GAIL POOL, one of two top editors of New Boston Review , a quarterly journal that resembles The New York Review of Books , draw no salary either. Like Ploughshares NBR carries some advertising. The circulation is 10,000 copies, about 7000 of them closed (that is, free). Pool and co-editor and novelist Juan Alonso are about to mail letters to those 7000 people, asking them to subscribe for money - four issues for $3, probably the best literary bargain in this part of the world.

New Boston Review was born in 1975 and seems to thrive on taking controversial, if not iconoclastic, positions. for example, Brandels professor Milton Hindus, in the course of a long essay on Irving Howe's World of Our Fathers , called it "an obese picture book for the coffee table." (Pool says "The Yiddish press agreed.") Matthew Anatole Gurewitsch wrote in a recent issue that Sarah Caldwell's hallowed Boston Opera COmpany exhibits "miserable artistic judgment, colossal vulgarity and unstinting laboriousness." IN the same issue Katherine Kovacs comes down hard on Jorge Luis Borges for his support of Argentine strongman General Jorge Videla.

New Boston Review used to run a feature in which pseudonymous writer (Boston Globe arts columnist Robert Taylor) H. Bibesco "launched" with an assortment of literary figures, living and dead - a brilliantly funny series. The letters column, in the best tradition of such journals, further feuds among the literary and the academic set. New Boston Review is not about to go under.