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February 14, 2012 > English grad students publish literary review

English grad students publish literary review

Submitted By Diane Daniel

The fourth annual "Arroyo Literary Review," a literary journal of Cal State East Bay's English Department, has arrived - approximately three months earlier in the year than previous editions, in preparation for an annual writing conference in Chicago.

The 120-page issue was edited by San Leandro resident Jennifer Bennett for a second consecutive year, with the help of associate editors Janet Burns and Christopher Blood, and design support from Dabney Lyons, all second-year master's students in English.

The journal includes four pieces of fiction, 36 poems by 15 authors, an interview with John Felstiner and images of several wood engravings by Caldecott award winner and children's book illustrator Beth Krommes. The cover, entitled "Sanctuary," is by Martin Wittfooth.

Editor Bennett said, "What's great about this issue is that we're showcasing two sets of translations. We usually have one type of translation - for issue two, this was Spanish; issue three, it was Arabic. This year we have both Chinese and German."

The Chinese pieces are a collaboration from three translators who submitted from Paris, she explained, while the German is a translation of the famous Paul Celan poem, "Todesfuge," about Celan's experiences during World War II and with Nazi anti-Semitism.

The journal is the work of Susan Gubernat's ENGL 6060: The Literary Magazine graduate course, which prepares students for editorial roles at "The Arroyo." Submissions come by way of a general call to professional writers, and by invitations to specific individuals. The editorial team selects the pieces to be included, assembles the components and prepares the camera-ready document for printing.

This year's early publication enables the editors to share "Arroyo" with writers, editors and students at the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference February 29-March 4 in Chicago.

Gubernat, a professor of English, said, "Most creative writing programs at universities, including within the CSU, produce such a literary review. It gives students the opportunity to participate in a national conversation about the state of creative writing today; gives them professional experience which can lead to job opportunities in publishing; contextualizes for our future writers what the world of publishing has in store for them in the future.

"That is, seeing the entire process of literary magazine editing enables them to understand how their writing will fit in, giving them the opportunity to see the world of literary publishing first-hand from an editorial perspective," she continued.

After two years editing the "Arroyo," Bennett said she is melancholy. "I'm grateful for everything I learned working with Professor Gubernat, my peers, and past Arroyo editors. Part of me is happy to complete my time, but I'm also sad and apprehensive about stepping away. I've developed an attachment and ownership, and I genuinely love the magazine and the business of editing," she said.

She added, "I hope I can pass that passion on to the next editor," referring to Burns, who will edit issue five.

"The Arroyo" is available at the University Library and may be purchased for $8 at the University Book Store. A release party will be held for those 21 and over on Thursday, February 23 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the Bistro, 1001 B Street, in Hayward. Visit the "Arroyo" website at

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