The University of Central Arkansas’s highly acclaimed literary journal, Exquisite Corpse Annual, is now the Toad Suck Review, and it is hot off the press.
"Our former editor-in-chief, Andrei Codrescu, became consumed by other projects, so we decided to re-envision ourselves into a similar but different forum," Editor Mark Spitzer said. "The Toad Suck Review will continue our mission of publishing cutting-edge works of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, translations and reviews, but with a less experimental edge, more of an Arkansas focus, and at a cheaper price with wider distribution."
Spitzer’s introductory editorial to the new annual publication states, "We want to invite the mainstream on board! We want to hear from the MFAs (the candidates, the graduates, the dropouts and dissidents)! But we also want scientists, hypnotists, chimney sweeps — anyone with work that works! We want scholarship, artwork, drama, hybrid mutations, and communiqués from outposts of dystopia! ... We do this for our communities and the arts. We do this to maintain our reputation for excellence. And we do this in the name of Innovation, Imagination, and literary journals that don’t suck."
The inaugural issue of the Toad Suck Review, published by UCA’s Department of Writing, contains work by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and three other poet laureates. Celebrated Arkansas writers C.D. Wright and Kevin Brockmeier are featured, as are a number of emerging and established writers. Issue #1 includes translations of poetry from French as well as Spanish and showcases artists from South America and the Netherlands.
"As of late, Arkansas has been hemorrhaging contemporary literary magazines," Associate Editor Terry Wright said. "CrazyHorse galloped away from UALR, and, more recently, the Arkansas Literary Forum lamentably closed its open discussion. Fortunately, the Toad Suck Review provides a comforting compress to kibosh the bleeding by using the metaphysical to mend the physical."
The editors intend to "keep romancing" their old audience while developing a whole new following. Subscribers to the Exquisite Corpse Annual will receive issues of the new publication, and the journal will continue to provide internships for three undergraduates per year.
Spitzer’s editorial also noted, "As in our past incarnation, we will also be a series of events. In the last three years we’ve held readings, panels, rockfests, bandfests, launchapaloozas, and have made our presence known at both national and local literary festivals. Like human growth hormones, we’ve injected a new energy into Central Arkansas — and these activities will continue."
Upcoming Toad Suck Review events include its national debut at the Association for Writers and Writing Program’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., in February, a contributor-reading/live-music night at Michelangelo’s in Conway on March 4, an editor’s panel at the Arkansas Literary Festival in April (as well as a presence at the bookfair), and a hybrid poetry slam/student band fundraiser at Bear’s Den Pizza in Conway on April 29. Information about these events will be announced on the journal’s new website at toadsuckreview.org.
If the quality of work in the Exquisite Corpse Annual is any indication of what can be expected from the Toad Suck Review, Arkansas will soon find itself with another success in the literary arts. Copies can be purchased through Amazon.com or ordered directly from Toad Suck Review/Department of Writing/UCA/Conway, AR 72035 for $15 a copy (make checks out to "UCA") or PayPal payments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Review will be in bookstores soon, both locally and nationally.
For more information, contact Spitzer at 501-450-3339 or email@example.com.