Pacific University’s literary magazine “Silk Road” will release a new issue this month with the usual inclusions of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry, but with the addition of the first chapters of several books.
This is the first issue the magazine, now in its seventh year, will include first chapters of books. According to English professor and “Silk Road” adviser Kathlene Postma, this new addition to the publication stems from an effort to remain relevant in the Pacific and literary communities and help writers publish their work.
Through the online submission system, the journal’s staff receives about 1,000 submissions every year from writers all over the world and in every stage of their writing careers. It’s a lot of work keeping up with the job; each student staff member reads 20 or more pieces a week. Pacific undergraduate students choose a select few to send onto students in the Pacific Masters of Fine Arts in Writing program to critique and edit further.
Students said it’s worth it, though—the group gets along well and finding the gem in a stack of submissions is very rewarding.
The staff members get to read and discover quality works of literature while learning skills transferable to life after graduation. “The students take these skills out of here and go use them,” Postma said. “We have people who work in the arts and also get jobs.”
Students in the class learn how and why pieces are accepted for publication, which is helpful for those trying to get their own work published.
“Silk Road” Managing Editor Heather Johnson wants to have her own work published and said working on the magazine has helped her “learn the ins and outs of the industry.”
The students have the opportunity to learn the entire process of creating a literary magazine including selecting and editing the works, designing the cover, laying out the content, choosing photos, fonts and colors and marketing the final product.
“It’s so much fun and I feel so proud when I get to see the finished product,” said Aleah Steinzeig, a senior literature major who is a staff member for the magazine.
The journal is available for purchase in bookstores such as Powells and through the order form found their website silkroad.pacificu.edu. It can also be found in Pacific’s library, local libraries and on Ebsco Host. One of the staff’s current goals is to make “Silk Road” available for purchase on Amazon.com and through e-readers.
Postma and her students agree the magazine has something for everyone. There is a range of voices from touching to edgy, according to “Silk Road” Business Director and Marketing Manager Kali Eichen.
The submissions are from “a lot of people who love writing and who are doing really innovative things with writing and things only writing can do,” Postma said.