Literary Magazines
The NewPages
Literary Magazine Reviews

Posted Nov 7, 2004
[reviews in alphabetical order by title]

 Arkansas Review

A Journal of Delta Studies

Volume 35 Number 2

August 2004

Been longing to, as the song says, drive south? Just pick up a copy of the Arkansas Review and step into one of Daniel Coston’s you-are-there paintings of quintessential southern settings somehow rendered exotic by his fresh view of their familiarity. The white churches, the flat green lands of the Mississippi Delta, an “old store south of Pine Bluff, Arkansas on highway 65” will seem so real you’ll want to have your picture taken there. Then head out to the inexplicably named Club Disco 9000, actually “a juke joint, a prefab steel barn on Otha Turner’s place, out in the country” with white, middled-aged British blues fan Garry Craig Powell. In “Talkin’ Blues at the Living Blues Symposium,” he’ll give you his entertaining/worried take on the current health of (and his not so promising prognosis for) the blues and the fact that white people’s love for the blues (or their co-opting of it, depending on how you look at it) helps keep it alive, yet also tends to alter its essence. Who you play for can change your song, as R. T. Smith will warn you in his tour de force for one (fictional) voice “Dear Six Belles,” a wonderfully cranky and obsessive paean to real Cajun music: “Authentic whang-doodle, chers, the true thing.” Hear it? “You gotta cherish the blue swell in the emotional motion, give your self whole heart to the Loosiana razzy dazz.” If you start now, you can be back by suppertime. [Arkansas Review, Department of English and Philosophy, P.O. Box 1890, Arkansas State Unversity, State University, AR 72467. E-mail: delta@astate.edu. Single issue $7.50. http://www.clt.astate.edu/arkreview] – AS

 

The Baltimore Review

Volume 8 Number 2

Summer/Fall 2004

Probably one of the most unassumingly designed literary journals, The Baltimore Review stands up to the best of them with fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and book reviews that all have that special glint of treasures presented with a knowing wink of editorial conviction. This issue features six short stories, all impressively artful and absorbing. Joe Schall’s “Opossum”, winner of TBR’s 2003 Short Fiction Competition, treads with not a single unsure step the bizarre territory of agoraphobia, etymology, toxicology, and marsupials, blending it all together with a thematic grace that left me moved by the feeling that I’d just read one of the year’s best stories. “Nickels and Dimes,” a story by David Engelhardt about a little boy growing up amidst the swirling pressure of labor strikes in a company town, is also wonderful in a classic coming-of-age way. A brief but fascinating interview with author Manil Suri (The Death of Vishnu) makes for good reading, as do the ten frequently haunting poems presented here. The Baltimore Review sends yours eyes into a glide, and very soon you find yourself having traveled its pages from front to back, with nothing left to do but reread its fine fiction while you await the next issue. [The Baltimore Review, P.O. Box 36418, Townson, MD, 21286. Single issue $8. www.baltimorereview.org] – MC

 

The Briar Cliff Review

Volume 16

Defying the trade paperback design standard to most literary journals, The Briar Cliff Review is a magazine-size book with thick, glossy paper and an evocative array of crystal-clear full-color artwork scattered throughout. To peruse this journal is an enjoyable sensory experience, and I found myself savoring the pure pleasure induced by the design as much as I savored the contents, which are substantial: 28 poems, 6 stories, 3 nonfiction pieces grouped under the unique heading “Reflective”, 4 articles or exhibits dealing with the “Siouxland” surrounding Briar Cliff’s Sioux City origins, and 3 book reviews. The short stories here are highly literary, somewhat ponderously paced, and ultimately very winning in their shared reluctance to undercut the human mysteries they present. Andrew Schultz’s O’Henry-like story “My Barber, My Wife” somberly explores the multi-faceted nature of fidelity through the life of Guy, a man of routine who one afternoon is lured away from his regular barber appointment by a dancing hairstylist in a nearby shop. Guy’s subsequent romance and marriage to this woman is conveyed in lush and delicately vivid prose and serves as an unlikely but effective motif in exploring a very unlikely but ineffably true conflict. Some of the poetry here is breathtaking, such as a piece entitled “The Magician” by David Allan Evans. Also lovely is the photo essay, “Dakota Hospital for the Insane” by Michael Northrup, a haunting black-and-white journey through the empty spaces of a deteriorating institution. The Briar Cliff Review will reward readers on many levels. [The Briar Cliff Review, Briar Cliff University, 3303 Rebecca St, P.O. Box 2100, Sioux City, IA, 51104. E-mail: currans@briarcliff.edu. Single issue $12. www.briarcliff.edu/bcreview] – MC

 

Cairn

Number 38

May 2004

Cairn: from the Scottish, a pile of stones meant as a monument or landmark. Also an exceptional literary magazine out of St. Andrews Presbyterian College. Kevin Frazier’s haunting story “The Magic Forest,” the tale of a lonely child who, on the spur of the moment, absconds with an infant “being aired” in the yard, considers the law of unintended consequences in a (disturbingly undermined) fairy tale setting. Carol V. Davis’s endearingly original poem “The Exotic: What the Locals Eat” stumbles upon the key to an alternate universe of sorts in small foil packages of Russian candy, “each the size of a squat nail”: “All doors will open for me now in this mysterious society. / My luck will change here, I know it.” John Spaulding’s affecting poem “The Children Who Work at Night,” based on the photographs of Lewis Hine, c. 1910, makes us look into the eyes of forgotten child laborers, “the coal-faced little boys without shoes / and those working in dust so thick you can’t see them / those carrying messages between pimp and prostitute and / those in factories who put out the lights at dawn.” And Marty Silverthorne’s “Kissing” describes the most passionate kiss of all, the one between his elderly parents during his father’s last days on earth: “Unsteady in life, not knowing / how many days he had left, / he pressed his love against his bride.” Cairn. A mound of stones, or perhaps a configuration of words like these, to say that we were here, that we loved this world, that though we were earthbound and our materials heavy, we always built toward sky. [Cairn, St. Andrews College Press, 1700 Dogwood Mile, Laurinburg, NC 28352. E-mail: press@sapc.edu. Single issue $8. http://www.sapc.edu/sapress] – AS

 

Epoch

Volume 53 Number 1

2004

This venerable journal (it has been around for more than 50 years) can be relied upon for excellent short fiction, and this issue is no exception. Lydia Peelle’s “Mule Killers” and M. Allen Cunningham’s “Crustacean” are both evocative and nostalgic – “Mule Killers” evokes the farming past of the speaker’s family, and “Crustacean” about a man trying to keep his crumbling family from falling apart. The few poems sprinkled throughout the issue provide tonal counterpoints for the stories, which means the editor put some thought into how to position these pieces together. For instance, the poem “Revival” by Jody Winer-Cook describes a museum exhibit of stone snake-tongue-carved knives and how the speaker responds to it:

…We all wonder about the weapon—
how quickly it slips from the serpent’s jaws,
when last used, on whom.

Drought, dust, global roast.
I haven’t known lust in months.
My own sharp tongue has destroyed plenty.

The adjoining story, Neela Vaswani’s “The Pelvis Series,” describes a woman scientist’s exploration of bones and language. This journal is a rewarding read, intelligently edited. [Epoch, 251 Goldwin Smith Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. 14853. Single issue $5. http://www.arts.cornell.edu/english/epoch.html] – JHG

 

Gulf Stream

Volume 21

Produced by the Creative Writing Department of Florida International University, Gulf Stream presents about as straight-up a dosage of contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as you could hope for. The contents of Volume 21 all have in common a sheer, dead-on approach, generally avoiding anything you’d call loquacious, and the short fiction in particular possesses a direct, no-frills style that might otherwise seem unreasonably restrained, except each narrative here is so grounded in substance that my overall impression was one of fresh, crisp, dynamic writing. Shawn Taylor’s story “Reliance,” top winner of the Gulf Stream First’s Contest, is a visceral yarn about a young man’s bout with Giardia as he hikes the Appalachian Trail and is forced to accept the care offered by a stranger. “Kotik” by Kristina Gorcheva-Newberry is also surprisingly moving in its tale of a teenager, Lena, living in Moscow and befriending the wildest girl in her class. There are four other short stories in this issue, as well as a very candid interview with Sherman Alexie, and lovely poems by thirteen poets, including one called “The Other Side” by Richard Brostoff, a rumination on the inexplicable qualities of Nature within us, the residue of our reincarnate histories: “In the shadows of surf, / almost soundless, / in the water’s rush, / his dormant yearnings / searching for form, / a dozen white birds / trapped in his body, / a chorus of cries / on the other side.” [Gulf Stream, English Dept, FIU Biscayne Bay Campus, 3000 NE 151 Street, North Miami, FL, 33181-3000. Single issue $8.  – MC

 

Lilies & Cannonballs Review

Volume 1 Number 1

Spring/Summer 2004

Lilies & Cannonballs Review “seeks to create a space for the synthesis of contrary elements: aesthetically driven and socially conscious literature and art; traditional and experimental forms; crazy-man conservative and bleeding liberal views.” This beautifully designed inaugural issue, thin and sleek, features three diverse short stories, a short three-act play, and a wealth of poems. Nathan Leslie’s very brief story “The Dusting” deals with a young fly-duster faced with a moral dilemma when he agrees to the request of a good-natured client and friend to covertly drop insecticide on a neighbor’s organic farm. The story concludes with the wonderful “ahh”-inducing quality of the most thought-provoking poem. And speaking of poems, the selections featured here run the gamut from impressionistic pulsations to minute narratives both lyrical and blunt. Sample the capitalistic frustration that is T.K. Murray’s poem “Barbed Wire Bitch”: “Ms. Marianne Westbridge, / director of personnel, takes the app, smiles sweetly, / says, ‘Thank you. We’ll call,’ / and shows me to the door.” Or the playful lines from Inigo Gracia Ureta’s poem “Belongings,” translated from Spanish by Daniel Connor: “I recently elected myself emperor of my bed, and my love I / elected the empress. There, in my empire, she has the right to / kick, and we dream supine, and I rule to her left.” [Lilies & Cannonballs Review, P.O. Box 702, Bowling Green Station, New York, NY, 10274-0702. E-mail: info@liliesandcannonballs.com. Single issue $12. http://www.liliesandcannonballs.com/pages/1/index.htm] – MC

 

Mars Hill Review

Issue 23

2004

A Christian publication, Mars Hill Review is distinguished by its willingness to leave behind the preaching-to-the-choir safety of explicitly Christian texts and venture forth into the realm of pop culture in search of what MHR calls “reminders of God.” This issue offers a spiritually in-depth interview with poet Carolyn Forche, Cindy Crosby’s piece on the restoration of her faith as she helps restore a prairie, stories, poetry, and a generous selection of assumption-challenging book, film, and music reviews—these last on topics as diverse as the Christian-Celtic connection and garage rock revisited. You’ll find here articles supported by Bible verses alongside cogent cultural commentary that would be at home in any (secular) literary magazine. Of the latter, particularly insightful is Craig Detweiler’s review of Sofia Coppola’s fine film Lost in Translation. Informed by memories of his own isolating sojourn in Japan, Detweiler’s assessment, like the film itself, calls attention to what is missing, to that something beyond ordinary life that we all seek in imperfect ways:

Surrounded by young people with years of painful discoveries ahead of them, [Bill] Murray musters all the wisdom he can offer in a single song. He turns Bryan Ferry’s lyrics into a nihilistic credo and a desperate prayer: “More than this / You know there’s nothing / Tell me one thing / More than this / There’s nothing.” Hope and despair find equal and simultaneous footing.

Whether you’re a committed Christian or a broadminded seeker after something you can’t name, try Mars Hill Review. Its theory that God is the answer may or may not satisfy you, but this magazine is one of the few venues brave enough to ask the eternal questions. [Mars Hill Review, P.O. Box 10506, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110-0506. E-mail: info@marshillreview.com. Single issue $15. http://www.marshillreview.com] AS

 

The Midwest Quarterly

Volume 45 Number 4

Summer 2004

This perfectly-bound academic quarterly out of Pittsburgh State University (that’s Pittsburgh, Kansas, not Pennsylvania) presents poetry, articles, and reviews. For those who would like to know more about Ted Kooser, our new Poet Laureate, there is a scholarly article “When a Walk is a Poem: Winter Morning Walks, a Chronicle of Survival, by Ted Kooser” by Mary K. Stillwell that describes Kooser’s struggle with cancer and with writing his manuscript while recuperating. Sharon R. Yang compares Virginia Woolf with William Wordsworth in “Subversion of The Prelude in Jabob’s Room, or the Woolf Who Cried Wordsworth.” And Gary Scharnhorst describes government censorship in a small town in “Moodie, My Dad, Allen Ginsberg, and Me: Reflections on Wichita And ‘Wichita Vortex Sutra.’” The poems in this issue were mostly meditations on the relationships between man and nature and the larger universe. I especially liked Amy Fleury’s poem “The Fugitive Eve.” I respected the fact that most of the “scholarly articles” were layperson-readable, as opposed to being densely academic and full of footnotes, and how the articles were punctuated by poetry. Overall, this is an attractive and interesting collection of work. [The Midwest Quarterly, 406b Russ Hall, Pittsburg State University, 1701 South Broadway, Pittsburg, KS 66762. E-mail: midwestq@pittstate.edu. Single issue $5. http://www.pittstate.edu/engl/mwq/aboutMQ.html] – JHG

 

Mindprints

A Literary Journal

Volume IV

2004

Mindprints, from the Learning Assistance Program of Allan Hancock College, is an annual literary journal “for writers and artists with disabilities or those with an interest in disabilities.” In this issue, Marcia Mascolini’s hilarious/wise “Hocus Pocus” considers real-world faith in one very wriggly kid’s encounter with an unmelting Communion wafer: “You have touched the Body of Christ, they yelled. I didn’t really think so. If I had touched the Body of Christ, I think it would have felt more like chicken.” Vincent J. Tomeo’s “Multiple Sclerosis Poem Four” bravely jettisons the imperfect in order to save what’s essential: “Excuse me for stumbling / Excuse me for not cleaning the house // Excuse me for forgetting / Excuse me for not keeping up with my friends // Pardon me / As I write a poem.” And in the moving “Walking Toward Tenerife,” Susan Rolston expresses perfectly in one searing image the survivor’s guilt and regret, the anguished why didn’t I?, of every daughter who has lost a beloved father:

On waking, I resume my morning
ritual, scouring the obituaries to calculate
how many of today’s dead fathers
lived longer than mine, wondering
if one of them will end with
“Survivors include a daughter
who should have seen,
should have known, should
have looked back sooner.”

Like a person with a disability who has suffered much and come to grips with what remains, Mindprints is tough-minded and generous of heart; it knows what’s important and how to find a reason to get out of bed every morning. This journal will keep you from giving up and, even more importantly, will help you go on from here. [Mindprints, A Literary Journal, Learning Assistance Program, 800 South College Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93454-6399. E-mail: pafahey@hancock.cc.ca.us. Single issue $6. http://www.hancockcollege.edu] – AS

 

Notre Dame Review

Number 18

Summer 2004

Bristling with the work of thirty-four different poets, this issue of Notre Dame Review is mostly blank verse, all of it enjoyable, and much of it breathtaking. I was most amazed by Beth Ann Fennelly’s long, sober, meditative piece, “The Presentation,” a title deriving from the hospital procedure of showing a stillborn infant to its mother. “Within hours, within you, / the cell, smaller than a decimal point, / began its long division. / But you know how unforgiving / math can be. Just one small mistake / and it won’t add up.” Six mostly lengthy stories are scattered amongst the poems, several decidedly surreal or labyrinthine in narrative structure. In Michael Northrop’s comparatively brief fiction, “My Body,” a jogging man spots a corpse floating in the Hudson River, and quickly discovers that the body is an uncanny mirror-image of himself. The story has a bemused, cerebral quality that brings to mind the work of Javier Marias, and is in some ways representative of the fictional leanings in this issue of Notre Dame Review. Yet the fiction here is by no means totally uniform. For instance, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s story “Recaptured Spirits” deals, through a lyrical realism, with the latent homosexuality of a Nigerian university teacher who finds herself falling for a pupil. [Notre Dame Review, 840 Flanner Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, 46556. E-mail: English.ndreview1@nd.edu. Single issue $8. www.nd.edu/~ndr/review.htm] – MC

 

Poetry Flash

Number 92

Winter/Spring 2004

This free, bi-monthly newsprint publication offers West Coast readers insights into the lives of poets and publishers, plus a handy calendar for poetry-related events up and down the West Coast. The front-page articles include a discussion of The Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth by Jack Foley and an interview with Kazuko Shiraishi and her translators Samuel Grolmes and Yumiko Tsumara by Ikuko Tomita. Inside are more essays on Rexroth, a few poems, including one by Shiraishi, as well as reviews and news about various poetry figures, including a discussion of Louise Glück. The reason this newsprint publication is invaluable to me, besides the fact that it is wonderfully inexpensive, is that it contains a detailed lists of conferences, readings, festivals, classes and even public radio programs devoted to poetry, mostly focused on California, but including events from Seattle to Colorado. When planning trips, I always glance through their schedule to see if I can make any readings or festivals while I’m there. [Poetry Flash, 1450 Fourth Street, #4, Berkeley, CA 94710. E-mail: info@poetryflash.org. Single issue: Free on newsstands; Mail subscriptions 12 issues/$30 (U.S.). www.poetryflash.org] – JHG

 

Prose Ax

Volume 30 Number 1

Spring 2004

Prose Ax’s zine-like appearance (saddle-stitching, black-and-white photocopied art works on the cover and throughout the issue, untrimmed pages) and authors with attitude who write pieces with titles like “Brain Spiders” are going to appeal to a zine audience more than your typical academic audience. And this little collection of poetry and short prose pieces has edge in spades, although occasional clichés creep in to zap a piece’s potential. This is not to say that you will not find interesting and fresh writing in these 33 pages – the short story “House Ad” by Jeffrey Rubin, about a house-hunting couple looking at a house for sale, bursts with understated sadness, and the aforementioned “Brain Spiders” is an interestingly-told tale about a girl’s first experience with cancer. “Marriage Proposal,” a poem by Stacey Robertson, communicates despair about a broken relationship using unusual details – as the speaker receives her lukewarm proposal she notices with devastating detail that “Sow bugs were crawling under my feet.” [Prose Ax, P.O. Box 22643, Honolulu HI 96823-2643. E-mail: editor@proseax.com. http://www.proseax.com] – JHG

 

The Reader

Number 15

Summer 2004

If you love to read more than, well, more than just about anything (except possibly that), you’ll love the University of Liverpool’s The Reader, a compendium of, appropriately enough, all things readerly: essays, interviews, reviews, recommendations, even quizzes and crosswords. A “reading lives” section includes Elizabeth Spooner’s “Let’s Hear it For Librarians” (“Sixty-five years ago, at the age of ten, my life began. My teacher gave me a card which, signed by an adult, would permit me to borrow books from the Public Library, books, any books, numberless books, and it’s free!”) and Chris Chilton’s “Real Books, Real Ale, Real Men?,” about the Racketeers, an all-male, hard-drinking, hard-thinking book club (“The pub atmosphere is an integral part of our ethos. We like the noise, we like the beer, we like the idea of talking about literature in these surroundings”). They also have a jam-packed and irresistible-to-reading-fanatics website, complete with forum. (Don’t even go there unless someone reliable promises to come looking for you.) If you’re a fool for the written word, don’t miss The Reader’s unique blend of stimulating prose on your favorite subject, those little black symbols that call to you, call to you. Part of this magazine’s genius is that, in providing a common area for individual readers, it lends an unusual and welcome feeling of camaraderie and belonging to what is essentially a private act. Adjust your reading lamp and enjoy. [The Reader Office, University of Liverpool, 19 Abercromby Square, LIVERPOOL L69 7ZG. E-mail: readers@liv.ac.uk. Single issue 4.95 pounds. http://www.thereader.co.uk/] – AS

 

Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine

Volume 5

National Edition, 2004

The standout feature of this issue of the hefty annual Red Wheelbarrow, which publishes poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and artwork including comics, is a long (eighteen-page) transcript of De Anza college students interviewing Adrienne Rich, a lively back-and-forth conversation that included discussions of politics, Rich’s poem "An Atlas of the Difficult World,"  feminism, classicism, the problems of globalization, and more. This is a must-read for Rich’s fans, though they probably won’t be that surprised by Rich’s answers. The other thing that immediately stands out about this lit mag is the size and spacing – at least 14 point font, and everything, even the poetry, is double-spaced. Easy on the eyes, perhaps, but a bit disconcerting at first. “Bee-Stealing Season” by Margarita Engle and “Mother as Rope” by Jennifer Perrine were two poems among the many deserving attention in this issue, which also include “Tell Me” by Adrienne Rich and work by Virgil Suarez and Lyn Lifshin. Here are a few lines from “Mother as Rope”:

…This is the way her lips
looked that day, nooselike, while you twisted
tissues in your hands. All that time,
dusky filaments entwining her lungs,
then the braid of her spine…

[Red Wheelbarrow, De Anza College, 21250 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Cupertino, CA 95014-5702. E-mail: SplitterRandolph@fhda.edu.  http://faculty.deanza.fhda.edu/splitterrandolph/stories/storyReader$14] Single issue $10. - JHG

 

Rosebud

April 2004

Number 29

This issue of the populist journal Rosebud features stories by the winner and several close finalists for The Le Guin Award for short “imaginative fiction,” as well as a Roundtable called “Truth in Poetry?” My favorite short fiction piece was Alicia Conroy’s “The Nameless Season,” a runner-up for the Le Guin Award. This piece imagines a near future where sunspots, environmental problems, and meteorological shifts have combined to create conditions that result in recurrent “dead seasons,” where nothing blooms or grows. The message may be fairly obvious, but the tone of the story, narrated by a young woman recalling the year she turned 12, had the melancholy tones and deft treatment of a young teen’s perspective of early Bradbury or Madeleine L’Engle. The poetry selection ranges from early work by Sandra Cisneros to the lyrics to the Goo Goo Doll’s alternative-pop anthem “Iris,” but my favorite was “Essen” by Sherryl Kleinman. The Roundtable, which included Shoshauna Shy, Alison Townsend, John Lehman, Karla Huston, Cathryn Cofell, William Stobb and Sue De Kelver, dwelled on the questions: is the lyric poet required to tell the truth about his or her life? What does the poet owe to the people he writes about? What does it mean to betray the reader’s trust? Shoshauna Shy quoted this provocative bit from Ted Kooser’s essay “Lying for the Sake of Making Poems,” about a poet who had written poems about having a fictitious, disabled son: “…readers have been cheated and deceived…It is despicable to exploit the trust a reader has in the truth of lyric poetry in order to gather undeserved sympathy to one’s self…” The roundtable is a great read for anyone struggling with persona poetry and the poet’s obligations with respect to facts. [Rosebud, N3310 Asje Road, Cambridge, WI 53523. Single issue $7.95. http://www.rsbd.net] – JHG

 

Spring

The Journal of the E. E. Cummings Society

October 2002

Number 11

Always been a fan of E.E. Cummings? Then Spring is the journal for you – nothing for 234 pages but essays about Cummings, poetry influenced by Cummings, and critical examinations of his life and work, with titles like “Hermetism in the Poetry of E.E. Cummings: An Analysis of Three Obscure Poems” and “Squaring the Self: Versions of Transcendentalism in The Enormous Room.” You may see how these kinds of pieces may appeal mainly to scholars of the late poet’s work, but even amateur fans of Cummings can appreciate the playful poems, like this one by Tony Quagliano called “ON BLY ON POETRY”:

In The Sixties, the mag
and the decade
Robert Bly
used to say there’s no place
for wit / or humor in poetry
those British qualities
archaic and moribund
must
be kept
out
of the possibility
of a NEW AMERICAN
POETRY, American
poets I know
are still laughing about that

I found it fascinating to examine Cummings’ poetics more closely, and by an insightful, international group of scholars. It’s been two years since a new issue appeared - hope the next one comes out soon. [Spring, 33-54 164th Street, Flushing, NY 11358-1442. Single issue $17.50. E-mail: EECSPRINGNF@aol.com.  http://www.gvsu.edu/english/cummings/Index.htm] – JHG

 

Swivel

The Nexus of Women & Wit

Volume 1 Number 1

2004

An enjoyable new offering that hails from Seattle, Swivel showcases “women writers of wit.” As editor Brangien Davis writes, “In Swivel, you’ll find both funny ha-ha and funny strange, but mostly you’ll find that we take funny women seriously.” Included here are works by The Typing Explosion, “a trio of performance typists” who stage guerilla poetry collaborations (on sidewalks, in bookstores, etc.) on Olivetti typewriters. Heather Cochran’s “Shuffling Toward Womanhood in Wedge-heeled Sandals” is an acutely funny flashback to what it’s like to be thirteen, wanting “to be rendered invisible” while you pursue your Holy Grail of coolness, yearn for a kiss from Robbie Mitchko, and, if you’re lucky, come upon that perfect first pair of heels, “dyed the same lazy caramel brown of warmth and summer and hope.” Kate Lake’s “My Belief System” is a humorous take on second generation atheism: “So. That’s my system. Eating. Napping. Not flipping the bird to drivers who cut you off in case they decide to pop you one (what goes around).” You’ll also find a comic strip illustrated by Christine Olsen and written by Nancy Pearl, author of Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason and, even more entertainingly, the real-life prototype for the only librarian action figure: “This is the true story of how Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl became immortalized as a toy (with amazing push button “shushing” action!).” Thus there exists the mind-numbing possibility that you could be reading Swivel in the library, be giggling away, and be shushed by the very librarian whose shushing was making you laugh. Woh! [Swivel, P.O. Box 17958, Seattle, WA 98107. E-mail: queries@swivelmag.com. Single issue $9. http://www.swivelmag.com] – AS

 

Wicked Alice Poetry Journal

2004

As far as I could tell from reading the web site, this is the first annual print edition of Wicked Alice, which has been operating online for a couple of years. While the production quality of this saddle-stitched journal left something to be desired (the pages don’t line up and are untrimmed– but the fonts are interesting and clearly printed) the work inside this thin zine was fresh and young-ish with a generation X/Y feminist edge, with subject matter ranging from re-worked myths (Gretel, Medea) to oral sex to drugs and teenage angsts of all kinds. I especially liked “Recess” by Annalynn Hammond and “Aperture” by Rebecca Loudon. “Invisible Things” by Theresa Boyar was also very moving, describing a moment in the life of an Algerian war prisoner:

…In dreams, she watched a man
lift from her skin like smoke.
The earth beneath him opened
and he fell, seething, through a fissure,
the red ground closing around him.

I enjoyed the direct, lively appeal of the work here chosen for the print edition. I look forward to reading more of Wicked Alice. [Wicked Alice. E-mail: wickedalicepoetry@lycos.com. Single issue $5. Web site: http://www.sundress.net/wickedalice/] – JHG


Edited by Denise Hill

Reviewers (see Contributors page):
LKB
- Lisa K. Buchanan; LC - Laura Carter; MC - Mark Cunningham; WC - Weston Cutter; DE - Devon Ellington; DH - Denise Hill; JG - Jamey Gallagher; JHG - Jeannine Hall Gailey; JQG - Jennifer Gomoll; GK - Gina Kokes;  KL - Kathe Lison; DM  - Deborah Mead;  SRP - Sarah R. Payne; PFP - P.F. Potvin; JP - Jessica Powers; SR - Sima Rabinowitz;  AS - Ann Stapleton; ST - Sarah Tarkington; TW - Toby Warner

NewPages Literary Magazine Stand Archives

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