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.
If you've lost hope in poetry, a visit with Don Wentworth's Lilliput Review may do you some good. The poems in issues 152 through 154, like those throughout the zine's 17 year history, are all short. Some impart only two or three well-considered words, so you won't lose much time if you don't dig one. The verses Wentworth selects tread (for the most part) far from the traps of pretension that snare many a poem. And his thoughtful compilation places uncannily similar ideas from entirely different authors side by side. Lillie, as Wentworth calls it, features poets from all over the country, entangling them with overlapping themes. Perhaps not surprisingly, the pocket-sized charmer has been nominated for an Utne Independent Press Award in the zine category. -- Suzanne Lindgren
A book chock full of pictures of females -- unclothed! -- from newborns to 94-year-olds may not sound like a book you'd let near your coffee table. But Bodies and Souls is anything but some shady photographer's attempt at art. The book is a culmination of The Century Project, a photo exhibit that has traveled across the United States and Canada. Women of all ages, sizes, shapes, colors, and histories have posed, as they chose, for photographer Frank Cordelle. Some cover their bodies in modesty or insecurity, others appear completely comfortable in their bare skin. Often, notes from the women appear next to their pictures, the words revealing struggles with body image, abuse, disease, and other wounds healed or still open. Along with the pictures, these autobiographical captions also reveal the strength, joy, and power of the women who have participated. -- Suzanne Lindgren
Thereby Hangs a Tale's first print issue, 'The Expat Issue,' features the weird and hilarious tales born of encounters with the unfamiliar. There's 'Bad Luck,' a story about a chance meeting in New Zealand between a taxi driver, his Vietnamese wife, and two juvenile delinquents. 'Unbound' is an American woman's account of life in India, accompanied by photo-illustrations of the many hairstyles she adopted while trying to fit in. And 'How to Strip' offers a humorous guide narrated by stripper Viva Las Vegas. It was Thereby's last page that captured my heart: a profile of tiny Rebecca Panikpak Idlout Library in Nunavut, Canada, north of the Arctic Circle, which serves as a beacon to wandering explorers seeking to check their email. -- Evelyn Hampton
You may not know who Paolo Pellegrin is, but he may change the way you see the world. That's according to a profile of this innovative photojournalist in the November issue of Photo District News, or PDN, the monthly magazine for professional photographers. In 'Paolo Pellegrin and The Future of Photojournalism,' Edgar Allen Beem explains that the trend over the past 20 years favoring packed, layer-heavy photos is about to end. Look for simpler photos embracing reduction and exclusion, like Pellegrin's signature close-up portraits of mourners at the wake of Pope John Paul II. -- Jenna Fisher
With all the buzz about how climate change is affecting humans and the land, the impact on oceans is often overlooked. The Autumn issue of Blueplanet, a publication of the Ocean Conservancy, looks at how climate and ocean interact in both positive and negative ways. In 'Pumping Iron,' Andrew Myers looks at the peculiar phenomenon of desert sands landing in oceans via dust storms. The carbon-dioxide-hungry phytoplankton that result have led some to conclude that a little sand in the sea could cure the planet's atmospheric woes. But some experts are warning against such ocean 'fertilization,' calling it 'waste disposal.' Says one Ocean Conservancy director: 'Let's not trade the hell we know for the one we don't.' -- Rachel Anderson
Published by the Social Justice Committee in Montreal, the Upstream Journal aims to uncover any fouls underfoot in human or environmental rights. The September/October issue warns that both genetically modified trees and the forthcoming Chinese-Tibetan railway are poised to encroach on traditional ways by pushing out native plants and native Tibetan culture, respectively. The issue also contains an interesting pair of articles on Africa: an interview with Robert Calderisi, author of 'The Trouble with Africa,' who denounces most aid to the continent as futile; and a conversation with Stephen Lewis, the UN Secretary General's special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, who heralds the outside efforts at curbing AIDS and poverty in Africa. -- Rachel Anderson