Literary Magazine Reviews

Monthly reviews of print, online, and digital literary magazines.

Posted July 15, 2014

 

American Short Fiction CoverAmerican Short Fiction

Volume 17 Issue 57

Spring 2014

Quarterly

Review by Justin Brouckaert

Though this issue of American Short Fiction isn’t overtly themed, Editors Rebecca Markovits and Adeena Reitberger note that they had already selected the stories when they realized “four of the five were about work, the daily grind or the vocation, the answer to what William Carlos Williams called ‘the typical American question’: What do you do?” This does indeed serve as a nice framework for the five pieces of short fiction that make up the issue...
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Avatar Review CoverAvatar Review

Issue 16

Summer 2014

Annual [o]

Review by Kirsten McIlvenna

Avatar Review, an online annual, “seeks to display the highest quality of writing,” as all do. And while I cannot claim that what is published in this issue is the cream of the crop, there is plenty worth consideration and worthy of merit, including poetry, prose, art, and reviews. Britt Melewski’s “On the Overnight” came with an audio recording of him reading his poem, which enhanced the feeling of the overall poem, especially his last few lines: “saying, ‘remember the absolute worst of times, / remember the fish, the fish, the fish...
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The Common CoverThe Common

Number 7

April 2014

Triannual

Review by Sherra Wong

An understated sophistication distinguishes The Common. At only its seventh issue, it has the tone of one who is confident of its place in the world. Many times, I paused in my reading to savor the ingenuity of a conceit or turn of phrase, but I never felt as if anyone represented in this issue was trying too hard to impress. They don’t have to: firmly in control of their craft, they steer the reader to exactly where they want her to go…
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Devil's Lake CoverDevil’s Lake

Spring 2014

Biannual [o]

Review by Kirsten McIlvenna

Published at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Devil’s Lake offers a sampling of poetry, fiction, and visual art twice a year. I spent a great deal of time on Matt Morton’s “Spring Bulletin,” and although I don’t think I’ve unlocked all the keys to the poem, I lingered on each moment, trying to take it all in. Written in the second-person point of view, it causes me to be hesitant moving through the poem as I read the lines, “Something / vaguely unsettling about the quality of air. / Something about the humidity…
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Frogpond CoverFrogpond

Volume 37 Number 1

Winter 2014

Triannual

Review by Denise Hill

Frogpond is the subscription/membership publication of the Haiku Society of America, and for anybody the least bit into haiku or who would like to learn about haiku and the many forms of traditional Japanese poetry and modernized versions of it, this is one of THE publications to be reading. Frogpond regularly publishes haiku, senryu, haibun, rengay (and other short sequential forms), renku (and other long sequence forms), essays, and book reviews. Each issues begins with…
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Gulf Coast CoverGulf Coast

A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts

Volume 26 Number 2

Summer/Fall 2014

Biannual

Review by Sarah Gorman

The University of Houston’s Department of English publishes Gulf Coast, a literary journal started by Donald Barthelme and Philip Lopate in 1982, under the Texas-worthy name Domestic Crude. The current name was adopted in 1986; in 2013 the magazine merged with the Texas art journal Art Lies and began to publish writings about art in each issue, as well as the visual art which has always appeared. The list of distinguished contributors to this issue originates far beyond Houston and Texas…
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Heavy Feather Review CoverHeavy Feather Review

Volume 3 Issue 3

April 2014

Quarterly

Review by Travis Laurence Naught

This issue had a lot going on in it, and I am quite frankly left feeling run through the ringer. A full-length chapbook by Colin Winnette, titled “Follow Through,” was stuck right in the middle of this issue! It was intriguing work comprised of short, paragraph style prose poetry, but it completely distracted me from trying to understand the issue as its own piece of work. (I found out, after researching the press, this chapbook placement is a common practice with Heavy Feather Review
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The Iowa Review CoverThe Iowa Review

Volume 44 Number 1

Spring 2014

Triannual

Review by Justin Brouckaert

Iowa is often considered a fabled place in the world of American letters, and The Iowa Review lives up to the expectations that such a powerful name bestows. The journal has been publishing some of the country’s finest authors since 1970, and in 2014 it’s still incredibly strong. This issue, the first with Editor Harilaos Stecopoulos at the helm, includes poetry, fiction, essays, and artwork, all consistent with the journal’s previous issues. The issue also includes two interviews and two reviews…
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The Labletter CoverThe Labletter

Number 16

2014

Annual

Review by Julie J. Nichols

The Labletter “has its roots in the Oregon Lab, the name given to a group of artists and their annual gathering.” The magazine began as a way for these artists to stay in contact and share work, and in 2008 it went public—a move fortunate for audiences who care about sophistication, quality, and commitment to art. In this issue, you’ll find generously-reproduced art, from the front cover inward; exquisite short stories; three beautifully-crafted essays, on collage, theater, and clogging…
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Poet Lore CoverPoet Lore

Volume 109 Numbers 1 & 2

Spring/Summer 2014

Biannual

Review by Travis Laurence Naught

This was the first issue of Poet Lore I have ever read, and it will not be the last! Well over 100 pages of outstanding poems, poetic history, interviews, and reviews made this more than just another issue to review; they turned it into an outright gripping read. While most of the works were brief (under one printed page), large-scale themes of loss and death are woven throughout. The editors did an outstanding job of finding beautiful poems that also highlighted positive moments…
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Pretty Owl Poetry ScreenshotPretty Owl Poetry

Issue 2

Summer 2014

Quarterly [o]

Review by Kirsten McIlvenna

Pretty Owl Poetry is a brand new online quarterly that publishes poetry and, in opposition to the title of the journal, flash fiction. The poetry is very accessible, not overly complicated or using fancy language. Take, for example, Clare Welsh’s “Almost Exorcism,” a poem broken into three pieces about children’s reaction to a lump “on the ribs of a dog.” The first part have the children imagining it as a second heart…
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River Teeth CoverRiver Teeth

Volume 15 Number 2

Spring 2014

Biannual

Review by Elaine Fowler Palencia

The editors of River Teeth are candid about their selection process. About half of what they publish comes from unsolicited submissions. The rest may come from authors whose work they’ve heard at conferences, online or regional publications, commissioned work, or from friends, acquaintances, and the editors themselves. “We know all this sounds more than a little intuitive,” writes the editor, “even presumptuous, and quite a bit less than arm’s length. That’s the nature of love, we guess…
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Southern Women's Review CoverSouthern Women’s Review

Volume 7 Issue 7

2014

Annual [o]

Review by Kirsten McIlvenna

This issue of Southern Women’s Review has a “Bust” theme and is full and broad in exciting and enriching literature including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Irene Latham’s “Flight Pattern” uses a play on words relating to flight (tarmac, runway, land) to emphasize the final lines: "My love, // how many times / must you circle // when I would / have you land?" Kathleen Brewin Lewis uses the image of a hummingbird to show the speed of life, and how we are moving so fast through it that we cannot…
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Under the Gum Tree CoverUnder the Gum Tree

July 2014

Quarterly [e-pub]

Review by Kirsten McIlvenna

The stories in Under the Gum Tree feel very authentic; it is easy to identify with the characters and narrators. In Chelsea Schott’s “The Frederick Boy,” I was transported back to being a teenage girl, that feeling that your crush is the whole world, the terror of a disapproving parent, going over the day’s events again and again in your mind. It begins: "I try not to think of that day last summer on the back of John's motorcycle—knowing if I think about it too much, if I let myself wander…
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