The Conium Review

Two literary journals arrived in the mail last week.

One — which shall remain nameless — is pretty well known, includes work from some big names you’ve probably heard of, and includes some mildly snarky, clever, self-aware, and affected stories, poems, and essays. In short, it’s the kind of journal that all the hip kids publish in, but one that leaves me a little cold.

The other journal was The Conium Review, and it’s everything the first journal isn’t. Though I did recognize one of the names (Howie Good), the rest were all completely new to me, and their work was spectacular. Indeed, paging through the journal was like stumbling upon a treasure trove of works by up and coming writers.

Admittedly, some of the works are  odd, albeit in an endearing way. In one piece of flash fiction, for example, a young man dreams of eating glass despite the protestations of his girlfriend. In another, a sterile woman stirs up a baby in a pot of leftovers. In both cases, a distinct sense of loneliness permeates the narratives. Yes, we’re bearing witness to the bizarre, but it’s not just bizarre for the sake of bizarre. It’s a brand of bizarre that offers insight into the human condition.

And then there are the works that are just plain good. In a novelette titled “Dear Penthouse,” a fashion model struggles with addiction and body image issues to harrowing effect, while in a poem titled “Earl Grey Moonlight,” a homeowner laments the passing of the wall that once separated his kitchen from his dining room. These works alone would make the journal worth the $12 cover price, and the fact that the other works contained therein are equally engaging makes The Conium Review a journal to watch.

16 comments

    1. I forgot to mention that it’s also visually pleasing, too! They really know how to put together a quality journal.

  1. Most writers can probably name some of those “hip” journals you’re alluding to. Glad to see some editors and writers still understand the potential power of story. I wish the staff at Conium luck.

  2. Thanks so much for the update–I sent in a submission saying I saw them on Small Press Reviews and appreciate you letting others know about it.

  3. Thanks for the review. It’s hard to know which to choose and what to read with so many publications these days. Nice to know where to look for up and coming writers!

  4. Thank you for the review–I’ll have to pick up a print copy (The Conium Review now publishes flash fiction as well–they call it the “Online Compendium).

    The website for this publication is also sharp, a plus for submitters/contributors, such as myself.

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