GREENEVILLE– Tusculum University’s international literary journal, which combines the talents of prominent and up-and-coming writers with student editors to produce compelling literature and illustrations, is back for its 18th volume.
The university’sEnglishDepartment has released the newest edition ofThe Tusculum Review, which features 34 writers and four illustrators. Kelsey Trom, The Tusculum Review’s editor and the Harriett Reaves Neff ’21 Chair of Fine Arts at the university, said this year’s product is the largest collection of works the publication has contained in several years. The reason is simple: the caliber of the manuscripts and the higher number of them submitted by authors for consideration.
With a blend of genres – drama, essay, fiction and poetry – this year’s edition continues The Tusculum Review’s tradition of showcasing exceptional material readers will enjoy.
“From our 2022 Poetry Chapbook Prize judge Carmen Giménez, now executive director and publisher of the prestigious Graywolf Press, to journalist poets like CooXooEii Black and illustrators Amiah Brown, Jay Crilley, Cecilia Ford and Hannah Smith, we continue to work with the established best and most promising emergent artists,” Trom said. “This volume is a dazzling array of talent.”
Writers, editors and awards
Many of the poets in this edition – Laura Da’, Benjamin S. Grossberg, Jen Hirt, Roberta Senechal de la Roche – have already published multiple collections, but others, such as Maya C. Thompson, are publishing internationally for the first time in this volume.
“I won’t even get into the past accomplishments of the essayists, fiction writers and dramatists in this issue, because the vibrancy of their work in this issue speaks to their mastery,” Trom said. “This year, The Tusculum Review’s longtime advisory board member, Ada Limón, was selected as U.S. poet laureate. We truly get to work with the most essential and generous writers in the current literary landscape.”
The Tusculum Review is highly selective in choosing what it will publish. One of the authors in the newest edition of The Tusculum Review is Mubanga Kalimamukwento, a multi-award-winning novelist, short story writer, poet, essayist and filmmaker from Zambia.
She is the winner of The Tusculum Review’s 2022 Poetry Chapbook Prize for her chapbook “unmarked graves,”which is reproduced in the journal’s newest edition and is available as a stand-alone chapbook with original illustrations by Brown. Kalimamukwento performed readings from the chapbook during an appearance at Tusculum in November.
The 2022 Poetry Chapbook Prize received 164 manuscript submissions, so some of the finalists for the award are included along with Kalimamukwento and runner-up Brent Ameneyro.
They and other writers in this edition follow in the footsteps of successful authors who have achieved notoriety through literary honors such as the National Book Award. These include Mary Jo Bang, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Denise Duhamel, Gary Garrison, Matt Hart, Ginnah Howard, David Lazar, Paul Lisicky, Adrian C. Louis, Nathaniel Mackey and Nicholas Samaras.
Work published in The Tusculum Review continues to win the industry’s highest awards. Irene O Garden’s essay, “Glad to Be Human: A Joie de Coeur,” published in 2011 in The Tusculum Review, won a Pushcart Prize, a 1-in-10,000 achievement.
Two writers who appeared in Volume 17, Priscilla Long and Suphil Lee Park, were on the “Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction List of 2021” in the 2022 “Best American Essays” for “After Long Silence” and “An Escape Clause,” respectively. The 2021 “Best American Essays” recognized essays from Jamie L. Smith and Robin Storey Dunn, who appeared in Volume 16 of The Tusculum Review.
Section editors for this year’s volume include Dr. Clay Matthews, author of the poetry collection “Four Way Lug Wrench,” and Dr. Desirae Matherly, author of the nonfiction collection “Echo’s Fugue” and winner of the 2019 Owl Canyon Press Fiction Hackathon.
An honor The Tusculum Review created this year is the Gary Garrison Playwriting Award, for which there were 581 submissions. The winner, Vince Gatton for his play “The Oktavist,” was announced Monday, Jan. 9. A reading or performance of that work takes place during the “5 X 10 Plays” at Tusculum’s Behan Arena Theatre in April. Due to the quality of submissions, Garrison, also chose to recognize a runner-up, Hank Kimmel, for “The End of Summer.”
“The Tusculum Review is an outstanding publication that highlights marvelous writing and illustrations while reinforcing the strength of our English Department and our commitment to support those professions,” said Wayne Thomas, dean of Tusculum’sCollege of Civic and Liberal Artsand the publication’s former editor. “It also functions as a premier outlet for active and experiential learning for our students as they become career-ready professionals through their participation in the production process.”
Trom, who is also an associate professor of English at the university, said Tusculum students play pivotal roles in the production of each issue. Those who participated in this edition are Rory Church, Tate Haugen, Mae Jones, Julene Kyle, Ethan Lau, Elizabeth Massengill, Caleb Moody, Abigail Painter, Grayson Patterson and Cole Robertsen.
“This is a collaborative endeavor in which students of all majors learn to edit and lay out work for publication, design using Adobe, evaluate and respond to submissions, correspond with authors, draft and publish reviews of new books, design and maintain websites, spearhead projects and network with writers across the globe,” Trom said. “They perform outstanding work and contribute to the high quality for which The Tusculum Review is known.”
Previous students who worked on The Tusculum Review include Justin Phillip Reed, the 2018 winner of the National Book Award for poetry, and Anup Kaphle, executive editor ofRest of World, who has served as deputy foreign editor for BuzzFeed News and has overseen digital efforts for the foreign desk at The Washington Post.
The Tusculum Review is available for sale athttps://ttr.tusculum.edu/. The cost is $15, and multiple forms of payment are accepted.