Lou Rowan says he was told the choice of name for his magazine was unwise, and perhaps the search engines will now bring a minority of ultimately disappointed visitors here too, but what the hell. It's actually a very fine journal, published from Seattle, Washington, of a kind we don't really have in the UK: featuring contemporary modernist fiction alongside adventurous poetry. (I continue to have hopes for the Cambridge Literary Review, though I feel it needs to cast its net a little more widely.)

 

The issue just out (Winter-Spring 2011, Vol I No 14) is particularly excellent – the fiction including good stuff from Toby Olson, Stacey Levine, Meredith Quartermain and Review of Contemporary Fiction editor Jeremy M Davies; work from some of my favourite poets, Maurice Scully, Rosmarie Waldrop, Lissa Wolsak and Pierre Joris' translations of Algerian poet Habib Tengour; and a mini-symposium arising out of last year's Zukofsky bash at the University of Sussex.

An important feature of Golden Handcuffs Review is its "Response" section. In this issue, this is dominated by a set of essays on the American experimental fiction writer Joseph McElroy, whose image graces the cover. Inevitably talked about in the same breath as the likes of Thomas Pynchon and William Gaddis, McElroy is actually sui generis, as his short fiction "The Campaign Trail", included in this issue – a bizarre fairy-tale featuring lightly disguised Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in the woods together – makes clear. 

I've only just caught up with McElroy's early novel Plus (1977), long out of print, a pretty "out" bit of SF, the main (only) character being a disembodied brain. I am grateful to Golden Handcuffs Review for reminding me of McElroy's existence, his mind-altering sentences and his neglect by me. I intend to repair my omissions by following up on his books – most of which are sadly hard to get, though there's a volume of short fictions just out from Dalkey Archive.

You can't as yet sample the current issue of Golden Handcuffs Review online, but we are informed that extracts will be available in April. You can buy hard copy via the website – better still, subscribe (they do PayPal now).