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Spanish Literature Blossoms at UAFS

Spanish Literature Blossoms at UAFS(Posted: April 15, 2013)

The 2013 edition of Azahares, the Spanish-language literary magazine at the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith, is now is available and features poetry, paintings, short fiction and photography by a wide selection of contributors.

This is the sixth edition of Azahares, which is Spanish for orange blossoms. The flowers, which show up in the spring, are emblematic of Spanish-speaking culture, according to Mary Sobhani of Fort Smith, Spanish instructor in the World Languages Department and the magazine's managing editor.

"This is a wonderful issue," Sobhani said, "I'm so pleased with the submissions. They encompass a wide variety of human experience and artistic expression. This year, we have submissions from students and community members from far and wide."

The 2013 issue presents contributions from:

Fort Smith: Martha Bieber, retired faculty; Marta Bran, UAFS staff; Andrea Lucas, UAFS student; Hannah Richmond, UAFS alumna; Jose Santillan, UAFS student; and Abigail Whittemore, UAFS student.

Durham, N.C.: Jennifer Wilburn.

Oklahoma City, Okla.: Maria Acevedo.

Quezon City, the Phillippines: John Paul Egalin Abellera.

Salem, Ore.: Michael M. Pacheco.

Santa Fe, N.M.: Andres Salazar.

"One of my favorites is a piece of short fiction titled 'Los dos compadres' by Maria Acevedo," Sobhani said. "With a stark and hard-hitting realism, Acevedo's work tells of two friends who look for food to eat for themselves and their families in one of the city dumps. They find a dead man instead. Moved by fear, as much as the hope for something better, they decide to cross the Mexican-American border."

Sobhani said Michael Pacheco's story "Renunciation" presents a bright contrast to the dark-grotesque images seen in Acevedo's work.

"This story tells a much brighter tale of the exceptional daughter of North American migrant workers," Sobhani said. "With familial love as a centerpiece of the story, Pacheco's work is particularly startling with its unexpected twist at the end, one that delightfully combines realism and science fiction."

The artwork in the magazine is equally noteworthy, Sobhani said.

"Hannah Richmond's painting 'Linternas' is striking in its colors, depicting a girl releasing her lantern into a lantern-filled sky," Sobhani said. "There's a whimsical quality in the beauty of this painting."

Several faculty members in the World Languages Department comprise the magazine's editorial board. In addition to Sobhani; the board also includes Dr. Greg Armstrong of Van Buren, department head and professor; and Dr. Brenda Ross; Madeline Martnez-Santiago; and Dr. Francesco Tarelli, all of Fort Smith, who are assistant professors.

"Azahares is a magazine that's free and available in all the Fort Smith Public Library branches as well as the UAFS Boreham Library," Sobhani said. "I think people with even a weak grasp of Spanish should pick it up and do their best to enjoy the colorful and varied nature of Spanish culture."

Article by: Frank Kelly, Public Information Specialist

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