Proceedings, Debates of the U.S. Congress
RECOGNITION OF ALASKA QUARTERLY REVIEW
(Senate - July 31, 1997)
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[Pages S8616-S8617] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] RECOGNITION OF ALASKA QUARTERLY REVIEW Mr. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I rise today to recognize a significant achievement for the literary arts in Alaska and for the University of Alaska system, in general, and the University of Alaska Anchorage, in specific. Last month, on June 8, 1997, the spring and summer 1997 edition of the Alaska Quarterly Review was recognized in the Washington Post book review section, Book World, as ``one of the nation's best literary magazines.'' That is high praise indeed coming from the Eastern press, and justified, if not long overdue recognition, of the literary prowess of the publication. In the 15 years since its inception at the Anchorage campus of the University of Alaska in 1982, the Alaska Quarterly Review (AQR) has served as an instrument to give voice to Alaska writers and poets, while also publishing the best of material from non-Alaskan authors. While the AQR is firmly rooted in Alaska, it maintains a national perspective--bridging the distance between the literary centers and Alaska, while also sharing an Alaskan perspective. This balanced presentation of views has earned AQR local, regional and national/ international recognition over the years. It is nice that recognition now also has come from a publication in the Nation's Capital. ``Congratulations for publishing one of the best among the literary magazines,'' said Carl Houck Smith, vice president and editor of W.W. Norton, in comments made in May 1994. ``AQR is highly recommended and deserves applause,'' said Bill Katz in the Library Journal. ``It is an impressive publication, comprising as diverse and rewarding an aggregation of work as a reader is likely to find in any literary journal,'' added Patrick Parks in the Literary Magazine Review. ``The Magazine has a wonderful sense of place about it, and it conveys Alaska without being parochial. It's not pushing a particular agenda. There's no coterie of writers made up of the editor's friends. The work is original and fresh,'' says contributing editor Stuart Dybek in explaining the publication's success. The review, for example, won the 1996 Alaska Governor's Award for the Arts--Alaska's highest award in the arts. Recent works in the review have been selected for or won: 1997 Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards (Anchor Books/ Doubleday). 1996 Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards (Anchor Books/ Doubleday). 1996 Best American Poetry (Scribner) 1995 Best American Essays (Houghton Mifflin) 1995 Andres Berger Award (Northwest Writers Inc.) The Pushcart Prize (1995-96 Pushcart Prize XX and 1996-97 Pushcart Prize XXI: The Best of the Small Presses). UAA's 1995 Chancellor's Group Award for Excellence in research and creative activity. 1994 Special Recognition Award from the Alaska Center for the Book. And numerous mentions in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Small Press Review, Best American Essays, Novel and Short Story Writers Market, and in a host of other publications. I rise today to honor the publication, not just because of its many awards, but because many Alaskans do not understand or appreciate the breadth and scope of the publication and how important it has become as a gateway for Alaskan authors to winning recognition from a wider literary audience. And also how it has helped to improve the literary quality of the works of Alaskan writers. I hope by these words, Alaskans will recognize how fortunate the 49th State is to have such a quality publication being edited and published from Anchorage. I want to thank the University of Alaska Board of Regents and the leadership of the University of Alaska Anchorage for supporting the publication. Alaska's university system has been facing difficult economic times because of falling Alaska State revenues. It has taken a tremendous commitment to academic excellence to continue the funding necessary to permit the review to be a quality publication and artistic success. The University deserves great credit for its efforts at promoting the publications in these difficult financial times. It is because of the need for more revenues for the University to permit it to reach the highest level of greatness possible that I have introduced legislation to help the University finally gain the land-grant entitlement it should have received at its founding. I hope that this Congress will look favorably on my bill, S. 660. The [[Page S8617]] University of Alaska Land grant bill, to help the University gain the economic means to support such important endeavors. But more on that in the future, following committee review of the legislation, likely this fall. I also want to thank and publicly recognize the work of Ronald Spatz, the executive editor and founding editor of the review for all of his efforts on its behalf. Mr. Spatz, currently professor and chair of the University of Alaska Anchorage's Department of Creative Writing and Literary Arts and director of UAA's honors program, has been a member of the faculty since 1980. A professor, who has been recognized with commendations for ``Outstanding Leadership'' by the University's Board of Regents and the President of the statewide system, Mr. Spatz is the former chair of the University of Alaska Statewide Assembly, president of the UAA Assembly and the vice president of the Faculty Senate. He is the winner of two university-wide teaching awards: The Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award presented by the UAA Alumni Association. Mr. Spatz, a film maker and writer, besides editor, has produced, directed, photographed and edited a range of short subject and expressionist documentary films for children and adults. Several of the films are in national distribution; his film, ``For the Love of Ben,'' was broadcast nationally on public television and his stories and articles have appeared in a host of publications. He has received a total of more than 35 individual and project grants for his works. For the future, due to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which has provided three major awards (grants) to the publication, AQR this fall will be issuing a special anthology. ``Intimate Voice, Ordinary Lives: Stories of Fact and Fiction.'' Mr. President, Alaska, in fact all of America, is far richer artistically because of the review's presence over the past 15 years. It truly is a window for Americans to view society in Alaska at the close of the 20th century, and a worthy stage for the serious works of all writers. I commend it and its contributors for its many achievements, and I know all members of the U.S. Senate join me in wishing it continued literary success. ____________________