’s that famous line in Forrest Gump that many people (even people who haven’t seen the film) will know: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” That’s honestly what went on in my mind while reading through the latest issue of Literary Juice. The most current issue has four poems, one fiction piece, and one super-micro story comprised of only 25 words (which is a neat concept unto itself) under a heading labeled “Pulp.”

  • Image Image
  • Issue Number Volume 19
  • Published Date 2017
  • Publication Cycle Annual

With no offense to anyone, it is refreshing to review a multi-genre collection coming from outside a university. That doesn’t make the contributors any better or worse from either source, but it does provide an added perspective. As a group, the contributors to Mudfish 19, are not aspiring student writers; they are practiced artists providing us with practiced skills that encourage thoughtful reading and reflection. The independence of a private press also gives us a much larger selection of authors, painters, and photographers than we can hope for in any one issue of a university press.

newpages-footer-logo

We welcome any/all Feedback.