Talking River Review: 25 years later

Carter Johnson, Reporter

Starting a college club is something people think of doing, but either the idea never gets off the ground or it just plain flops.
That was not the case for Jim Hart when, 25 years ago, he started LCSC’s literary journal, Talking River Review. His primary motivation? Himself.
Talking River Review started in 1994 by Jim Hart with the help of four other students. In school, the focus is typically to advance one’s mind and focus on the self.
For Jim, that was the original basis for creating the journal. “I was applying for a few writing programs and trying to pad my resume. I wanted what I wanted and I went for it.
But I also had this notion of doing something besides helping myself, helping these other people that I came to care about. Dual things were going on as far as that goes but the original base motivation was me.”
At the beginning of the journal, there was less formality than the structure of today. The first issue was put together on the patio of Hart’s house in Kendrick during a dark and misty night.
With rain coming down, the five students organized the journal for publication.
“When we started this thing we knew nothing, when we finished it we knew a couple of things.” The primary thought for every student was whether or not they would be able to pull the journal together in time.
Despite their odds, the students managed to pull it off and finish the journal before graduation. They set the stepping stone for TRR. Once they graduated, the new generation stepped forward.
“Your job is to be a cult and recruit people after you because you have to think of your future.”
During Hart’s time, he put out one issue of TRR with about 2,000 copies published.
Poems and prose were solicited for the first issue. “The problem we had was we had no plug, so we had to write to people we didn’t know and they would submit us poems and some of them were very good and some of them were not so good and the hardest part was telling people that had major poetry prizes thanks but no thanks.”
In the beginning, people didn’t know about TRR. Around 500 of the copies were used as a way to get the word out about the journal so that the public would know of its conception and existence.
Today, the journal has consistently published a copy every spring and fall semester.
The class will soon be making a website for TRR to make it more available to the public.
There will be a way for aspiring authors to submit their works for consideration of publication, a store to purchase back issues, and a subscription page. TRR will soon join the ways of the 21st century, all thanks to the early conception.
In the spring 2020 semester, TRR will publish its 25th-anniversary edition. TRR has far outlived the average expectancy of a literary magazine, lasting for 25 years with the hope for it to last 25 more.
Writers from the original publication were solicited to include new pieces for this special occasion. This edition will include a short biography of the writers and an oral history of Talking River Review.