Watershed Review re-invigorates literary legacy

Two editors embrace during the launch party for the spring 2014 edition of Chico State's literary magazine Watershed Review at 1078 Gallery. Photo credit: Veronica Hodur

A truly cohesive work of art only occurs if everyone involved is truly dedicated. This is how Watershed Review has continued to push the boundaries on what a literary magazine can be.

Watershed Review, Chico State’s literary magazine, began in 1977 and was cut a few years ago due to funding issues. In 2012, it was reinstated as an intern program and is now a fully reinstated class offered by the English department.

The students in the class are editors for the magazine and chose the pieces that will be selected from the 300 or so applicants from all over the country that submit poems, fiction, nonfiction and artwork.

Getting involved with the magazine is an amazing way for students to professionalize, said Sarah Pape, the managing editor and faculty adviser for Watershed Review.

“It gives people professional skills to go forward and do something else in the world,” Pape said. “And our graduate program students go on to get jobs in major publishing houses. It’s an amazing resource.”

During the launch party held for the magazine Monday night at 1078 Gallery, each editor chose their favorite piece from the spring 2014 edition and read it aloud to a packed audience.

The pieces ranged from poetry set to a staccato rhythm to mimic the ideals of free form jazz to short stories about the beauty and consistency of nature. Each piece resonated with the editor who chose it, showing the level of pride and care the editors had for the submitted works.

Nathan Collins, a graduate student majoring in English literature and the head student prose editor-in-chief of Watershed Review, co-taught the editing class with Pape this semester and helped select which submissions were included in the spring 2014 edition.

“This is work that comes out of nowhere,” Collins said. “And they’re sending it to you to see if they have a home with you.”

Collins is graduating this year and has been honored with the Ellen Walker Award for Excellence in publishing. He hopes to be able to work in publishing to create artistic homes for many more authors.

“Watershed has been a huge part of my time at Chico State and a big part of my life,” Collins said. “I’ll always remember cutting my teeth into this magazine and really starting off what I hope will become a beautiful career.”

Veronica Hodur can be reached at [email protected] or @VeronicaHodur on Twitter.