UAFS Applause

Applause is an award-winning national literary journal devoted to publishing undergraduate work housed at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.

We have been publishing poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, art and photography since 1980.

Operating as usual

Applause Journal – Just another WordPress site 05/01/2021

Applause Journal – Just another WordPress site

Applause Journal – Just another WordPress site This website is not an official publication of the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, and its content does not represent the positions, policies or views of UAFS or its officers.

Our People, Our Future: Richard Blanco in Conversation | 01/22/2021

Our People, Our Future: Richard Blanco in Conversation |

Our People, Our Future: Richard Blanco in Conversation | Our People, Our Future: Richard Blanco in Conversation - Academy of American Poets staff spoke with Richard Blanco in the days leading up to his...

SUBMISSIONS | applause 11/13/2020

SUBMISSIONS | applause

SUBMISSIONS | applause Applause publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, visual art, and photography that exhibits practiced craft and polished style. We are interested in authentic and personal work that displays an understanding of craft and creativity. We want work that honors tradition and respects risks.

SUBMISSIONS | applause 11/13/2020

SUBMISSIONS | applause

Big News! Applause, the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith's literary journal is now a national journal accepting submissions from undergraduate creative writers across the country! We've re-designed our website and mission statements and as of right now we are open for submissions!!!! Our students have worked incredibly hard to make all of this happen. We couldn't be prouder of or for them. Please share the news with all of your undergraduate writers and friends teaching undergraduates!

SUBMISSIONS | applause Applause publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, visual art, and photography that exhibits practiced craft and polished style. We are interested in authentic and personal work that displays an understanding of craft and creativity. We want work that honors tradition and respects risks.

Her Kind by Anne Sexton - Poems | Academy of American Poets 11/09/2020

Her Kind by Anne Sexton - Poems | Academy of American Poets

Her Kind by Anne Sexton - Poems | Academy of American Poets Her Kind - I have gone out, a possessed witch, 05/01/2020

Student Counseling Center |

If you attended our launch party, I am sure you are aware of the uncouth Zoom hacking that happened. We want to personally apologize to each of you.

We hope that you enjoyed the rest of our party, and wish you all the best.

Also, if any of you need someone to talk to, UAFS has wonderful counselors available. Here is a link to the webpage that provides information to get in contact with them:

Thank you to all that read during our Launch, we appreciate you so so much! We hope that you all can try to have a good night.

-Love from Applause The UAFS Counseling Center is committed to treating the psychiatric, behavioral and emotional needs of the University’s students. Our licensed, caring mental health professionals understand that mental illness and disorders are real, and are here to help you navigate through difficult times. 05/01/2020

Join our Cloud HD Video Meeting now Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is the original software-based conference room solution used around the world in board, confer...

[04/29/20]   Keep an eye out for our Launch Party event! It will be posted today with the Zoom link! ❤️

[03/28/20]   Hi everyone!! We wanted to let you all know that even though the current COVID-19 situation has slowed down our progress, we are diligently working on the UAFS Applause Journal!

We are beyond excited to publish our 30th issue, and we appreciate each and every one of you!

We will keep you posted on our progress 😊

Stay safe! ❤️

-UAFS Applause Staff 03/25/2020

14 Writers Choose One Book That Gives Them Hope in a Dark Time The Hay Festival brings writers and readers together to share stories and ideas in sustainable events all over the world. These writers are all appearing at Hay Festival events over the coming mont…

[02/25/20]   Send us your fiction and nonfiction and poems. Send it. Right now. Just do it, UAFS writers alumni and current students!!


English, Rhetoric and Writing Department at UAFS

Our Applause #ThrowbackThursday selection is Great Expectations & Unbelievable Hesitations by Benjamin Campell, from Volume 9!


Yes, summer was definitely over, and fall had indeed grasped the West Coast in its grip. It was the morning of my first day of high school, or as my mom called it, "The first day of the rest of your life." I, however, was not as charged as she was. In fact, I was quite on the verge of heart failure. Number one, I was not quite complete on my physical growth. The fact was there were many 7th grade girls whom I would have had problems guarding in basketball. Number two, I was a freshman and had this sinking fear that every senior would pick me out as the example to the rest of my grade. And number three, and certainly most important, Andrea Dental was going to be attending the same school with me for the first time. She was one of the first girls to hold all of my devotion, and I hated the thought of looking like a dork in front of her.

Now, here I was walking the 30 minute trip to the school, wishing somehow that it would seem like 30 days. The air smelled damp with the sunrise, and there was a fog-like mist that hung over everything. The haze cut visibility to about 30 yards, so I could not see the road that led up to the front of the school.

When I finally began to scale the final slope, I started to see parts of the building and hear the activity. The cacophony of the long-outdated bus engines was mixed with the shrieks and calls of 1,200 kids, all of whom were up way too early. Kids the size of Detroit began to appear out of the mist.

My morning classes gave me an aura much like a death row inmate has during his last meal. At lunch I did not want to stand in line where people might try talking to me. So I proceeded to find an empty table and blend in as best I could. However, fate has always been one of my nemesis' properties. Before I knew it, three seniors, all who looked like they were linebackers for the Kansas State Penitentiary for the Criminally Insane were stationed in front of me.

I began to think of my family and the people I cared for, and in the back of my mind, I began to write my will. I was sure the three Brobdingnagian in front of me intended to make me a permanent blemish on the cafeteria tiles, or at least injure me to the point that I would be a human vegetable, being fed strawberry jello three times a day for the rest of my life.

I did have a few remaining seconds, however, to examine my surroundings. The noise in the room was deafening. One could almost imagine the roof popping off like a cork from the pressure of the sound. On one wall was a huge wildcat, which represented the school mascot and reminded me of the three huge wild animals standing before me now. On another wall was a huge poster that read in green and black letters "I.D. CARDS IN OFFICE, ALL THIS WEEK." The third wall was covered by the letters O.H.H.S. and three regional choir banners. And the final wall was home to a white board that read "Junk Food, Brain Food, and Good Food." The remainder of the room was littered with tables and chairs, except for one end of the room which was now home to six lines of 40 students each, all waiting for their lunch.

The leader of the three told me to follow him, and like the docile person that I am, I did it without argument. The truth was I was so terrified at the moment that he could have told me to "sit, roll-over, and play-dead," and I would have obliged him.

I had heard about freshman initiations: kids who were hoisted up the flag pole in their boxers, guys who were made to dress up in blouses and run across the court during basketball games screaming "Stop the Madness! I Love Bambi!" The school handbook authorized them, so they were legal.

Outside, the three led me to a wall outside the main office where one of them suddenly grabbed me and held me three feet off the ground, up against the wall. This was the first time in the entire episode that I felt slightly irate. However, the senior was controlling me with one arm like he might have held a baseball bat, so I didn't complain. The other two withdrew rolls of duck tape out of their pocket and began to apply it back and forth.

Ten minutes and two rolls of duck tape later, I was hanging freely, three feet up on the wall along the most traveled sidewalk in Oak Harbor High School. I now wished that the three had simply turned me into a living tackling dummy. I began praying earnestly that an asteroid would hit the town and kill all of us.

Yes, I sure was having a great day, but it was about to get even better. The sidewalk was the busiest in the school and it was about to be busy with the person of Andrea Dental! I am not sure what I expected her to think, but she probably had already thought it. She asked me the obvious question, "What in heaven's name are you doing?" I tried to return a cool reply, mumbling something about a science project for my teacher.

I had always looked up to Andrea, not just because I liked her, but because she stood about five inches taller than I. Now I was being held on her level of vision and I could study her without getting a crick in my neck from looking up. Her shiny black hair reminded me of a new sportscar. Her brown eyes studied me with a curious look. She had her head cocked to one side as if she was studying an animal at the zoo. I wanted to touch her, but all I could feel was the adhesive of the tape and the occasional pain as it tour hair out of my arms.

All in all, the encounter only lasted about 30 seconds. She finally turned and went on her way, leaving me to think about the possibility of joining a monastery in Italy when I finally got down. I was only on the wall for about ten minutes, but it was long enough for me to start considering spending the night there and wondering how I was going to eat.

Finally the vice-principal brought a pair of scissors that looked like tools used to sheer large goats. I am still not sure who told him about a student taped to the wall outside his office, but anyone who has administered duck tape knows how difficult it can be to remove. The process took more flesh off than the scissors could have done by themselves. The whole exfoliating process took five to ten minutes and left students across the campus wondering where the painful screams were coming from.

The rest of the day I spent reliving the ordeal and contemplating dropping out of high school and joining the military. I was worried about how stupid Andrea now thought I was. When class ended, I proceeded to the library to struggle over some homework before I went home. I found the building mostly deserted, to my relief, and I was soon engrossed in algebra problems.

I was struggling through problem 18 when someone tapped me on the shoulder. Andrea Dental was standing over me. The gum I had been chewing was gone instantly, down the back of my throat. I offered her a chair, stumbling over my words the entire time. She asked me about my math assignment and mentioned she needed help on problem 23. Soon she was deeply absorbed in her work, and I was deeply absorbed in her.

She never mentioned the tape incident. She never quaked like a duck or said things like "How is it hanging?" or "That sticks in my mind!" It was if the event had never happened. It penetrated my mind at that moment that she did not find me as inane as I had thought. I had spent the day believing my perceptions so much that it had caused me to be thrown into a state of neurosis.

I had allowed my perceptions to control my actions and had allowed the fear of what other people might think to dominate my day. There is a possibility that if I had not been so nervous that the incident with the wall might have never happened. Since then, I have been able to look back on the event and laugh at myself. I was confident going home that day that the second day of school would be better. After all, it could not be much worse!


#uafsapplause 02/10/2020

74 Ways Characters Die in Shakespeare’s Plays Shown in a Handy Infographic: From Snakebites to Lack of Sleep In the graduate department where I once taught freshmen and sophomores the rudiments of college English, it became common practice to include Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus on many an Intro to Lit syllabus, along with a viewing of Julie Taymor’s flamboyant film adaptation.


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