We all do it: try to trap various lit-mags in graspable cages like first tier, second tier, conservative, experimental—but I’m always interested in lit-mags that slip the trap. The Laurel Review, edited by John Gallaher and Richard Sonnenmoser, is one of these. Regularly publishing work that runs the gamut from the conventional to the eccentric, I am always impressed by the range of voices this little magazine from Northwest Missouri State presents twice a year to those in the know. Get in the know! You’ll find the feeling science of C. John Graham, the short lyric jewels of Dan George, the strange fairytale worlds of Rosalynde Vas Dias, who, in Issue 46.1, offers us a pirate without a ship, a cat-eye marble turning into an oriole’s eye, a model who literally shrinks under the gaze of a miniaturist. Such new voices comingle with those of some of our more interesting established poets: Cole Swensen, Matthew Zapruder, Troy Jollimore and Jenny Browne, to name a few.
The Laurel Review is published by Green Tower Press, which also runs the Midwest Chapbook Contest every year: the winner receives $250, a one -year subscription to the magazine, and an all-expenses-paid trip to read at Northwest Missouri State. I had the pleasure of judging this contest in 2011 and found the intriguing poetry of Elizabeth Clark Wessel. I was just as delighted by the finished chapbook: hand-stitched, turquoise green, with a terrific cover image. Check out the photo: ain’t it cool?
*Throughout Poetry Month 32 Poems will use this space to praise presses, journals, and readings series that bring poetry to us in a special way. Our hope is that we can point new fans in their direction and publicly thank editors and curators for their work. Check in with us again tomorrow for another poet’s recommendation.
Dana Levin is the author of In the Surgical Theatre, Wedding Day, and Sky Burial, which The New Yorker called “utterly her own and utterly riveting.” Levin’s poetry and essays have appeared recently in The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, APR, Agni, and Poetry. A recipient of fellowships and awards from the Rona Jaffe, Whiting and Guggenheim Foundations, Levin teaches at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and in the Warren Wilson College MFA program.