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NewPages Lit Mag Reviews

Honest critiques of new and established literary magazines

Posted May 15, 2018

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  • Published Date Winter 2017/18
  • Publication Cycle Annual

Under the seemingly plain cover of the Winter 2017/18 issue of Barrow Street, featuring a black and white photograph of one of the New York streets, I have found complex colors of poetry seeping through the pages. Barrow Street publishes both “new and established poets writing in a wide variety of styles” offering something captivating for any picky reader.

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  • Issue Number Number 26
  • Published Date Spring 2018
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

Unlike the vast majority of literary and popular magazines, Copper Nickel does not greet their readers with an editor’s note outlining the materials of the issue. They do not offer a lens for readers to examine featured pieces. And why should they? The featured works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and translation folios speak for themselves; they do not require an approach or an explanation. What the editors do achieve, however, is to provide the magazine’s readers with the freedom to imagine and interpret authors’ works without any imposed limitations. Plus, let’s be honest, no one buys magazines for their editor’s notes; we buy them for art, and in the Spring 2018 issue, art speaks for itself.

  • Subtitle The Craft Issue
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  • Issue Number Number 24
  • Published Date Fall/Winter 2017
  • Publication Cycle Biannual online

For an issue on craft, let’s start at the end where it all comes together. Ecotone, a journal of place, concludes with contributors offering a single sentence on what craft means to them. Contributor Emily Larned says, “Craft shows us how to live: deliberately, conscientiously, mindfully, and as well as we possibly can.” Ecotone publishes authors and artists whose words are deliberate, whose language and choices are mindful and precise in communication.

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  • Issue Number Issue 12
  • Published Date Winter 2018
  • Publication Cycle Annual online

I started reading the latest issue of MAYDAY on May 1, of all days, so as I clicked through the poetry, prose, translations, and art in the Winter 2018 issue, my mind kept going back and forth between distress signals and a day of springtime celebration. While the pieces I gravitated to seemed to have more of that distressed feeling about them, one can also find moments of hope and celebration.

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  • Issue Number Volume 8 Number 78
  • Published Date Winter 2017
  • Publication Cycle Triannual

The Winter 2017 issue of subTerrain provides a change of perspective through its Canadian west coast view of fiction, poetry, commentary, art, and book reviews. The subtitle, “Strong Words for a Polite Nation,” piques the reader’s interest, but it may depend on where the reader is sitting. As a Michigander, I can vouch for the politeness of our Canadian neighbors. And, yes, some of this most recent issue will offend some readers, but aside from an opinion writer who believes four-letter words add shock value, there is only a poetry collection that might take someone aback.

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  • Issue Number Issue 81
  • Published Date Spring 2018
  • Publication Cycle Biannual

Aqua, white, and yellow, the cover of Willow Springs 81 is built around Chris Bovey’s silkscreened “Garbage Goat,” a tribute to a local Spokane bovidae. The colors, the image, the typography itself evince freshness, a liveliness that portends well for the content within. Published twice yearly, Willow Springs is funded in part by the MFA program at Eastern Washington University, though its contributors come from all over the country.


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