From the Stacks: April 13, 2007

Utne Reader‘s library is abuzz with a steady flow of 1,500
magazines, newsletters, journals, weeklies, zines, and other lively
dispatches from the cultural front that are rarely found at big-box
bookstores, newsstands, or even online. So we share the highlights
(and occasional lowlights) of what’s landing in our library each
week in ‘From the Stacks.’ Check in every Friday for the latest
edition.

Since the very early days of the war in Iraq, detractors have
invoked the memory of the Vietnam War to convey a heightened sense
of momentous danger. A new magazine, The Deadly Writer’s
Patrol
, adds to this discussion and others by providing ‘a
forum for writings that originate from the Vietnam experience.’ The
magazine, published by the Madison, Wisconsin-based group of the
same name, is comprised of veterans and non-veterans who began
exploring creative writing techniques nine years ago at the city’s
Vet Center. In the current issue (#3), several pieces are written
in the voice of American soldiers in Vietnam; others are more
unexpected, like the remembrance by Vietnamese-born Phan Nhiên Hao
of his father, a soldier killed in the war. There’s also a
diary-like exposition by a US soldier serving in Iraq, as well as
poetry and fiction. — Danielle Maestretti

What happens when you pair
an artist with a director, a poet with a painter, and a writer with
a photographer? The spring issue of
Bomb,
that’s what. Based out of Brooklyn, the 26-year-old nonprofit
magazine features oodles of artist-on-artist interviews with a
sprinkling of fiction and poetry. The latest issue (#99) is
available in four different covers, each a slightly different
watercolor created by artist Ellen Berkenblit. Fellow painter Amy
Stillman offers explication inside with a piece on Berkenblit’s
work, detailing such heady notions as Freudian slips and the
concept of ‘knowing.’ Overall, Bomb is a great read for
culture snobs, highbrow museum types, and those who simply like
learning about new art and creative literature. — Mary
O’Regan

‘[T]he past used to be in the past but now it is in the aspen
grove,’ says the opening poem from the Winter/Spring issue of
Fence. This biannual nonprofit literary
journal from New York City has seen many ups and down, mostly due
to financial struggles. But for the past nine years, it has managed
to put out little-known yet important creative works of poetry and
fiction. The pieces might seem intimidating at first, especially
the current issue’s choppy verses about astronomy, poetry in
‘mistranslation,’ and an 8-page story about an unemployed
houseguest who locks himself in a room. But the creative potential
behind the burgeoning writers makes Fence exciting. —
Mary O’Regan

One can’t help but smile
and feel optimistic when reading the youthful insights of
Skipping Stones, a multicultural
children’s magazine. Published bimonthly during the school year,
the magazine serves as a forum for cooperative creativity,
connecting young readers to people, places, and stories from around
the world. There are lessons to be learned, issues like global
warming to consider, and children’s poetry to celebrate. In the
March/April issue Heidi Heimlich writes about her autistic brother
and finding beauty in the differences between people. Elsewhere, a
teacher from Cameroon recalls his familial duties in ‘Becoming A
Man,’ a challenging rite of passage in a society of deep traditions
and gender roles. — Natalie Hudson

The Canadian magazine
Herizons illustrates that global feminism
is alive and well, though not without continuing struggles and the
occasional internal conflict. The quarterly nonprofit publication
seeks to inform the feminist community of the latest news and
campaign issues dealing with equality, reproductive rights, and
child care. The Spring edition features singer/songwriter Ani
DiFranco in an inspiring cover story about ‘hope for the American
Left.’ The issue also rallies to the cause of child care workers,
who Danielle Harder explains are integral to the educational
development of children, yet are not paid accordingly. Universal
child care, Harder writes, is seen by many daycare advocates as the
best solution to securing better wages and working conditions for
these underappreciated educators. — Natalie Hudson

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