by Max Brantley
The University of Central Arkansas has added another well-thought-of publication to its range of attractions. Joining The Oxford American at UCA is the on-line literary journal "Exquisite Corpse: A Journal of Life and Letters." It was founded and is edited by author Andrei Codrescu, known also for his commentary on NPR. At UCA, the publication will add a glossy annual to complement its web presence.
UCA's financial commitment will be to pay to print and mail the annual edition, a spokesman said. Codrescu will be on campus periodically for meetings and to talk to students. He'll be an artist-in-residence at UCA in the spring.
Major literary journal moves to UCA
CONWAY, ARK. -- Exquisite Corpse: A Journal of Letters & Life, founded and edited by celebrated author and National Public Radio commentator Andrei Codrescu, is now based at the University of Central Arkansas.
This legendary literary journal has been a major icon in contemporary American literature for more than twenty-five years. Founded in 1983, it has been edited since then by the celebrated author and NPR commentator Andrei Codrescu. Originally designed as an avant-garde national literary journal showcasing experimental writing, the Corpse quickly evolved into a progressive forum for all literary genres, including literary translation, interviews, critical theory, drama, polemics and politics, artwork and photography, and reports from various outposts of global dystopia. After fifteen years of promoting both emerging and established voices while maintaining a healthy attitude for weighing in on the burning issues of the times, Exquisite Corpse moved from a primarily NEA-funded print format to a cyber format (www.corpse.org) in order to pioneer the online literary journal. UCA writing professor Mark Spitzer was part of this transition, which allowed the Corpse to reach hundreds of thousands of readers and expand its scope and voice into an international sphere, with contributors and readers from all over the world.
Now, through the Department of Writing in UCA's College of Fine Arts and Communication, the print Corpse will be reborn at UCA -- this time as a brand new glossy-covered, 150-page annual to complement the website. The Exquisite Corpse Annual will create excitement in the literary world and provoke a new generation of literary excellence in Arkansas. Under the guidance of Editor-in-Chief Andrei Codrescu, with Spitzer as Managing Editor, and UCA writing professor Terry Wright as Associate Editor, the Exquisite Corpse will enhance UCA's position as a leader in the arts.
UCA is already home to The Oxford American, a national magazine dedicated to featuring the very best in Southern writing, and the winner of two National Magazine Awards.
"This move is mutually beneficial: UCA gains by associating with a well-known literary magazine, and the Exquisite Corpse gains new life in print, as a book," said Codrescu. "The online journal will continue its work, and it will aid the Annual by sharing writers and publicity. The new Exquisite Corpse Annual will be editorially independent, managed by Professor Spitzer under my general editorship, and its presence in Arkansas will doubtlessly stimulate an association with local writers and artists. The first issue of the Exquisite Corpse Annual will continue publishing well-established names, among them Diane di Prima, Bill Berkson, and Aram Saroyan, while promoting less known ones. Join us in welcoming the Corpse to its new home."
Writers featured in the Corpse include Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Diane di Prima, Hunter S. Thompson, Ed Sanders, Robert Creeley, Robert Bly, Wanda Coleman, Anne Waldman, Jean Genet, Pete Seeger, Jan Kerouac, Hayden Carruth, Ted Berrigan, Anselm Hollo, Edouard Rodity, Carl Djerassi, E.M. Cioran, Tom Clark, Mike Topp and hundreds of other playwrights, poets, fiction writers, essayists, reviewers and journalists. Works in the Exquisite Corpse have won Pushcart Prizes and have been featured in numerous best-of anthologies. There have also been three acclaimed anthologies of selected works from the Corpse, one published by City Lights, the other two by Black Sparrow Press.
"UCA's College of Fine Arts and Communication and the Department of Writing are very pleased that this wonderful opportunity and publication known as The Exquisite Corpse will soon arrive at UCA and offer so many learning and professional experiences to our students and faculty," said Rollin Potter, dean of UCA's College of Fine Arts and Communication. "It is truly a great marriage!"
"The resurrection of the Corpse as a print journal marks another era in a legendary tradition that just won't die," Spitzer said. "To have this happen in Arkansas is one of those unexpected-but-welcomed events that can change the culture of a people and affect their quality of life in a highly Surreal way. I am honored to play a part in establishing Andrei Codrescu's mythopoetic brainchild at UCA. Expect excellence!"
Romanian-born poet Andrei Codrescu has published, edited and translated nearly forty books, including Jealous Witness, The Blood Countess, Casanova in Bohemia, Alien Candor, and more. He is a regular contributor to NPR's "All Things Considered," the MacCurdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University, and a winner of the prestigious Peabody Award for his movie Road Scholar. Codrescu now lives in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.
Mark Spitzer is the author of nine books, including the novel Chum, the poetry collection Age of the Demon Tools, and various literary translations. A former Assistant Editor of Exquisite Corpse, he taught Creative Writing at Truman State University in Missouri, but is now Assistant Professor in the Department of Writing at the University of Central Arkansas.