I do love a literary journal that doesn't take itself too seriously. When the folks at Conduit sent me the most recent copy of their journal (their "brandspanking new, twenty-second edition," as they called it), they included a note that said, in part, "I hope you enjoy Conduit, and if you do, please spread the good word. If you don't, please keep it to yourself. Ha."

That same unexpected humor permeates the journal, a long skinny magazine with long skinny columns of type--almost like a newspaper, but on stiff paper, and with bright illustrations. Conduit is published in St. Paul (though Google says Minneapolis) and has been around since 1993, publishing primarily poetry, some prose, and interviews with interesting people who may or may not be writers.(In the current issue, Philippe Cousteau Jr. and David Gessner, a scientist and nature writer.)

Everything about this journal is unexpected, from its odd skinny shape, to its quirky humor (even buried in the fine print: "Conduit will arrive at your door to much fanfare. Please forewarn your neighbors" ), to its peculiar letters to the editor (are they real? I cannot tell), to its flamboyant Web page.

Issues are themed, and I guess you could compare it in some ways to Granta magazine, which also publishes themed issues that combine poetry and prose, though really it has an entirely different feel. It's mouthy! It's bizarre! But it also has some great poetry.

The current issue, "Deep Water: You, Me and the Sea," contains work by Brad Liening of Minneapolis, by writers from across the United States, and by writers from Paris, Serbia and Mexico.

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From sea to shining sea (with laughs)