ECU poetry magazine reaches 25-year anniversary
(Nov. 24, 2003)
Tar River Poetry, ECU's poetry magazine, celebrates its silver anniversary this year with a double edition that includes an interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Henry Taylor.
The publication, which began in 1978, has grown from its original format of poems and book reviews to include essays on poetry and profiles of poets. The magazine's audience has also expanded, said founding editor Peter Makuck, an ECU English professor.
"It's changed in that its readership has widened," he said. "A lot more is known about Tar River Poetry. We have increasingly been attracting poets of national stature."
Makuck, who was originally hired to establish the magazine, said from the start he set the bar high for reviews and works. The poetry-only format cleaved a unique niche in the literary magazine arena. Published twice a year, TRP receives about half of its budget from its 700 subscriptions and the other half from the English Department.
Most literary magazines have a life span of five to six years, due to monetary refinements and budget cuts, Makuck said.
Makuck attributes the longevity of the magazine to the continued support of both the community and the university.
"I'm happy that ECU has been able to support us all these years," he said. "It's important for the university in many ways. A lot of people know ECU — not because of the football or basketball team Ð but because of Tar River Poetry.
"It's a wonderful advertising tool, an excellent way to advertise that aspect of East Carolina University. When I've gone to college campuses for poetry readings, people come up to me and want to talk about Tar River Poetry."