On our Magazine Shelf this Month

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This month we’re peeling back the covers of Poets & Writers, Juxtapoz,and Ninth Letter.

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Poets & Writers is not only a great bimonthly magazine about the craft of writing, with interviews and profiles of new and established writers, and essays on the mechanics of poetry and prose, but it’s a handy guidebook for navigating the timelines and opportunities in the literary world.

Here you can find information about prizes and awards, submission calendars for conferences, fellowships, and residencies, and practical information about agents, presses, and MFA graduate programs.

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The current issue features profiles of several rising stars in the poetry world with first books out this year, among them Ricky Laurentiis, Morgan Parker, Richie Hofmann, and others. Here’s a bit from Natale Scenters-Zapico‘s profile–I’ve been enjoying her series of fascinating interviews on the Best American Poetry blog, and I can’t wait until her debut book, The Verging Cities, arrives at Literati!

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Juxtapoz showcases the “Best” of Arts and Culture, with a focus on the visual arts, fine art, and design. In Issue 181’s Letter From the Editor, Evan Pricco writes of Stephen “ESPO” Powers’s latest exhibit, which provided for Pricco, a post-Art Basel in Miami “spiritual cleanse–an artistic revival that reminds you [me] why you love all of this stuff in the first place.”

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Always looking for a spiritual cleanse of the art soul, I think sharpening the sensory receptors of the brain like so many pencils in a pleasing row (weird) is a great way to begin the year. What do we like to look at, to read, to see, to study, to listen to? Why? If you can’t exactly say, I think that’s just fine. But feel it, baby! Tune in to the proper wavelength, by looking, listening, thinking, reading.

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Speaking of those funky brain-pencils, this issue of Juxtapoz introduced me to Matt Leines, whose work contains “an eye-pleasing geometry that is seemingly ruled by its own mathematical formula.” Born with eyes that permit him to see double at will, to see in 2-dimensional flatness most of the time, the artist sees the world differently than most of us do, and his intricate, colorful images reflect that curious vision.

There’s also an interview with designers Megan Papay and Cristina Palomo Nelson, who create shoes inspired by Frida Kahlo, all of which I would personally like to own.

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And Ninth Letter‘s not your typical literary journal. Sure, it’s a discerning showcase of contemporary fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry, but each issue is a special treat–published just twice a year, in May and December, and each page bursts with outstanding visual art.

There’s even a regular column by journal staff and colleagues about the “wonders, oddities, and complexities of the Heartland.” Of the potholes on Warner Street in our fair Ann Arbor, Katherine Kendig writes, “It’s like driving on the goddamn moon.” And why, pray tell, does rapper Ludacris never sing the praises of the town of his birth, Champaign, Illinois? begs writer Michael Hurley. (University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign is where Ninth Letter hails.)

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And we’re extra excited about this issue of Ninth Letter because it features two poems from our excellent bookseller and Events Co-Manager, Mairead Small Staid. She’s so talented, we’re so lucky, and you’ll just have to pick up the issue to get a taste of her brilliant words.

–GMBA

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