Kind words about Sensations Magazine, and Messineo and his staff, have been shared by satisfied customers, each year of our operation.
Here are 40 thoughts shared in writing by reviewers, supporters, and select past and present subscribers: one or two per year since 1986, plus a review to start. Originals are in our archives:
1. Richard F. Snow, Editor, American Heritage, on Sensations Magazine Issue 12, "The 100th Anniversary of Coney Island's Amusement Parks," Letter dated February 27, 1998
"Decades after its great days have passed, Coney Island still retains a ghostly hold on the American imagination, and issue No. 12 of Sensations Magazine does much to illuminate the reason why. It is not easy to evoke the combination of grandeur and tawdriness that gives Coney its savor, but Messineo and his fellow editors have assembled a splendid group of archival photographs that do just that. Here are the three turn-of-the-century amusement parks - Luna, Steeplechase, Dreamland - in the full splendor of their inaugural electric blaze, so presented as to make clear just how compelling a spectacle their freshets of electricity were to the citizenry of the new century; and here, too, the eventual death - by fire, by decline - of those parks. But their power as diversion and as portent still crackles over the island's dwindled amusement district, and this presence is captured in the text that accompanies the pictures, some of it drawn from old guidebooks and histories, some of it poems and stories commissioned by Messineo and his editors. Taken all together, the issue retrieves Coney at its hectic, exhilarating peak; it is an impressive exercise of both history and of imagination."
2. Judson Jerome, Editor, Poets Market, Letter dated October 9, 1986
"All in all, this sounds like a very ambitious project, especially with its glossy format...best of luck with it!"
3. Richard Foerster, Literature Editor, Chelsea, York Beach, ME, Letter dated July 24, 1987
"As you know, it takes a lot of dedication to get a new literary magazine off the ground, and even more to keep it flying. Good luck with Sensations Magazine."
4. Joanne Kean, Teacher, Letter dated January 21, 1988
"Thank you for Sensations. I promptly read 'Interviews Can Be Hell' to my top group, who enjoyed it thoroughly!"
5. Karl Luntta, Fiction Writer, Barnstable, MA, Letter dated June 12, 1989
"No magazine I've run into yet has taken the time and effort with their writers as you and your staff have."
6. Alan Davis-Drake, Editor, Archae, Letter dated February 26, 1990
"I am particularly pleased to be supporting the publication of local writers here in New Jersey, as well as a magazine with an international scope...I think your offer to call, along with your very generous philosophy to respond with 'personal treatment' (via individualized editorial feedback) to your contributing subscribers, is an attitude to emulate."
7. Jean Trapido-Rosenthal, Librarian, St. Augustine Historical Society, St. Augustine, FL, Letter dated February 6, 1991
"Thank you very much for sending us your recently published issue (4) of Sensations Magazine, with the section on early American poetry that you worked so hard on. The issue is very impressive...we were glad to be of some small help with the research."
8. Gretchen S. Yealy, Asst. Head, Serials Department, Brown University Library, Providence, RI, Letter dated December 23, 1992
"The Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays, part of the Brown University Library, is a nationally recognized research collection whose holdings extend from the seventeenth century to the present...the Harris Collection is interested (in all) back issues (of Sensations Magazine) from 1987."
9. John J. Pirro, Doctor of Optometry, Rockaway, NJ, Letter dated December 1993
"I have to give you the ulimate compliment: every issue of Sensations Magazine, from Issue 1 to Issue 8, has been stolen out of my office! I'm going to have to bolt down the Sixth Anniversary Issue."
10. Treva Myatt, Author, Toledo, OH, Letter dated February 7, 1994
"I hope you get a great response from other readers and contributors. Seeing my story as you printed it - a beautiful Red Letter day in my writing!!"
11. Phyllis Jean Green, Poet, Chapel Hill, NC, Letter dated January 10, 1995
"Am very much enjoying my GORGEOUS Issue #11!" (PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Issue 11 will be reprinted, for the first time in 25 years, in 2020.)
12. Baloian, Poet, Half Moon Bay, CA, Letters dated January 20 and March 15, 1996
"Thank you for sending the CONEY ISLAND issue... it is truly a work of Art...Everyone I show it to is awed by its clarity of images and its informative and creative epiphanies about an incredible experience in America. I feel fortunate to have been a part of the issue."
13. Leeander Scott, Poet, New York, NY, Letter dated May 4, 1997
"Several weeks have passed and I only now find time to thank you for the invitation to the poetry reading...it was really lovely to read right in one's own neighborhood, and to be included in representing one's own community. My friends who attended were especially appreciative. Neither had ever been to a poetry reading. They were both convinced that it would be a laborious evening full of stuffy and unfathomable poems, sort of like grade school poetry. Please know that to their chagrin they were surprisingly moved and enjoyed all that had been offered."
14. Sander Zulauf, Editor, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Randolph, NJ, Letter dated August 31, 1998
"Thank you for organizing the New Jersey literary magazine display (sales tables) at the Dodge Festival. I think it's the first time since the very first festivals - '86 to '88 - that the literary magazines have been welcomed. Good going!"
15. Dr. Leonardo Alishan, Poet, Salt Lake City, UT, Letter dated July 17, 1999
"Today I received my first issue (no. 19). Allow me to add it was wonderfully produced, extremely pleasurable to read, and the damn best $30 I ever spent!"
16. Arnold L. Miller, Ph.D., Fiction Writer, Champaign, IL, Letter dated November 1, 1999
"I am impressed with what I've read about Sensations Magazine. It must have been extremely difficult to self-publish 19 issues in 13 years without grant funding, and win the American Literary Magazine Awards three times, as well ... few of America's literary magazines still offer fiction writers the opportunity to publish stories up to 35 pages. David, I commend you for investing so much of your personal time to ensure writers such as myself have the opportunity to be published."
17. Arnold L. Miller, Ph.D., Fiction Writer, Champaign, IL, Letter dated March 10, 2000
"I'd appreciate your conveying to Marilyn Hartl and Maggie Reilly, Fiction Editors, my appreciation for the patience, professionalism, and care they put into reviewing a recent entry I submitted. I had not expected an individual critique. I certainly did not expect anyone to think I wrote well. The opportunity to read a professional critique was exhilarating."
18. Blair Ewing, Associate Editor, WordWrights Magazine, Rockville, MD, Letter dated February 28, 2001
"A tribute: I salute you, David Messineo, for all the excellent service you have rendered to the literary community and the community at large. The process of reading, judging, and critiquing poems (especially that many poems) can be exhausting and often thankless. I know, having served as an editor at various mags and as a contest judge from time to time. I can only hope that you will be properly laureled for your efforts AND for your own writing, which no doubt had to be set aside during the reading and production period. Thanks, for everything!"
19. John Graham-Pole, Poet, Gainesville, FL, Letter dated March 7, 2001
"Thank you for your most helpful critiques. I cheerfully acknowledge that you are unusual in your diligence and succinct responses to each poem. I cannot imagine making individual judgments (detailed written critiques) on 400+ poems. My hat is off to you."
20. Glenna Holloway, Pushcart Prize Winner, Naperville, IL, Letter dated March 18, 2001
"I've been invited to read my Pushcart winner at several readings - Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc. in Chicago, Evanston, and Naperville in May. I hope my Sensations Magazine will be here by then so I can read from that as well."
21. Community Relations Coordinator, Borders Books & Music, Barboursville, WV, Letter dated April, 2002
"Thank you again, David, for being our feature for National Poetry Month. We had 40 people listening in and purchasing items in our cafe, we sold some copies of your Coney Island issue - and we're nowhere near Coney Island! We're surprised - and very, very pleased. Come back anytime."
22. Governor James McGreevey, State of New Jersey, Office of the Governor, Trenton, NJ, Letter dated January 13, 2003
"Dear Mr. Messineo: Thank you for sending me a copy of your book Restoration ... It is only through the continued concern and commitment of individuals such as yourself that we may hope to provide a better quality of life to all the residents of New Jersey."
23. Doris C. Baker, Virginia Beach, VA, Author, Letters dated January 4 and February 29, 2004
"Sensations Magazine Part Two of America at War is a very good collection of writing. I like it best of all your magazines so far...and I also want to tell you the review (of my book) in Sensations Magazine, along with a good one in the Virginia Gazette were, I'm sure, the basis for a reading/signing in the Williamsburg Library Theater March 5th and another here in Virginia Beach Library March 18th. You had such a good understanding of what my book was about and I appreciate your perception."
24. Diana E. Sheets, Fiction Writer, Mystic, CT, Letter dated May, 2005
"Just got the Spring 2005 issue of Sensations Magazine where my story 'Embers' appears. It's a great issue!!!! Wonderful cover. I always enjoy reading the poetry (yours and others) - sometimes even more than the fiction. Loved your 'Doorway to Spring' photograph. I'm looking forward to when your 2004 Presidential Election issue comes out. That should make for some interesting reading." (PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The Fall 2005 "The 2004 Presidential Election, One Year Later" document launched our Sensations Magazine Supplement Series of multiple poems per page and multi-column format, and was Supplement 1 in the series.)
25. Nora Petrucci, Poet, Westwood, NJ, Letter dated May 21, 2006
"I wanted to thank you for such a lovely time at your Writer's Retreat at Avon-by-the-Sea. You put such thought and detail into it. Everything was perfect. You were so very gracious and warm - making sure that everyone was having a good time."
26. Dennis Wayne Bressack, Poet, Woodstock, NY, on the debut reading of Issue 40, "Retro," at Newark Public Library, in an Email dated January 21, 2007
"I have been meaning to get to you since the 'Retro' reading in Newark. I want you to know that you were an amazing host. The poets, the poetry, and the musical interludes were a perfect mix. Your poems, particularly the one in which you stepped into the shoes and red tie of George W. Bush, were among the most powerful and humorous of the afternoon."
27. Philip T. Carter, Fiction Writer, Sanibel, FL, Letter dated March 3, 2007
"There's not another lit mag like Sensations (Magazine). You're very exceptional ... Many listed mags depend mainly on contests with fees, with limited general submissions, or give subscribers first priority in reading ... I'm guessing that very soon more mags will be imposing fees, if for no other reason than to deter the huge numbers of writers simultaneously submitting junk. One editor of a leading mag I know said it's getting 200 submissions a week. They're overwhelmed, it's going to get worse, and something's got to give. Your model makes sense, and I'm betting we'll see others following your lead soon."
28. Leeander Scott, Poet, New York, NY, on the 30th anniversary of David Messineo's start as a literary magazine poetry editor, Letter dated October 2008
"Congratulations on your many devoted years of tireless editing. It really is a remarkable achievement. I am intimidated as to how quickly the years have flown by."
29. From the Jefferson Award for Public Service Nomination, Printed Program, June 9, 2009
"As an unpaid volunteer, David is exploring 600 years of American history during 2008, 2009, and 2010, from a multicultural standpoint, and through footnoted research is creating new insights into American history. For the past 23 years, across 46 magazine issues, he had edited and published works by hundreds of poets and fiction writers, published close to 100 research articles, and initiated and executed more than 600 cultural events, all without one dollar in Federal, state or local government grant funding, university affiliation, salary, or stipend...He is one of fewer than 20 literary publishers to sustain publication for 20+ years and a tireless champion for self-education, literature, and the literary arts in our state. He deserves more recognition for his efforts than he has received."
30. Baloian, Poet, Half Moon Bay, CA, Letter dated April 27, 2010
"Thank you for blessing me again in the distinguished pages of Sensations Magazine. I am enjoying each page...As always, the '20th Century Issue' has the impeccable touch of honesty, classiness in its presentation, and good writing."
31. Velma Jean Reeb, Poet, New York, NY, Letter dated May 19, 2011
"Thank you, David, for your latest tasteful publications - 'Presidents' and 'Silver Anniversary Sampler'. I liked reading the entire supplement and will be sharing it with good friends. (Fine poetry in both works.)...I'll be down to (coming to) Lafayette to do the James K. Polka!"
32. John J. Trause, Poet, Wood-Ridge, NJ, April 15, 2012
"What can I say? You really outdid yourselves earlier today with the recreation of the Titanic experience without the actual catastrophe. The dinner was superb, and I got more than a taste of what the best of fine dining was in 1912. For this I am most grateful. Congratulations again on 25 years of Sensations Magazine and on your going out with a bang - without the iceberg."
33. Davidson Garrett, Poet, New York, NY, YouTube comment, 2013
"I have seen David Messineo read all over the state of New Jersey. He is a fantastic poet."
34. Brett Rutherford, Editor/Publisher, The Poet's Press, Pittsburgh, PA, April 8, 2014
35. Carlo DeVito, Poet & Winery Owner, New York State, Facebook post dated June 21, 2015
"One of the things about poetry, which is also true in wine, is that it is populated from the low to the high. And there are people in both worlds who set themselves up as arbiters. Some abuse their platforms. They like to make people feel inadequate or even stupid. I dislike those people.
On the other hand I have to hand out props to David Messineo. David has been an avid writer and editor of poetry now for more than 30 years. One may grouse at his selections (as one can grouse about any editor's selections) but I have to say I laud David for the following reasons: 1. He has championed poetry for three decades as a writer and editor. 2. He has organized countless readings, and published numerous anthologies, etc. 3. He encourages others to read and write aloud. 4. He is as democratic an editor as I have ever known, publishing a little bit from almost everyone. He always encouraged anyone interested in poetry to read or write. No matter how parochial or local he remained, he has always been an enthusiastic cheerleader for the art.
So, by way of this, I thought that I might recognize him for his life long efforts and his steadfast love of this important corner of literature. And to shout out loud to all those who don't already know him, and thank him for his efforts for the past 30 years, and wish him another 30 years or more. Great job, David!"
37. Sandra Duguid-Gertsman, Poet, West Caldwell, NJ, Letter dated January 23, 2017
"Thank you for all your good, timely, and important work!"
38. John J. Trause, Poet, Postcard dated July 17, 2018
"Happy 30th anniversary to Sensations Magazine Creative Events Series, and thank you for a fun double-day of celebration, creativity, and hospitality. I look forward to seeing you again soon."
Sensations Magazine always welcomes positive feedback. We especially welcome favorable comments on individual poems and stories, which we forward to the writers of the works.
What moved you? What did you learn from our pages or events that you didn't know before?
If you have any kind words to share about our publication, or about our events, or about individual poems you enjoyed in the most recent of our publications, please send comments to:
David Messineo, Publisher/Poetry Editor, Sensations Magazine, P.O. Box 132, Lafayette, NJ 07848.
The best comments may be selected for future publication here.