University of Iowa’s literary community upholds reputable legacy

The literary scene at the University of Iowa is ever-changing, with both old and new magazines preserving the infamous legacy through various opportunities and communities built


Raquele Decker

Undergraduate literature magazines are seen at the MAGID Center located in Phillips Hall on Nov. 4, 2021.

Jami Martin-Trainor, Arts Reporter

Iowa City is well-known as a community for writers, and undergraduate students at the University of Iowa are building their own literary scene through a diverse array of literary magazines.

Several students find themselves active in university publications, including third-year Mikey Waller. Waller has been a member of several magazines throughout her years, including Ink Lit Mag, Zenith, and earthwords.

“I’ve made some of my best friends within the literary community, not necessarily because we have to, but it’s because they offer me so much support and kindness and I feel like I can really grow with them and among them,” Waller said.

Students have a vast array of options regarding what aspects of production they choose to work with. Workshopping, marketing, editing, and design are only a few of the many tasks that create a fully functioning team.

“The lit mag community is very much reflective of the publishing world in which you get an in where you can, and then you work and jump and bounce around into what works for you,” Carmela Furio, current designer for earthwords, said.

Several students have created their own projects to aid in the evolution of Iowa’s literary community. Furio is also one of the creators behind Wilder Things, a speculative literature magazine on campus with the goal of combatting literary elitism and the academic cannon.

“We created it specifically for that intention because everybody on our staff loves those works and it was works like that that got us into writing and got us into publishing,” Furio said.

Teamwork and community are essential factors in the magazine scene. Over the summer, completely independent of any outside aid, several senior staff members on different magazines collaborated and released Pageturners.

Pageturners is an attempt to show all the different literary options at Iowa. It was initially created to create a more inclusive community for first-year and transfer students, making information more accessible.

“We want the literature community to be big,” Waller said. “We don’t want people to feel as though they didn’t get to be part of the group of people that knew about these opportunities. We want everyone to feel as if they have a shot.”

There are various magazines with upcoming deadlines. Horizon closes its portal for submissions on Nov. 29, and the Translate Iowa Project closes on Dec. 17. A digital copy of Pageturners can be found here with information regarding specific magazines.

Iowa’s writing community includes more than students. The Iowa Review is a literary journal that accepts submissions from throughout the country and internationally. Students are discouraged from submitting work to ensure professionality for undergraduate and graduate staff members.

“People who come here for writing and study writing here and then leave are always very nostalgic about the writing community here,” Lynne Nugent, editor at The Iowa Review, said. “They go out to other places where people don’t care as much about creative writing, and so they really appreciate how, in Iowa City, pretty much everyone you run into is aware of the writing community and interested in it.”

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