• The Iris Review

Review of Azahares

Azahares is a Spanish language magazine from the University of Arkansas- Fort Smith. Its self-described purpose is to provide a space for writing in the Spanish language and about Latino culture. It is named after the azahar, which is an orange blossom. It represents “new life and purity” which the work of the magazine is meant to capture. It highlights the work of students, but also accepts submissions from “all members of the community.”

I accessed the magazine online, via their website, where there is a PDF flip through copy of the print magazine. It is the 2017 edition, to be published in print in spring of 2018. The cover is probably one of my favorite aspects of the magazine. It is very eye-catching with the orange and white contrast and the blossom drawing. It’s very modern, while also maintaining the theme of the orange blossom and the folksy theme of the magazine in general.

I chose to include several of the visual pieces from the magazine, because they were very vibrant and on-theme. The magazine specifies that it is meant to represent Latino culture and experiences and this really came through in the visual art, with the bright colors and classic Latino art feel. The photographs detailed some architecture in Mexico that is unique and beautiful. All of the visual pieces were well placed and didn’t seem to make the magazine too busy.

I chose the piece “Tierras Lejanas” because of its unique use of space. There were several pieces in the magazine that use space creatively, but this piece was unique within the magazine and unique within what I have read generally. The piece uses space to indicate time and emotions that are different from the other parts of the piece. The writing was very refreshing and young, speaking about adjusting to life in a big city and owning one’s own independence.

Overall, I didn’t have a whole lot of criticism of this magazine. It was shorter than I would have liked. I liked it so much that I wanted more of it. But, it stated its purpose and stuck to it really to it in a very unique way. There are not many magazines that I’ve encountered that have such a strong theme like this one. Writing in one language about one culture is such a bold move for a magazine and I thought it was executed so well.

The way that some of the poems were justified on the pages seemed odd to me. Many of them were stuck in corners rather than the center of the page. It seemed purposeful, but it looked a little off during my initial flip through of the magazine.

As far as the content, it was very poetry heavy with only a few real prose pieces and one prose-poem hybrid. All of the writing was fantastic, but it was a little unbalanced in that regard. I really liked how the magazine included some information about the contributors and their backgrounds.

Beyond the content, I was really struck at how artistic and poetic the magazine itself was, from the cover to the information about the name and purpose to the quote on the back cover. The physical magazine really served as a frame for the content of the magazine in a way that I haven’t seen before. There was a very clear message and form that the magazine adopted that really made it all come together nicely.

Things I would adopt from the magazine to ours for the future would be the modern design of the cover and how vibrant it is. I think we should also consider achieving the magazine digitally in addition to the print version.

Website: https://class.uafs.edu/languages/azahares

-Madison Davis, editor

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