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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Honest critiques of new and established literary magazines

Posted October 17, 2017

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  • Issue Number Volume 12 Number 2
  • Published Date Fall 2017
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online

Looking at the cover of the Fall 2017 issue of Apple Valley Review, I had the chills. A photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli of a town corner in winter, sun setting, and ice lining the road greets readers at the Apple Valley Review website, foreshadowing the Michigan winter waiting for me around the corner.

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  • Issue Number Issue 2
  • Published Date Spring 2017
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

The second issue of The Arkansas International contains an impressive range of eclectic writing. But what caught my eye first was the collection of six-panel comics excerpt from the Notes Mésopotamiennes by French comic book writer François Ayroles, translated by Edward Gauvin.

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  • Issue Number Issue 56
  • Published Date September 2017
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online

Celebrating their 20th anniversary, Brevity is a staple in both concise writing, and skillful nonfiction. An assignment in my first creative nonfiction class years ago was to browse the online journal’s website and pick out pieces we admired, and since then, Brevity is a magazine I revisit often, knowing I will never be disappointed by what I find there. As one might expect out of an anniversary issue, the September 2017 edition contains masterful nonfiction, exemplary of the quality work readers have come to expect.

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  • Issue Number Issue 32
  • Published Date 2017
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

Post Road Number 32 is a complex mix of storytelling that bobs and weaves, delights, and, in some moments, disappoints. The cover piece, a bland, semi-abstract digital drawing by Henry Samelson, is one such low moment, contrasted, incredibly, by the remarkable work of Charles McGill, which sits just inside the issue, seventeen pages away. McGill, who repurposes vintage golf bags to critique class inequality and racial injustice, exhibits a powerful aesthetic that would have made for a much stronger point of entry.

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  • Issue Number Volume 11 Number 2
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2017
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

When is a treat too rich? The Summer/Fall 2017 issue of The Southampton Review is an overwhelming collection of multi-genre pieces, and it is definitely no exaggeration that it is hard to find a starting point. This tenth anniversary edition is a fine tribute to the vision and efforts of its editors.

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  • Issue Number Volume 19 Number 1
  • Published Date Fall 2017
  • Publication Cycle Quarterly

Volume 19 Number 1 is the “True Crime” issue of Tin House, designed, according to Editor Rob Spillman, “as a way to engage our country’s voyeuristic obsession with rogues and outlaws.” While vintage scraps of American morbidity do feature in this issue—the Starkweather murders, the Kansas village made famous by Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood—social justice and the criminal state share equal billing. In the latter poems and stories, black and brown lives are pulled apart by oppressive forces emboldened by a complicit public. The gateway to the issue, Sean Lewis’s portrait of record producer Phil Spector, is dark and almost whimsical, a perfect point of entry. Lewis replaces Spector’s head with tangled tape, evoking a wig worn at his trial, as well as the “confused mind” that would lead him to murder actress Lana Clarkson in 2003. 

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  • Issue Number Issue 152
  • Published Date Summer/Fall 2017
  • Publication Cycle Triannual online

TriQuarterly’s Summer/Fall 2017 issue is rife with writing of a high literary caliber. The pieces in this issue are all exciting in their own way, and I found myself quite taken by a number of them. Many of the fiction pieces in this issue are stellar. Though the stories range in style from straight-up literary realism to magical realism with a touch of the surreal, the one thing they share in common is a strong emotional core.

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