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Creativity

 

Annual Manastash Literary Journal Offers Students Opportunities to Publish and be Published
By Angelina Valdez

History of the Manastash Literary Journal

The Manastash Literary Journal was published for the first time in 1990 by professor Joseph Powell and graduate student Shannon Hopkins. Since then, an annual literary journal has published a variety of student’s work, including poetry, nonfiction pieces, fiction pieces, hybrid pieces, graphic narrative pieces and visual art.

I reached out to Shannon Hopkins, who is now a professor in the English department at the Yakima Valley Community College and asked her about what inspired her to embark on the ambitious journey of starting this journal. Shannon said “I felt Central had the potential for a vibrant creative writing program with some fine talent (Joe Powell being one example) at the helm. We needed a vehicle for the aspiring writers in the department, and so I decided I was going to create a journal, whatever it took”. She continues by telling me about the tremendous hard work and effort she put into creating this literary journal from scratch. “It took a lot! Joe told me he would support me as a faculty advisor, so I set off about campus, looking for funding wherever I could find it”. The hunt for resources that were unheard of at Central at the time was something Shannon struggled with, but with a vision in mind and a strong belief in the potential of our university, she was determined to make it work. “I went into town and garnered support from local businesses. Our tiny pot of cash covered printing of a basic little journal in black and white, the very first Manastash, put together on my Mac Classic computer in my tiny apartment where my bed doubled as an office chair. I still have the original wood press print we created as we considered the first cover”. The hard work and dedication that Shannon put in brought along with it a legacy of writers and artists who use Manastash to display the talent our university holds within. “I can’t tell you how joyful it makes me to know that Manastash lives on, brought to life in every new issue by people like you who provide a much-needed space for literary voices” Shannon states. This literary journal is a huge symbol of student work and achievement at this institution. Started by one daring student and continued for nearly 30 years by a new team of students every year, committed to the legacy of Manastash.

 Publishing Procedures

This magazine is unique as it is published and put together by a team of CWU students. I asked a student who has worked on this journal for the current publication as well as the last publication, Kate Williams, to walk me through the process of the journal, from getting into the circle of students who put this together, to the final design and publication.

Kate Williams is a Professional and Creative Writing major in her senior year at CWU. She started working on the journal team last publication season for her practicum requirements for her major and enjoyed it so much that she decided to come back and join for a second year.

It starts with the selection of the literary and art pieces that have been submitted by students, something that Kate says was a great learning experience for her. “The biggest thing from the editing point of view is learning how to view things from a critical angle”, something that she points out as being challenging at first. “I think in a lot of our experiences with writing we get into the habit of finding the good in every piece, but when you’re making selections for a journal you have to establish some standards and be honest about what just doesn’t make the cut, which is counterintuitive at first as I really try to be positive”. This process is a fantastic opportunity for students who would like to work in the publishing field someday, as it is, as Kate points out, the first opportunity for a welcomed critical lense to be placed upon their fellow students work.

Kate then continues to tell me about the design of the journal, which she describes as “a whole different side to the writing experience!”. “We’re mostly writing majors so most of us don’t have experience with programs like InDesign or Photoshop so it’s great to have that experience”. This opportunity that is available for qualifying students is a dedication, but an experience that is a unique learning opportunity and alternative to the normal classroom lecture. Having a diverse form of education styles is beneficial to everyone from the professors, to the student publishers, to the student submitters, to the readers who have the opportunity to witness the showcase of talent from our students writers and artists.

Student Submissions

Being on the other side of the journal process is something that can be a first-time experience for many student submitters as well. The submission process is something that has potential to be quite intimidating; getting your work to match the specific style, technique, and theme that a publisher is looking for is a challenge that Manastash helps students prepare for. While this literary journal goes through many of the same processes that any other outside publisher does, the supportive staff, the in-depth instructions, and the fact that this journal is ran by your peers is something that often eases the anxiety that comes with the vulnerability of submitting your work for publication.

I asked a student, Karaline Stamper, to tell me about her experiences with the journal. Karaline is a senior transfer student majoring in Professional and Creative Writing who had her poems ‘sequel’ and ‘Let’s Not Talk About the Roses’ published in last year’s Manastash Literary Journal. “I love that my work found its home in the Manastash!” Karaline states. “There's a community that's been created by the journal, and meeting so many talented individuals and getting to read my work alongside them has been one of the coolest experiences”. Karaline refers to the Manastash LIVE! event held by the faculty advisor where some of the writers whose work was published that year are asked to participate in a live reading of their work. Karaline goes on to tell me about how this is not her first time being published, and not her first time being published to a school literary journal, but that the experience Manastash gave her after the publication, with the scheduled readings and connection with fellow writers and artists, solidified the feeling of having that community of within those published.

Manastash Literary Journal is open, free submission, and available for any CWU student. The requirements, submission instructions, submission deadlines, and any further instructions can be found on the CWU English Departments website. Publications come out in Spring quarter and will be available free for students in the CWU English department. So step out of your comfort zone, embrace the vulnerability of submitting, and consider the Manastash Literary Journal for the new home of your visual and written art.

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