import_contacts Laughing Boy Review

reviewed by Richard Luck

Published in Issue No. 5 ~ October, 1996
Editor: Nikki Morawski

I first heard of Laughing Boy Review through a spam I received from POWWOW (Poets on the Web; Writers on the Web). They said the editor, Nikki, was accepting submissions for a new literary review being put together. Always the curious one, I wrote her a letter, asking what all of the hullabaloo was about.

This is what Nikki Morawski had to say:
Laughing Boy … is an independent project founded, edited and well, everything else, by me. It is available only by mail order at this point, unless you live in the Milwaukee area and hang around my campus. Copies will be floating around here.

Laughing Boy came to be simply because I thought it would be fun. So far I’m having a blast. I’m a poet myself and thought it wouldn’t hurt to have another outlet out there for all the poets who wanted to share their work. I also wanted to keep it simple. I want the poetry and poets in Laughing Boy to speak for themselves. There will be no silly clip art scattered throughout. There will be some sort of illustration on the cover.

As you know, I do not take e-mail submissions but I will answer any questions your readers may have and take orders via e-mail.

I guess I do have one more thing to say. I pride myself in responding swiftly to any correspondence (whether it be inquiry or submissions). I know how it feels to send something out and wait and wait and wait for a reply. I had to wait 7 months to get rejected by the magazine that is associated with my school, Cream City Review, and then all they sent was a 2 inch piece of paper saying sorry I didn’t fit and that they were backed up. I can almost understand that because of the volume of submissions they get. Obviously, I receive far less and I take advantage of that. I respond to submissions in 2 weeks max and it’s often sooner. I’m very decisive. It’s simple. Either what you are doing strikes me or it doesn’t. (Is it just me or do I sound like a politician here…Anyway)

I am accepting submissions for the 2nd issue scheduled for January 1997. The deadline is November 30th.

Well, this reviewer found Number One to be a fine issue. For being self-published, Nikki has put together what has the pretense of becoming a top-notch literary journal. Roughly forty pages in length, Laughing Boy Review is packed to the gills with some of the finest poetry I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

Of note, Amanda Trostle’s Acoustic Guitar: (6 medium gauge bronze wound strings) is a tribute to, of obvious mention, her guitar. Each stanza represents a separate note, the entire compilation sounding a resonant chord.


Her tone is distant,
when she speaks

churchbells announcing sadness

She tries to imagine
what poems are like,

what poems are like

writing letters to herself,
always cold and incomplete.

Also, Jenna Weiss’s After is absolutely beautiful. A speakeasy relish, it flows across the tongue like smooth gin, it’s imagery instant and indelible.


we are taken out of ourselves,
turned skinside-out, chunked into
a blender & switched to PUREE,
then poured slowly, frothy, into
the husks of our bodies.
after this
it is hard to know what to say.

What Nikki Morawski has collected here in the first issue of Laughing Boy Review is a definitive collection of poems that though similar in vein and attack, are as various as the patterns on the wings of butterflies. And just as beautiful.

This reader hopes there will be future incarnations of Laughing Boy Review, as irregular as they may be. It is refreshing to see an editor with a real eye for quality work, yet none of the haughtiness that seems required by the behemoth highbrows of the collegiate literary community.

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Richard Luck is the Founder and Technical Director for Pif Magazine.