Spirit Lake Review, the literary magazine produced at UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County, celebrated its 19th edition with a return to an in-person launch event. The literary journal has been holding launch events on campus to roll out each issue’s content and contributors since its first issue in 2003. After a two-year pandemic pivot to virtual launches, the 2022 rollout returned to the campus’ R.G. Browne Theater, with the editors, many contributors, and regular readers coming together and re-convening to share the latest online issue, and celebrate the magazine's long history publishing original creative writing and artwork.
The publication is the final product of English 2050, the class that now serves as the incubator for Spirit Lake Review. With the retirement of founding editor Kelly Dwyer in 2021, the faculty advisor torch was passed to Dr. Kara Candito, assistant professor of English at UW-Platteville, who said she is grateful and honored to continue the magazine’s nearly 20-year legacy.
“Spirit Lake Review can really be a high-impact learning opportunity for UW-Platteville students at all three campuses,” said Candito, speaking about the broad reach of the magazine. “We have several alums from UW-Platteville whose work has been actively published elsewhere that are contributing to Spirit Lake Review this year, and I hope that can continue.”
This is also the first year the Spirit Lake Review has featured the first-place award winners in UW-Platteville's Thomas Hickey Creative Writing Contest. The 2022 first place poem "99 Obstacles" by Whitney Schwindenhammer, fiction winner "Marigolds" by Dex Logan, and the wining Creative nonfiction piece "Sinkholes" by Scott Tallow, are all published in the issue.
John Markestad, who has enrolled in the class for several years as a special student and auditor, says he uses the class process to gain exposure to a wide range of submissions to help him improve his own writing.
“The magazine class gives me a real chance to read and critique pieces in a wide range of styles,” said Markestad, who has self-published five novels and has two short stories in this year’s issue.
Markestad served as master of ceremonies for the launch event, which featured more than a dozen live readings, recorded audio and video presentations from authors, and live music from singer/songwriter Gary Frisch.
The magazine’s new website spiritlakereview.com was designed by UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County student Mikayla Faivre, who has contributed to the magazine each of the last two years, and is graduating with an Associate Degree in Food and Agriculture in Spring 2022. Alongside the more than 60 works of prose and poetry in the 2022 edition, there are more than 50 other visual images to navigate, including a cover featuring art by author and graphic artist Jesse Lee Kercheval.
Even though the publication is exclusively online this year, the hope is to return to a print edition in 2023, and to keep up the tradition of launch events every year.
“It’s great to be back, in a room together, celebrating art,” said Candito in her closing remarks at the event.
The new issue of Spirit Lake Review is available through the website spiritlakereview.com. An archive of older issues is posted, as is more information on contributors and on upcoming issues. Updated news on the magazine, including the next submission process is also available through the magazine’s Facebook (@spiritlakereview) and Instagram (@spiritlakeboou) channels.