Literary Journal The Arkansas International Releases Second Issue
The spring issue of The Arkansas International, a literary journal produced by graduate students and faculty in the University of Arkansas Program in Creative Writing and Translation, will be released today, featuring writing by authors hailing from ten different countries.
This issue comes on the heels of October's inaugural issue, which Kyle Minor, author of Praying Drunk, called "the best new literary journal since The Normal School, and one of the best issues of a journal I've ever read."
"It's been thrilling to see how the journal has grown in the past year," said Davis McCombs, director of the Program in Creative Writing and Translation and recent Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, who will be stepping in as editor-in-chief of the journal next semester. "What started as a passion project, created by our students and my colleague Geoff Brock, has become an important showcase of international and American literature."
The journal features poetry, fiction, translation, nonfiction and comics from award-winning writers who are as diverse in their style and form as they are in their geography. In addition to the United States, writers from the second issue represent Japan, South Korea, Iran, Jamaica, Italy, Belarus and more. Their honors include a PEN Open Book Award, the Rome Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and their work has been reviewed by Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, NPR and The New York Times, among others.
"It's even more far reaching than our debut issue," said Brock, founding editor-in-chief of the journal and professor of poetry and translation. In his recent interview with KUAF radio, he added that the journal strives "to bring international voices in conversation with American voices. We try to create intellectual spaces where those kinds of juxtapositions can happen in a productive and interesting way."
From left to right: managing editor Anthony Blake, co-prose editor Sacha Idell (reading the first issue of The Arkansas International), and incoming poetry editor Zachary Harrod.
Sacha Idell, a third-year fiction student and co-prose editor of the journal, says the second issue is a must-read. "'Circuit City' is one of my favorite pieces," he said, citing a very short story by J. Robert Lennon. "It uses repetition and ambiguity in an unusual way for humor, and in doing so manages to scratch at much larger truths about the nature of contemporary storytelling in just a handful of pages."
The featured author, Nao-Cola Yamazaki, has a wide readership and has won top awards in her native country of Japan, but is largely unknown to American audiences. Her folio of five stories marks the most significant introduction of her work in the United States to date.
To celebrate the launch of the journal's second issue, the staff of The Arkansas International has organized a launch party on the evening of Thursday, May 4, at the Fayetteville Public Library. From 6:30-7:30 p.m., staff members will read from the current issue and copies will be available for purchase. Entry is free and community members of all ages are welcome. Those interested in contributing or subscribing to the journal may also do so through the website.
Founded in 1966, the University of Arkansas Program in Creative Writing and Translation in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences consistently ranks in the top 40 M.F.A. programs nationwide, according to Poets & Writers journal. The Atlantic Monthly named it among the "Top Five Most Innovative" M.F.A. programs in the nation. Noteworthy graduates include Barry Hannah, C.D. Wright, Lucinda Roy and Nic Pizzolatto.
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Elizabeth DeMeo, director of development
The Arkansas International Literary Magazine
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