Reviews of FWJ
Issue 5, Fall 2009
NewPages.com reviewed Fifth Wednesday Journal on April 1, 2010
Review by Lynley Sharp, Utah State University
Fifth Wednesday Journal provides readers a wide selection of fiction and poetry, as well as photography and a nonfiction essay. The journal’s goal, “Defining literature. In real context.” is achieved in this issue by examining people in a variety of places and situations. Featured poet, Michael Van Walleghen, creates colorful and almost tangible images of different stages of his life. “The Golgotha Fun Park” reads,
It’s hard to believe
this whole dead universe
fun park junk,
and rusting now
all around him
in the weeds,
was heaven once.
The choppy layout of this poem on the page completes the image he creates of his discovery of an abandoned Christ-centered fun park. An interview with Walleghen also provides us with his ideas about poetry and its functions in his life. He says, “I’m just trying to construct a coherent, interesting narrative.” His narratives allow him to explore his connection to place and time or “conflate past and present.”
Issue 4, Spring 2009
NewPages.com reviewed Fifth Wednesday Journal on December 15, 2009
by Sima Rabinowitz
“Defining literature. In real context.” is how Fifth Wednesday describes itself, making smart use of the multiple layers of meaning these terms evoke (I especially like “defining,” which works grammatical overtime). That said, I’m not sure what this actually does mean. What I do know, thanks to publisher Vern Miller's Editor’s Notes, is that each issue is guest edited (fiction editor this issue is J.C. Hallman and poetry editor is Nina Corwin); in this fourth issue the journal has now added a section of book reviews; and the magazine feels “obligated” to bring readers some new voices in literature. Alongside these emerging voices, Issue 4 also includes a poem by the incredibly prolific and popular novelist and poet Marge Piercy and award-winning poet Arielle Greenberg. An interview with Greenberg opens the issue.
Issue 1, Fall 2007
NewPages.com reviewed Fifth Wednesday Journal on March 19,
by Mary Baken
In the first issue of Fifth Wednesday Journal, publisher and editor Vern Miller provides a brief explanation for the origin and purpose of creating this new literary magazine. Established as an extension of a group of “literary pilgrims,” known as the Fifth Wednesday Writers, Fifth Wednesday Journal’s primary purpose is to reflect “a wide spectrum of styles,” and will therefore institute a rotating series of guest editors who will have “maximum latitude” in their editorial choices. The journal hopes to encourage both well established and new writers by reading submissions “blind.”
I was thoroughly encouraged by Miller’s introduction and was therefore absolutely determined to love Fifth Wednesday Journal, but the truth is, it took me awhile to find a submission I particularly liked. The journal is huge, a total of 185 pages, including one interview, approximately 29 poems, 13 short stories, 2 nonfiction compositions, and 1 very brief photo essay.