Mississippi Review has improved immensely in layout since 1997. The zine has gone from a blurred mess to a crisp, professional look. At times in the past, it seemed like the magazine was having problems deciding on style. Now it’s 1998, and the magazine looks gorgeous and sure of itself. There’s enough white space to keep the field from looking cluttered, and the color and fonts are pleasing to the eye.
The zine emphasizes short prose, some of which verges on prose poetry. Going through the archives, one can find painting, interviews, poetry and novel excepts. The components vary from issue to issue, but the zine tends to rely mainly on prose. The only issues that prose does not dominate are special issues, especially the contest issues that split evenly between prose and poetry.
A great majority of the literature is high quality, weighty and meaningful. A few stories felt a tad bit forced, with characters pulled by the law of chaos, committing random acts without reason. However, I found my biggest disappointment in the inclusion of a David Kirby poem among contest winners. I had the unfortunate luck to hear Kirby read his poetry in person – prosy, juvenile stuff dressed up as poems.
As for illustrations, photos are plentiful and, for the most part, complimentary to the zine, especially the Lego man on the content page of May’s issue. However, some of the photos are totally incongruous and non-artistic, making the reader wonder why these were even included. One photo looked like a far-off shot of a lecture given in an auditorium and had nothing to do with the material with which it was paired. It looked like it was put there to fill a photo quota.
Of course, a review of Mississippi Review would not be complete without mentioning the voluptuous links. You will be amazed at what you find here, and not merely literature sites. It’s worth exploring.
All in all, despite a few deviations of taste, Mississippi Review is a quality zine, with worthwhile literature and a format that pleases. I have it bookmarked in my favorites. Check it out.