A poster in Templeton advertising the release party of the Literary Review in the Frank Manor House.

Lit Review Encompasses All Works of Fiction

It is no secret that there is a host of thriving student organizations at Lewis & Clark. From mindfulness clubs to intramurals, nearly every possible interest is represented in some capacity. If you are interested in fiction, poetry or art in general, the Literary Review is a great opportunity. The Literary Review is a student-run publication that accepts fiction, poetry, photography and visual art. The organization uses “literary” as a broad adjective to categorize most of its content: fiction. And although the name is suggestive of creative writing, we encourage students to submit photographs of paintings, drawings, collages or other artistic endeavors. As an organization that facilitates discussion and growth, the Literary Review distinguishes itself as one of the unique clubs on campus that incorporates both artistic and editorial elements.

At the end of each academic year, members of the Lit Review compile the approved student pieces, publish them in a small anthology and distribute the booklets around campus. This year’s anthology incorporates themes concerning various states of unconsciousness, the influence of fragmented memories and images of water. Many of the pieces that we received either directly related to aquatic subjects or exemplified a certain fluidity in various ways. By jumping from disparate subject to subject, the pieces mimic the flowing currents of human consciousness as the artists contemplate the past, the present and their own emotions. The title of the publication “a fish stirs in the shadow of a dream” is a fitting synthesis of these complex topics and their related intricacies.

A typical Literary Review meeting includes the editors, participants and perhaps even some of the contributors. The editors project the student submissions that we have received in the past week on a screen in a Miller conference room. They usually delay commencing the meeting until the last few stragglers have taken their respective places. The discussion then proceeds piece by piece, where each written work is read aloud reading, and exchange thoughts about its form, content, and other components. The process itself is quite informal, and no pejorative language is used when referencing the works. Both the editors and participants value the insights of anyone who is willing to disclose them to the larger group. After exchanging ideas about a specific piece, the editors record the piece’s title and author if there is a general consensus. If they decide that a certain work could benefit from minor revisions or changes, the editors will email the author and ask that they do so. We avoid making any additional editorial changes because we do not want to detract from the artist’s work.

The editors, Sophie March ’19,  Kaes Vanderspek ’21 and I, encourage LC students to submit work regardless of their previous artistic experience or interest in literature. All of The Lit Review meetings are open to any and all LC students that are interested in discussing art in general; you do not have to submit a piece to participate. When I first began to involve myself, I required a couple months of attending meetings consistently to feel sufficiently comfortable in submitting my own work. Sending your art to anyone can be particularly frightening. But everyone in the Literary Review is constantly working on projects of their own, which helps to promote a space free of judgment or anxiety. As an additional way to support impartiality when discussing submissions, authors’ names are anonymous during the weekly meetings.

March has been involved with the Literary Review since their sophomore year and is currently one of the Editors-in-chief. They remarked on how the Literary Review prompts discussion among aspiring artists and cultivates a space in which creating art is more of a communal process.

“When I was younger, poetry felt like a very individual and private pursuit,” March said. “But being a part of the Literary Review has been influential for me in the shifting of that perspective. The space Lit Review holds throughout the year fosters dialogue between artists and editors, and the publication at the end of the year is a manifestation of those abstract dialogues into something tangible and whole, that can further be shared and prompt more communication and connection.”

The Literary Review has been accepting submissions on a rolling basis since the beginning of the academic year, and the editors have spent the last month organizing, editing and formatting the final publication. This year’s anthology is currently being printed! The organization have ordered 175 books and will distribute them around campus once they are finished. There will be additional copies on the fourth floor of Miller if you have trouble finding one. Please email lcreview@lclark.edu if you are interested in participating next semester, and the editors will add you to the emailing list. You can expect to hear from us about meeting times and other logistical information towards the beginning of next semester.

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