The NewPages
Literary Magazine Reviews

Posted Feb 28, 2004

Pleiades

Volume24 Number1

2004

Perhaps I’m just slow, but apparently Missouri, a state I know nearly nothing about, is where good writing, if not comes from, then at least is published. We all know the Missouri Review is the [insert whatever glowing adjective you’d like here] literary magazine in the world, but Pleiades, published in Warrensburg, Missouri, is a close close second. First, in this particular issue with the sort of creepy looking guy on the cover (“I’d Like to Discuss the Henderson Report,” Oil on Wood by Andrew Pope, 2001), hpizats must be lifted to Rob Johnson’s “Fucking Great Lit 101,” perhaps the only essay I’ve read that doesn’t pander to the powderier side of lit crit and cuts to the sweaty obscenities good work inevitably yanks from the reader. Though this is something of a sinisterly simple way out, I’d be damn hard pressed to name my second favorite piece in the magazine. Katherine Vaz’s “Our Lady of the Artichokes,” Keri Webster’s “Under Wanting,” the brilliant G. C. Waldrep; put me in any sort of uncomfortable position (back of a Volkswagen, anyone?) before making me pick what shines brightest. [Pleides, Department of English, Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, MO 64093. E-mail: kdp8106@cmsu2.cmsu.edu. Single issue$10. http://www.cmsu.edu/englphil/pleiades/] - WC

 

Glimmer Train

Issue 49

Winter 2003

If the measure of a great record is the ability to play it straight through without skipping a track, the same rule can be applied to lit mags. Even the most highly-regarded among them are spotty, at times, best when read non-linearly, piecemeal. Not so with Glimmer Train, one of the most consistently edited journals out there. Story after story, the writing is both engaging and intelligent, tempting the reader to tuck in tight and keep the light on for one more piece. If pressed to name them, I’d declare the standouts of this issue to be Brad Barkley’s “Those Imagined Lives,” and Lydia E. Copeland’s “Theodore and Nan.” The former, a quirky tale concerning the elusiveness of Happy-Ever-After, is true to life while remaining thoroughly unique. The latter, winner of the Short Story Award for New Writers, is unabashedly written—you can sense the author’s joy for her art in every paragraph. Glimmer Train #49 is dedicated to the newly-late George Plimpton, and it’s safe to say that it does due justice to a once-magnificent man of letters. [Glimmer Train, 1211 NW Glisan Street, Suite 207, Portland, Oregon 97209-3054. E-mail: eds@glimmertrain.com. Single issue $11. http://www.glimmertrain.com/] - SRP

 

Flyway

Volume 8 Numbers 1 & 2

Spring/Fall 2003

Flyway is one of those literary magazines that you wish the better financed, sleeker, but ultimately less earnest journals would try harder to imitate. This Spring/Fall issue charms from front to back, starting upon very sure feet with the work of Gina Ochsner. Ochsner’s stories (two of them here) are so full of deadpan beauty and ragtag miracles that they could make a magical realism enthusiast out of the most cynical realist. As an added bonus, an interview with Oschner follows her work. In a beautiful and disturbing essay, “Consuming,” Sima Rabinowitz plumbs the murky deeps of anorexia with grace and style. Artfully embracing the wider lexicology of her title, she manages at once an intensely personal confession and an appropriately detached appraisal of cultural mores. “Not even the shame of knowing there are people who are truly, deeply, honestly hungry just miles from where I work so diligently at not enjoying the food in my cupboards, does not curb my capacity for starving thoughts.” Another alluring fixture of Flyway is the inclusion of brief comments from the author or poet at the end of each piece. Despite the ubiquitous typographical errors in this issue, it is clear that the folks at Flyway care deeply for good literature. [Flyway, 206 Ross Hall, Dept. of English, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. E-mail: flyway@iastate.edu. Single issue $8. http://www.engl.iastate.edu/publications/flyway/homepage.html] - MC

 

Other Voices

Volume 16 Number 39

Fall/Winter 2003

Other Voices is the perfect title for this journal from Chicago, for a provocative sense of voice is exactly the thing one carries away from its pages. Of the eighteen stories featured in the Fall/Winter issue, thirteen are first-person perspectives, and the intimacy of these narratives is so cumulatively bewitching that one has the sense of having dwelt for a time in a chamber of souls. For the most part, the stories here are tough, visceral, urban ones, laced now and then with bitter humor or stabbing ironies. The characters are often lonely or lost men and women staggering around at the rims of family or romance. But not always. Serena Crawford’s “Year Abroad” is particularly touching, and sensuously describes a woman’s long encounter, at age twenty, with Taiwan and the expatriate way of life there. “Pigeon,” by Laura Ruby, follows the alternately painful and hilarious exploits of a man newly awakened to the wonders of self-employment as he peddles vitamins Amway-style. Leelila Strogov’s “Paper Slippers” evokes gasps with its concise and artful examination of a woman considering abortion. Other Voices is especially notable for the wealth of female writers it publishes, twelve in this issue alone. [Other Voices, University of Illinois at Chicago, Dept. of English, 601 South Morgan St., Chicago, IL 60607-7120. E-mail: othervoices@listserv.uic.edu. Single issue $7. www.othervoicesmagazine.org] - MC

 

Posted Feb 27, 2004

Alaska Quarterly Review

Volume 21 Numbers 1 and 2

Fall & Winter 2003

This issue commences with a wonderful essay by Jane Hirshfield on the nature of language, “Language Wakes Up in the Morning: A Meander Toward Writing,” which playfully begins by describing a personified language as it goes about its day. Guest poetry editor for this issue, Michael Ryan, chose a variety of poems about loss, from a litany of everyday lost things in a little girl’s life (“My Daughter’s Sadness, a Casual Analysis”), to a mournful meditation on the brief lifespan of a hummingbird (“Anna’s Hummingbird”), to the effects of the death of a loved one (“After Your Death,” “Poem for After Peter Dies”). The art work in this issue, Richard J. Murphy’s series of black and white photographs titled “Cancer Journal,” also chronicles loss in the photo essay that movingly portrays a woman’s struggle and eventual death from breast cancer. The work throughout the issue is full of arresting images and heartbreaking moments, especially “Autobiographical Raw Material Unsuitable for the Mining of Fiction,” the piece by Charles Yu about a young man’s relationship to his mother. [Alaska Quarterly Review, University of Alaska Achorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508. E-mail: ayaqr@uaa.alaska.edu. Single issue $6.95. www.uaa.alaska.edu/aqr] – JHG

 

American Poetry Review

Volume 33 Number 1

January/February 2004

Another disarming newsprint journal (as in: Aha! You may look as if you are reading a perfectly respectable newspaper, but instead you are subversively reading poetry without being ostentatious about it), the quality of the paper belies what lies within. The prose here is always fascinating, featuring interviews with well-known poets (in this case, Christopher Merrill) and critical essays. The poetry contributions usually lean heavily towards translations and prose poems, and this issue is no exception, with a series of poems by Jean Cocteau translated by Charles Guenther, four poems by Constantine Cavafy translated from the Greek by Aliki Barnstone, and some very witty prose poems by Jeffrey Skinner. The inside-joke humor of “Day One,” simultaneously complaining about the egotism of writers who write a poem a day and actually writing a poem about writing a poem a day, is contagious. His two poems exploring theories in physics, “Many Worlds” and “White Dwarf,” juxtapose mundane and extraordinary details effectively. The rest of the poetry, including works by the likes of Tony Hoagland, Chard DeNiord, Robert Bly and Toi Derricotte, is strong and engaging, all worthy of excerpting here if there were only space. Suffice it to say that fans of both poetry and poetics will be satisfied with this issue. [American Poetry Review, 117 South 17th Street, Suite 910, Philadelphia, PA 19103. E-mail: duffym@aprweb.org. Single issue $3.95. http://www.aprweb.org] - JHG

 

Seneca Review

Volume33 Number 2

Fall 2003

Seneca Review continues to showcase stellar poems and lyric essays by both unknown and familiar writers. Lucy Shutz’s poem, “The Philosophers Will Never Love the Poets and the Poets Will Continue to Smoke Cigarettes and Starve Themselves,” is adventurous and playful in style, while still dealing with some of the more serious problems of existence. Walt McDonald’s highly formal “Aunt Emma and the Spoils of War” portrays a rural aunt dealing stoically with the fallout of multiple disasters, and Alicia Ostriker’s poem “One-Minded” presents the interior monologue of an aging surfer with striking lyricism, ending with: “Now you’re hoping to die in your wet suit / And if death could capture you / On a day like this, / The swells / Sheer glass, the air. Unbelievable mild, balmy - / If he’d clasp you to his heart / And pitch you into the ocean, that brainless grave // Today, today you’d be superbly glad.” Overall, this issue was a pleasure to read through and contained enough diversity in voices and styles to sustain interest from beginning to end. [Seneca Review, Hobart and William Smith College, Geneva, New York 14456. E-mail: senecareview@hws.edu. Single issue $7. www.hws.edu/senecareview/] - JHG

 

Descant

Volume 34 Number 4

Winter 2003

This Canadian review is separated into sections titled “Up the Down Staircase,” “Stone Games,” “Mask in Flight,” “In Fall/Forest Garden, Book, and Prison,” Stories From the Water Glass,” and “Strange Honeymoons.” The section titles are as lyric (and sometimes as obscure) as the poetry, fiction, essays and art contained within. The weirdly haunting short fiction “Bloodline” by Janette Platana is a standout piece, as is the poem “Babies in the Eyes” written by Wang Shunjian and translated by Ouyang Yu. I always enjoy reading Descant for the fresh voices and occasional bursts of humor (too rare in literary magazines), like the short comic strip titled “Figs,” by David Collier, relating various bizarre advice for hockey players from a 1940’s book by sports scientist Lloyd Percival. The black and white art work – one series of photographs, a set of shots of bronze sculptures, and a set of reproductions of oil paintings – are ethereal and beautiful. The contributor’s notes, as usual, reads as a who’s who of Canadian literary stars and up-and-comers [Descant, P.O. Box 314, Station P, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2S8, Canada. E-mail: descant@web.net. Single issue $15. http://www.descant.on.ca/] - JHG

 

The Antioch Review

Volume 62 Number 1

Winter 2004

Judith Hall, the influential poetry editor of this esteemed literary journal, should be congratulated for producing one of the best issues of “The Antioch Review” that I’ve read in a long time. This special all-poetry issue, subtitled “What to Read, What to Praise,” contains, contrary to what you might believe from the cover, more than just poetry. It does have quite a few poems, but also quite a few essays and interview/panels on poetry and poetics, including lively discussions of the work of contemporary poets Frank Bidart, Charles Simic and Eavan Boland. It was nice to rediscover my passion for Ovid after reading Jennifer Clarvoe’s “Vivamus, Vivamus: Living with Ovid’s Amores,” and I was fascinated by Andrew Zawacki’s essay, “‘The Break is Not a Break’: Kierkegaard, Heidegger and Poesis as Abiding Love.” The poetry in this issue, such as David Lehman’s “The James Brothers,” which imagines conversations between Henry James and Jesse James, merits, as the subtitle indicates, both reading and praise. [The Antioch Review, Antioch University, 150 E. South Chicago St., Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387. Single issue $8. www.Antioch.edu/review] - JHG

 

Michigan Quarterly Review

Volume 43 Number 1

Winter 2004

Michigan Quarterly Review always features interesting essays, and this issue is no exception; my favorite was George Watson’s essay, “The Cosmic Comic,” on the life and writing motivations of Douglas Adams. Two new poems by Adrienne Rich appear here as well, and the rest of the (sadly, very few) poems are excellent, including Donovan Hohn’s “Ars Poetica” and Charles Harper Webb’s “My Wife Insists That, On Our First Date, I Told Her I Had Seven Kinds of Hair.” A few lines from that poem:

…I’ll bet I groped
in my suddenly dim brain, and spilled whatever
I found into our talk, I was so eager to keep it sizzling,

so hungry to seem a man whose invention never failed,
well-endowed with all good things, including hair,
"At least one kind," I must have meant, "is right for you."

Michigan Quarterly Review is that rare find – a down-to-earth and accessible academic journal. [Michigan Quarterly Review, University of Michigan, 3032 Rackham Bldg., 915 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor, MI 48019-1070. E-mail: MQR@umich.edu. Single issue $7. www.umich.edu/~mqr/] - JHG

 

The Healing Muse

Volume 3 Number 1

Fall 2003

While writing about illness, as well as about practice of medicine, belongs to a long and respected tradition, recently there does seem to be increasing interest in publications that bridge this aspect of the art/science divide. This journal makes a worthwhile contribution to the field. Published by the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the Upstate Medical University of the State University of New York, The Healing Muse offers an eclectic range of styles and themes, though it clearly favors shorter pieces and writing predominantly, but not exclusively, by those who work in medical settings. Particularly memorable in this issue: "Attending Physician," a subtle and finely crafted poem by Melinda Glines; a moving essay about life with a prosthetic eye by Sarah Roberts; and an exceptional drawing. "Darius," by award-winning children's book illustrator Susan Keeter which, like much of the artwork reproduced here, presents a more imaginative or perhaps unconventional metaphor of health or "healing" than many of the literary selections. [The Healing Muse. A Journal of Literary and Visual Arts, Center for Bioethics and Humanities, 725 Irving Avenue, Suite 406, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York, 13210. E-mail: HLGMUSE@upstate.edu. Single issue $10. www.upstate.edu/cbh/centerpubs.shtml] - SR

 

Hunger Mountain

The Vermont College Journal of Arts and Letters

Number 3

Fall 2003

Hunger Mountain takes itself seriously. Sophisticated and weighty, it has the appearance and feel of an older, more established journal, something it has managed to accomplish in a mere three issues. Issue #3 features "conversations" with Slovene poets transcribed, pieced together, and recreated as a "Round Table Interview," in conjunction with the college's residency program in Slovenia. The round table is followed by sturdy and appealing translations of these writers' poems. The questions posed about process, about revisions, and about how these writers came to poetry produce unexpected and surprisingly refreshing answers — an excellent introduction to poets many of us may not know. The Slovene poets are in good company here alongside poems from Dorothy Barresi, Jane Miller, Marvin Bell, Sandra Kohler, Elton Glaser, and other big and familiar names on the poetry scene, and prose by Alice Hoffman, Philip Graham, and Molly McQuade, among others. Lesser known, but certainly worth getting to know are prose writers Edward Maitino and Theresa Williams, and poets K.E. Duffin and Bill Rasmovicz. There isn't a weak or "occasional" piece in the issue. Photography by John Willis and artist’s statements about "Grandfather Eugene" and "Recycled Realities," the work featured here, make a tremendous contribution to the issue, words and images it was a privilege to encounter for their social/cultural, as well as aesthetic poignancy and power.[Hunger Mountain, Vermont College, 36 College Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. E-mail: hungermtn@tui.edu. Single issue $10. http://www.tui.edu/hungermtn/] - SR

 

Posted Feb 9, 2004

Virginia Quarterly Review

Volume 80 Number 1

Winter 2004

If the heavy theme of this issue, Integrated Education in America, puts you off, the author of its first essay will draw you right back in. Toni Morrison’s memoir on segregation in the American South is characteristically unflinching and beautiful. Equally compelling is a collection of collages by Romare Bearden from the 1960s, which depict, cubistically, the agonies and ironies of the African American condition at that time. A suite of reactionary poems by Kevin Young accompanies them, adding an additional layer of interest. Included, presumably, by virtue of their merit, not their theme, Quan Berry’s poems are an elegant, tightly crafted delight. This is verse of the very highest caliber—emotionally astute, lyric and memorable. In “Ultrasound as Palinode,” for example, he likens the concept of seeing his unborn niece to the process of creating poetry. In addition to scads more quality literature, the issue is rounded out nicely by book reviews, both explicatory and concise. The “Editor’s Choice” happens, happily, to be the latest tome by Henry Wiencek, a treasured acquaintance of mine. His An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves, and the Creation of America is lauded as insightful, firmly allied to “fact over conjecture.” If your appetite for histories of race in America is whetted after reading this Virginia Quarterly Review, which I’ll wager it will be, Mr. Wiencek should be your next good read. [The Virginia Quarterly Review, University of Virginia, One West Range, P.O. Box 400223, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904. E-mail: jco7e@virginia.edu. Single issue $5. http://www.virginia.edu/vqr] - SRP

 

Threepenny Review

Number 96

Winter 2004

There is a certain perversity in newspaper-bound journals—after all, how can something as valuable as literature exist in such a vulnerable state, resembling Sunday-edition inserts destined, unread, for the recycling bin. Accustomed to the pretty, diminutive books that populate the same category, I was immediately disarmed by the lackluster appearance of The Threepenny Review. Inherently disposable though it may be, this publication doesn’t need a glossy, perfect-bound package—its content is, quite simply: Enough. Alan Shapiro’s “Space Dog” made an instant fan of me with its unlikely-yet-perfect parallel between the puzzlement of adolescence and, of all things, “Laika, Soviet space dog.” The last stanza issues that exquisite frisson that only a perfect poem has the power to produce: “as the spaceship hurtles / out toward the stars, the earth / a star behind it, the earnest / dog eyes fixed on black / space like a door / the masters have walked through / and will return from, surely. / Surely they’ll come to get me. / Surely they didn’t love me / all that time for this.” The postwar-Europe photographs of Robert Frank dotted throughout set a gorgeously eerie tone and lend continuity to the magazine. These are reason enough to check out this volume, as they revive the meaning of the timeworn cliché, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Truly, these images speak for themselves; there is no fit way to explain them. Add to all this a charming essay on the power of names by David Mamet, a handful of book reviews and some seriously good prose, and you begin to see what The Threepenny Review is all about. And then, even if you find yourself without it, someone having mistaken it for refuse, the artistry it contains will stay with you. It’s just That Good. [The Threepenny Review, P.O. Box 9131, Berkeley, California 94709. E-mail: wlesser@threepennyreview.com. Single issue $7. http://www.threepennyreview.com] - SRP

 

Kitchen Sink

Number 4

Summer 2003

Containing socio-political commentary, pop culture interest pieces, comics and even recipes, Kitchen Sink—something of a catchall—is aptly named. It’s more zine than litmag, though, and looks the part. Graphically stunning, the entire thing is printed in blue—a harbinger of novelty from the get-go. Right at home in indigo is “Out of Sight,” a poem by Jonathan Loucks that captures fabulously the not-quite-sadness of a man reflecting on the way a passionate relationship has become staider with time. As for the fiction, it has a highly Californian flavor, being full of heart but slightly left-of-center. More enjoyable are the delightful articles, especially “The Price of Parenthood,” which fairly addresses the ambivalence of modern would-be procreators. Another piece, about “why poetry readings suck,” is resonant with candor:

“. . . because I love poetry even more than I hate poetry readings, I refuse to give up. You might see me at Cody’s Books some night, hunched over in my metal folding chair and guzzling the jug wine they provide as anesthetic. I’m the one sighing and rolling my eyes. I’m the one who leaves as fast as she can when it’s over. I treat poetry readings like one-night stands, which is exactly how they should be treated. When it’s bad, you do the walk of shame. When it’s good, you put a note in your date book and remember it forever.”

All in all, Kitchen Sink is youthful and edgy, both in subject matter and in format, while managing to remain smart. After so much condescension from the media, it is nice to see “Generation X” (forgive the soubriquet) catered to so respectfully. [Kitchen Sink, 5245 College Avenue #301, Oakland, CA 94618. E-mail: antonia@kitchensinkmag.com. Single issue $7.95. http://www.kitchensinkmag.com] - SRP

 

American Letters & Commentary

Issue 15

2003

It’s incredibly, incredibly hard to pin down which aspect of this magazine works and sings best. The candy-striped cover with its ‘bubbles’ of text; the feature on “Senses of Humor” (featuring, at her and his best, pieces by Eleanor Wilner and David Rees, among plenty of phenomenal others), John Greenman’s “The Cowboy Poet,” Adam Dant’s mesmerizing art, G.C. Waldrep’s or Linh Dinh’s poetry (and about Waldrep: I mentioned his work from the fall Gettysburg Review without knowing that: (1) He’s in Iowa now, not N.C., and (2) He’s the 2003 winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry - remember that guy named Dean Young? Same award.). It’s a spellbinding read, this latest American Letters and Commentary, which is right in keeping with what this magazine does every time. It consistently does something that, seemingly, is harder by the day: it actually represents a catholicity of voices and writers, from August torch-bearers like James Tate to the up-and-coming like G. C. Waldrep. The magazine certainly leans just left of the dial in that if you’re looking for a new place for pitch-perfect Petrarchian sonnets, this is not your lit mag. If you’re more demanding of form than function, there are better places to invest your time and money. But if you want the door opened, just a little, to surprise and fantastic writing, come inside. [American Arts & Letters, American Letters & Commentary, Inc., 850 Park Avenue, Suite 5B, New York, NY 10021. E-mail: rabanna@aol.com. Single issue $8. http://www.amletters.org] - WC

 

American Scholar

Volume 73 Number 1

Winter 2004

This is, in my mind anyway, the most classically high-brow literary-and-arts magazine on the market, though that opinion may only be because when I was in college I was not invited to join the Phi Beta Kappa society, the group that publishes this quarterly. And while I’m certainly a fan of ignoring those who snub you, it’s impossible to keep an antagonist front against this consistently brainy, ever clever, and intensely smart magazine. Two admissions: I’m bound to love anything Sven Birkerts writes, and his essay on Flaubert is, as ever, graceful and superb. I’m also, as of late and right along with most of the rest of the conscientious country, horrifically fascinated by all stories pertaining to farming in the US, particularly stories that detail the literally near-unbelievable industrialization and specialization processes that have taken place since, roughly, Nixon. So Richard Manning’s “Against the Grain,” the lead essay here, is disgustingly enthralling. But there’s plenty beyond that, as well. Richard Lucas’ visual essay “Roma Ineffabile” is ghastly and addictive and, like any good art, asks more questions of the viewer/reader, and acts as a vein in a copper valley. Kay Ryan’s “Nothing Getting Past” is, like all of her poetry, prickly, dense and wise, and Diane McWhorter’s “Talk” is great, great fun. The only bad part? Not enough new, unknown writers in this particular issue. Next time - always next time. [American Scholar, The Phi Beta Kappa Society, 1606 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20009. E-mail: Scholar@pbk.org. Single issue $6.95. http://www.pbk.org/pubs/amscholar.htm] - WC

 

Posted Feb 1, 2004

MARGIE

Volume Two

2004

This substantially-sized, yearly MARGIE: The American Journal of Poetry encompasses a wide range of subject matter and styles, from experimental to traditional. A terrific interview by Karla M. Huston on risk-taking called “Burying The Red Shoes: Conversations with Four Poets,” sheds light on the different ways women can push the envelope with their poetry. The “conversation” (actually four separate e-mail interviews cleverly spliced together) between Huston and luminaries such as Naomi Shihab Nye, Denise Duhamel, Shara McCallum and poet/editor Stellasue Lee was spirited and inspirational, hitting on everything from which subjects are still taboo for women (sex? body parts? birth?) to why women are less likely than men to send out their writing. Highly respected poets such as Jane Hirshfield and David Wagoner can be found next to up-and-coming names, and there is such a range of work here that this journal will accommodate a variety of tastes. [MARGIE, PO Box 250, Chesterfield, MO 63006-0250. E:mail: margiereview@aol.com. Single issue $11.95. http://www.margiereview.com] - JHG

 

Prairie Schooner

Winter 2003

Volume 77 Number 4

The winter issue of Prairie Schooner contains poetry, stories, and reviews, sprinkled with the names of literary stars like R.T. Smith and Alice Ostriker and some new voices as well. Particularly charming were Alice Friman’s imaginings on the biblical character Ruth in “Remembering in Lilac and Heart-Shaped Leaves,” and Annette Sanford’s story, “Spring ’41,” about a young girl whose beloved aunt comes to live with her in a conservative town – bringing an illegitimate baby with her. I also liked Steve Langan’s poem, “Apricots,” a sensual homage to William Carlos Williams’ “This is Just to Say.” Here are a few lines from Langan’s poem:

“In your notes you asked for apricots / in the silver dish. I brought you apricots, / crushed, pureed, in the gold decanter. / You wrote they are delicious, // the chilled apricots, jellied, untamed…” [Prairie Schooner, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 201 Andrews Hall, PO Box 880334, Lincoln, NE 68501-9988. E-mail: kgrey2@unl.edu. Single issue $9. http://www.unl.edu/schooner/psmain.htm] - JHG

 

The Journal

Volume 27.2

Autumn/Winter 2003

This slender journal from Ohio State presents well-chosen fiction, poetry, and a piece of non-fiction, mostly from well-known writers such as Robin Behn and Gary Fincke. Not a lot of surprises here, but you’ll find solid selections to sink your teeth into. Doing a great job of capturing the creepier side of mythology was Maggen Lyon’s “Leda and the Swan: A Recurring Nightmare.” Some sample lines from the first part of the poem, in the voice of a distinctly unsavory Zeus: “This is me holding you down. / This is me splaying you, limb / from limb. / This is me following your shadow like fog / on a leash, / breathing my green hot stench. / I know where you sleep, girlie. I take you / in dreams, / like a riptide, / drag you to the watery / edge.” And the ironic poem “Anecdotes” by Baron Wormser pokes fun the actions at the heart of most poetry: “The man recalls a Sunday softball game; / The child stops at a puddle and peers into / Gorgeous nothingness; the tree falls or doesn’t.” [The Journal, Dept. of English, Ohio State University, 164 W 17th Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43210. E-mail: thejournal@osu.edu. Single issue $7. http://www.cohums.ohio-state.edu/english/journals/the_journal] - JHG

 

Rhino

2003

This mostly-poetry journal (with a smattering of photos and reviews) out of Evanston, Illinois succeeds in bringing new voices from the poetry world to light. This issue considers the metaphysical questions of spiritual versus human nature, in which speakers deal with their bodies’failures (“What I’m Not Writing,” “How to Continue,” “The Robust Young Man Discusses His Burial”) and with the failures of their faiths (“God is Not Talking,” “Paris Does Not Exist,” “Recidivism”). Here are a few lines from Danna Ephland’s “After Surgery”:

“Your pancreas does not answer, though its head nods / continually. Not a lipoma: // cystic neoplasm, the waning moon of health. Rooted / as rain, you staple the highways / behind you, arrive at the door in a package you open / later, surprising yourself. Yes. / A phone leaps off the wall singing. / The river, not the animal, continues.” The black-and-white photographs by J. Shimon and J. Lindemann, Wisconsin Trip, offer offbeat portraits from small Wisconsin towns. Interesting and courageous, the works here throw off the mantles of either extreme academe or extreme experimentalism, and instead embrace their own bracing truths. [Rhino, PO Box 591, Evanston, Illinois 60204. E-mail: rhinobiz@hotmail.com. Single issue $10. http://www.rhinopoetry.org] – JHG

 

Image

A Journal of the Arts & Religion

Number 39

Summer 2003

You don't have to be a religious scholar to appreciate the essays, short stories, art and poetry found in Image. In fact, many of the individual pieces included would easily fit in "general" literary journals. As a collection, the text explores the relationships between religion (mainly Judeo-Christian), culture and art in contemporary times. This issue offers two enlightening essays on the work of artists George Gittoes and Eric Fischl (artist of last year's controversial Tumbling Woman, which generated a debate of how artists should represent the horrors of 9/11). Also of note is an interview with poet Caroyln Forche in which she discusses being a one-time fallen Catholic, her time in El Salvador and reaction to her latest book. Some of the poetry tends to rely a bit heavily on Christ and redemption imagery for my taste, but it did make me confront why I'm so uncomfortable with it. It's a thoughtful magazine that's not afraid to bring up questions. [Image, 3307 Third Avenue West, Seattle, WA 98119. E-mail: image@imagejournal.org. Single issue $10. http://www.imagejournal.org] - RL


NewPages Literary Magazine Stand Archives

January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003

 

Note: If you are interested in writing reviews for the NewPages Literary Magazine Stand, please look over the reviewer's guidelines.