by Ben Sheffler
On a perfect spring evening, Pensacola State College English Professor Todd Neuman delivered a short but powerful speech on continuity, which he tied into the current issue of The Hurricane Review, a regional literary magazine produced at PSC that receives poem and short story submissions from around the world.
“All these little pieces came together,” Neuman said of producing the magazine, “almost like magic.”
After a year of careful work, the 2013 edition of The Hurricane Review was unveiled before a packed room of people on March 22 at The Open Book, a non-profit and volunteer-run bookstore that supports the Prison Book Project.
The magazine contains works from 33 professional and amateur writers, including 55 poems and one “Quentin Tarantino-like, pulp fiction” novella, according to Neuman.
“It’s a really compelling story, it hooks you,” said Lauren Massey, editor-in-chief of this year’s magazine. “It’s a little rough, but that’s what gives it appeal.”
Massey went through 100-200 submissions to come up with the content of the magazine, with her main criteria being just a “gut-feeling,” she said.
Although Neuman, who offered editorial assistance to the magazine, did all the talking, the night belonged to Massey and Kevin Aitchison, the magazine’s graphic designer.
“Because funding comes from Student Activities, it’s really important that students take full control of the entire process, and Lauren and Kevin did an outstanding job of moving the process forward from conception to fruition,” Neuman said. “I’d also like to give some credit to Deanna Brooks, who worked with Kevin and Lauren on parts of the magazine.”
Massey humbly yet excitedly opened the box containing their finished product, then passed the magazines out to everyone.
“It was spectacular,” Massey said. “It was really good to see what we’ve been working so hard on for a year.”
While Massey receives credit for compiling the magazine, she is the first to acknowledge the others who made it all doable.
“It couldn’t have been possible without Kevin,” Massey said. “He was a great person to bounce ideas off of.”
Massey pointed out “Todd deserves a lot more credit than he gives himself.”
“I just open up opportunities for students to be successful,” Neuman responded.
This was Neuman’s first year working on “The Hurricane Review,” a job that he volunteered for.
“Without Todd stepping in, the magazine would be dead,” Massey said. “I’m thankful he did, and for the opportunity he gave me.”
Neuman also thanked the West Florida Literary Federation for their support.
“Each year they offer a scholarship to the new editor of The Hurricane Review, and that demonstrates deep community commitment to creative writing in Northwest Florida.”
The Hurricane Review originated in the mid 1980’s when Walter Spara, a former English professor at PSC, decided to put his love of poetry and short stories into a collection of works written mainly by students in his creative writing class.
Back then, Spara called the magazine Half Tones to Jubilee, a phrase coined from one of his poems. Spara collaborated with Allan Peterson, a former art professor and head of Visual Arts at PSC, to create the layout and design.
The magazine has changed dramatically over the years, but its devotion to the written word is as strong as ever.
“The content is particularly strong in this issue,” Neuman said. “I think Walter Spara would be proud.”
Copies of The Hurricane Review can be purchased for $4 from Neuman, while supplies last, and submissions can be mailed to the English and Communications Department at PSC.
For more information, contact Todd Neuman at email@example.com.