Monthly Archives: June 2012

A Read of The Review Review

A serial publication dedicated to the appraisal of other serial publications may not seem immediately ripe for a critical look itself – or is brazenly sticking its chin out, depending upon your point of view.

The Review Review is a web-based literary publication that, simply (sic?) put, reviews other Reviews. The general scope of study is mid-level publications, rather than products of the blood-and-sweat-micropress – allthough mid-level publications such as, say, The Kenyon Review or Ploughshares, are hardly in everyone’s mailbox.

That said, The Review Review reviews the gamut, from A Cappella Zoo to Zyzzyva, with pieces that are lengthy but breezy. This isn’t abstract academic analysis but gentle criticism during which the reviewer guides you through the subject, pointing out the shine of a well-wrought verse here, the energy of narrative crackle there. The aim is for plain language that is slightly at odds with the higher-brow material. But this technique works to offer a way into serious literature for curious, general readers who might be browsing the rich shop of the Review’s neatly-indexed and searchable site.

The Review Review also features well-researched interviews, presented in edited transcript form that hum and buzz with energy. A recent posting with Sandra Allen, Managing and Essays Editor of Wag’s Revue, for instance, has a balanced mix of questions that focus on the character of the publication as well as the editor’s own opinions, fusing the two in a way that illuminates Wag’s fulsome personality as the product of its material and the people behind it.

As a web publication, the entirety of The Review Review is archived and within a few clicks, making it a true trove to dig through.

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