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Checking out the native wildlife: my new local literary magazines [Part One]

September 14, 2010

New city means new dim sum restaurant and new literary magazines to me. I’m still working on finding some good pork buns, but there is no shortage of literary magazines in Georgia, so stay tuned for my first two-part blog post!

So to start out I’ve grabbed the big ones that are closest to me: The Lullwater Review, that runs out of “dear old Emory” and The Georgia Review, that runs out of The University of Georgia in Athens.

I got hold of the latest copy of Lullwater at Emory’s student activity fair, and settled down to get a look of what was going on right around me. First off, it’s a fairly wee magazine, but utterly gorgeous: slim and elegant. There are some good-looking magazines out there, but this is different. Art is given its own space, and does not just function to illustrate the words. Particularly outstanding are the series of photographs of frogs by A.H. Nelson.

I imagine that The Lullwater Review must have a pretty astringent submission process to distill its slush pile down to such a small and well formed collection of pieces. Ten poems, and three prose pieces. That is pretty darn concentrated. Still, within the ten poems on offer, except for a predisposition for free verse, there is considerable diversity. Sweeping views of Delphi (‘Delphi by Dellana Diovisalvo) sit alongside Lynch-esque psychedelia (The Empire State Building by Deborah H. Doolittle) and martini philosophy (The Third Martini by Gaylord Brewer). The strength of voice throughout these poems binds the magazine together as quite a startling cacophony.

My personal favourite is the final poem in the volume, ‘With the Colonel Historians’ by Peter Richardson, exploring the impossibilities of colonial nostalgia. The language is so excitingly simple: ‘we’d miss them in the way / we say we miss typewriters’.

A little further afield from Emory lays The University of Georgia in Athens, which publishes The Georgia Review. There can’t be much of a rivalry going on, seeing as managed to pick up the Summer 2010 edition at Emory’s bookstore. Significantly bulkier, the overall look of the magazine leans more toward the classical. Inside, there is an absolute array: as well as poetry and fiction, there are essays, reviews and a glossy, colour section of art work. Truly a volume to keep you reading all summer.

Upon digging in, I went straight to the poetry. I know, I know… I should try and broaden my reading horizons, especially as short stories don’t ask you for too much commitment. Anyway, there seems to be a thread of conversational tone and an almost prose-poetry sympathy for the longer line throughout the  poems, including the special feature sequence, ‘Cadaver, Speak’ by Marianne Boruch. In truth, the poems just were not to my taste, but that isn’t to say they won’t be to yours. They weren’t weak pieces by any means, but I’m still struggling with the seemingly American predisposition to a stream of speech/ consciousness in a poem, it seems so uncrafted.

The Georgia Review‘s strength lies in its reviews and essays. The reviews of the new Winnie the Pooh and Kent Meyers’ great essay about the outlaw in literature were my unexpected highlights. The extensive reviews of books about Tibet will certainly be a useful guide when I’m preparing for the Dalai Lama’s visit to Emory.

This pair of magazines make excellent companions, and it’s good to see publications co-existing, with their own niches, in such a local area.

Do you support your local literary magazine? Or do you prefer your wordy delights to come from farther afield?

Stay tuned for part two!

*   *   *

In other news…

I’ve just begun as a web intern over at the wonderful 32 Poems, and will be blogging there too!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2010 6:53 pm

    The Lullwater Review sounds very pretty. May I beg you humbly for a copy? It may please you to know that the artwork (mostly photography) in AAA is spread throughout but not used as illustration, it all stands alone.

    Looking forward to your blogging exploits from 32 Poems! Miss you! xx

    • September 18, 2010 12:29 pm

      I was thinking about running a competition to give away these local literary magazines soon!

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