The 2020 edition of Azahares, the Spanish literary magazine published by the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith launched this month, featuring local, regional, national and international contributors, hailing from Fort Smith to Brazil and Spain. This year’s publication is the magazine’s 12th edition.
The Spanish literary magazine is produced by UAFS students, faculty, and alumni who comprise an editorial board, a design team, and contributing authors and artists. The publication includes poetry, short fiction, photography, and art that share a theme of Latinx culture and the Spanish language. The year, the production of Azahares was funded in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
“For all of us who love the literary and visual arts, Azahares is a source of pleasure and enjoyment, a light shining on the soulfulness and beauty of the Latino experience, in all its many forms,” said Dr. Mary Sobhani, associate professor and head of the World Languages Department at UAFS. “Particularly in this time of COVID-19 challenges and crises, the crafting of poetry, short stories, and art is a gift. The arts have the power to promote well-being and harmony, to uplift hearts, and to advance the affairs of humankind, and deserve great appreciation.”
UAFS students Makaela Swinney, Roxy Wylie and Alexandria Dormois contributed artistic pieces and poetry to the publication, while senior Spanish major Yamilet Vargas Toledano served on the editorial board, gaining practical experience in bilingual copy editing as well as the logistics of producing a literary publication.
“I was so thrilled and honored when I found out that Azahares was going to publish my poem,” said Wylie. “Self-expression is especially important during this time when so many feel alone and disconnected from friends or family. It's important to feel heard and understood – known. By providing the opportunity for publication, Azahares has opened doors for me as a student that I would not have had the courage to try on my own. As a university student, it has opened the door for publication. As a human being, it has opened the door to my heart.”
Students from the Print and Publication Design class taught by Katie Harper, associate professor of graphic design, worked to create the cover art and layout design for this year’s edition. Student designers were Jasmin Vorabouth, lead designer; Megan Taylor, cover illustrator; and team members Paul Easley, Ashley Floyd, Faith Greenfield and Josh Medley.
In addition to Sobhani, the Azahares editorial board includes Dr. Ana Maria Romo Blas, assistant professor; Dr. Francesco Tarelli, assistant professor; Madeline Martinez-Santiago, instructor; Gray Langston and Lynda McClellan, adjunct faculty, all with the World Languages Department; as well as student board member Yamilet Vargas Toledano.
Azahares can be found online at class.uafs.edu/languages/azahares.