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Literary MagNet

Softblow (www.softblow.com), the newest online poetry journal from Singapore, was recently launched by Cyril Wong, a poet who thinks literary magazines “make poets feel less alone.” This may seem either obvious or melodramatic, depending on the pace of your social life, but considering the fact that it wasn’t until 1950 that the first book of poetry in English—Wang Gungwu’s Pulse—was published in Singapore (a former British colony where English is the most common language), you can appreciate the gravity of his statement. Softblow’s editor isn’t being a blowhard when he writes that his magazine is for “those who appreciate how far poetry has come over time.” Indeed, after a slow start, the Singaporean interest in writing in English has grown over the last two decades. Softblow joins several other online literary magazines that feature writing from Singapore and around the world, including the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (www.qlrs.com), Poetry Billboard (www.poetrybillboard.com), and the 2nd Rule (www.the2ndrule.com).

What would Tom Bodett think? As the voice of those Motel 6 commercials reassuring tired travelers that “We’ll leave the light on for you,” Bodett may have something to say to Reb Livingston and Molly Arden, the editors of the online poetry journal No Tell Motel (www.notellmotel.org), whose tag line is “We’ll Leave a Poem Out for You.” Launched last August, No Tell Motel features the work of a new poet each week, a new poem every weekday. “Each year we’ll slip our room key to 52 poets and indulge in 260 poems,” the coquettish editors write. Recent contributors include Zachary Schomburg, Laura Carter, and Kirsten Kaschock.

Boulevard (www.boulevardmagazine.com), the triquarterly magazine edited by Richard Burgin in Richmond Heights, Missouri, is certainly not the only journal to publish symposiums that offer responses from contributors to questions of interest to creative writers. There’s American Letters & Commentary (www.amletters.org), FIELD (www.oberlin.edu/ocpress), and Boston Review (bostonreview.net), to name a few. Nevertheless, Boulevard’s recent symposium “On Under- & Overrated Writers” is noteworthy. Among the lively responses is a dis of Maya Angelou—overrated—by Kevin Prufer, the editor in chief of Pleiades (www.cmsu.edu/englphil/pleiades), and an appreciation of Isaac Babel—underrated—by Peter Stine, the editor of Witness (www.occ.cc.mi.us/witness). The second part of the symposium will appear in the 20th-anniversary issue of Boulevard, forthcoming in March, and will include responses from David Lehman, Stephen Dixon, Floyd Skloot, and others.

Florida’s Gulf Stream received a lot of attention during the 2004 hurricane season, but now that it’s winter, creative writers can focus on Florida International University’s Gulf Stream (w3.fiu.edu/gulfstrm), the biannual literary magazine edited by Diane Mooney. Since Gulf Stream was launched in 1989, contributors have included Ha Jin, Sherman Alexie, Naomi Shihab Nye, Dara Wier, Jim Daniels, and Stuart Dybek. A special issue titled “Florida Noir” was published in November. According to Mooney, it explores “the dark side of our Sunshine State.” Forget Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne; readers can peruse poetry by David Kirby and Melissa Fair and fiction by Preston Allen and Christine Kling in the new issue of Gulf Stream.

Kevin Larimer is the associate editor of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Literary MagNet (January/February 2005)
http://www.pw.org/content/literary_magnet_16?cmnt_all=1

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