Literary journal publishes eclectic mix of prize-winning selections
"Cimarron Review" associate editors Dinah Cox, left, and Clare Paniccia work on the quarterly literary journal in Morrill Hall. (PHOTO / PHIL SHOCKLEY)
"Cimarron Review" Editor Toni Graham
Oklahoma State University’s literary journal, Cimarron Review, is commemorating 50 years of publication in 2017.
Since 1967, the peer-reviewed magazine has showcased writers at all stages of their careers with pieces that include poetry, fiction and nonfiction from a wide-ranging aesthetic. An internationally recognized quarterly, Cimarron Review is the most long-lived literary journal west of the Mississippi.
Cimarron Review editors and staff are planning for the golden jubilee celebration with a double commemorative issue. The anniversary issue will include poet William Olsen.
In February, Cimarron Review will present a fiction and poetry reading along with a panel discussion at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Washington, D.C. The writing group will also be celebrating 50 years of service.
OSU faculty, staff and graduate students work diligently to uphold the journal’s level of excellence. Senior editors are all faculty members. The managing editors and editorial assistants are graduate students in creative writing and visiting assistant professors. English professor Toni Graham is the editor and Lisa Lewis, director of the Creative Writing Program, is the poetry editor. Poet, novelist and critic Alfred Corn serves as a contributing editor.
Associate editors Dinah Cox, John Andrews and Clare Paniccia, along with many assistant editors, are coordinating the jubilee project with Graham and Lewis, including new nonfiction editor Sarah Beth Childers.
Esquire has called the Cimarron Review “one of America’s literary roots.” The journal is known for the quality of its stories and poems and its innovative cover art from commissioned contributors.
Cimarron Review has published notable writers, including 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Muldoon (issue 150) and 2012 Pulitzer winner Tracy K. Smith (issue 174). The journal has also published Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, along with John Ashbery, Robert Olen Butler, Mark Doty, Diane Wakoski, Tess Gallagher, Richard Shelton, Richard Lyons, Rick Bass, Pam Houston, William Stafford and Grace Schulman. Recent contributors of note include short story writers Jacob M. Appel, Gary Fincke and Rebecca Aronson.
Stories from Cimarron Review have been selected for the coveted O. Henry Prize Stories, for both the 2015 and 2016 editions. Other Cimarron Review stories have been included in collections that won the Grace Paley Award for Short Fiction and the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Under Lewis’ stewardship, poems in Cimarron Review have been selected for the Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, as well as for anthologies and prize-winning collections. Nona Caspers’ story “Frontiers” in the Winter 2015 issue has been named a Distinguished Story of 2016 in the Best American Short Stories series. Caspers is also the winner of the 2016 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction from Sarabande Books.
The Cimarron Review editors were interviewed by online journal The Review Review, which describes the publication as “like the curvy Cimarron River, there’s no predicting the territory this magazine will cross.”
“As none of us was at OSU 50 years ago, I’ll just take a guess and say the journal was probably named after the Cimarron River,” Graham says. “The journal used to have a snaky river logo.”
Graham says former editor-in-chief Edward Walkiewicz explained at the journal’s 40th anniversary that the genesis focus of the literary quarterly was to “illuminate the contemporary American scene from its vantage point … in the heartland of America.”
“The word cimarron also means wild, free, spirited or unruly, which I think often defines the aesthetic of the magazine,” Andrews says. “We celebrate strange characters and places captured in poetry and prose.”
Graham expects the Cimarron Review’s next 50 years of publication will continue to be a source of pride for OSU, remaining, as New Pages reviewer John Palen described, “one of those treasures among literary magazines — a publication whose commitment to high standards keeps us honest.”
“Our editors seek the bold and the ruminative, the sensitive and the shocking,” Graham says. “But above all, we seek imagination and truth-telling, the finest stories, poems and essays from working writers across the country and around the world.”
To subscribe or donate to Cimarron Review, visit cimarronreview.com.
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Published by STATE Magazine Editor Elizabeth Keys, Winter 2016, Volume 12, Number 2
Uploaded on December 1, 2016