Watershed Review

Est. 2012

A Walk to Wild Ink Press

 

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In our English 415: Editing Literary Magazines course, we’ve come to the much anticipated point of the semester where we create broadsides from block prints and excerpts from our own work. After the hard work of researching literary magazines, completing our editorial process and collecting all the pieces that will comprise the upcoming issue of Watershed Review, we’re feeling ready to switch gears. Here, Sarah Pape walks students through some examples from last semester.

 

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Looking through various examples of letterpress broadsides, as well as “handmade” versions of peer’s work, English 415 students begin to think about choices they will make for their own. We consider the relationships between image, type, layout, paper, and color.

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In English 415, we cover a lot of ground, reading about the history of literary publication, the social and artistic importance of those early efforts, as well as the present day innovators in online publication. To get a better sense of the machines and processes necessary to produce early literary publications, we headed to a local letterpress studio, Wild Ink Press, where they produce sundry paper products–from cards to coasters to art prints.

 

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Upon arrival, Wild Ink’s pressman, Rik Pape, gave students a thorough overview of the parts and procedures involved in making a letterpress print. Here, he brings out examples of copper plates used for embossing.

 

 

DSC_0353English 415 Field Trip282014Wild Ink’s main workhorses (besides their dedicated owners and staff) are the Heidelberg Windmill presses. Nicknamed “The Prince of Presses,” when this one kicked into gear, we stood back in awe of the precision and power behind the whirring mechanics.

 

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Between ink color, locking the plate and calibrating for the exact imprint, Rik shows the class how little room for error there is when setting up a job. On this particular day, he was working on a custom Christmas card.

 

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We were given a sample print to inspect, looking specifically at the high quality cotton paper and how the silver ink creates a opalescent effect.

We learned so much on our field trip to Wild Ink Press. Most notably, we left with a genuine sense of wonder and admiration for those early publishers of literary works, laboring over handset type and big iron presses to bring those voices we now take for granted into the world for the first time.

Though we will be working with hand-carved blocks, brayers and a typewriter for our foray into broadside prints, we hope to import some of the precision, intention and beauty that resides in the Wild Ink products we explored.

Thank you to Matt and Rebekah Tennis for allowing us to visit during their preparations for the opening of Wild Ink Press’ new studio/shop space. Thanks, too, to Rik Pape for the tour of inks, plates, type and presses.

Photos by Sylvia Bowersox and Sarah Pape.

Writer’s Voice Spotlight: Wendy C. Ortiz

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CSU, Chico Writer’s Voice is proud to present author, Wendy C. Ortiz, Thursday November 6th at 7:30pm in Colusa 100A.

Recently, I picked up a copy of Excavation: A Memoir by Wendy C. Ortiz and was unable to put it down until I reached the end. In Excavation, Ortiz narrates the years-long relationship that she had with a teacher, starting when she was 13 years old. Her memoir flips the script on how society dictates someone in her position should act. In an interview with Hector Tobar in the LA Times, Ortiz says, “I’m writing about something that people prefer to see as black and white, but I really want to expose the grays.” The grays emerge in the way that her story is told, unapologetic and never shying away from taboo. Her story is about much more than her relationship with her teacher. It is also a coming of age story about a girl who is trying to find her place in the world. The raw and at times uncomfortably honest story kept me turning each page.

Memoir often relies on a dual perspective–the voice of innocence and the voice of experience. In Ortiz’ book, she accomplished this through mining journals from those years the relationship was happening and by creating formal elements that contain the adult perspective. While reading you feel as if you are inside the mind of teenage Ortiz as she is experiencing these events and grappling with what it all means. The soundtrack to this time in her life can be heard in the background with her use of song titles and lyrics to describe her moods. The second voice comes from the present-day Ortiz as she performs an archaeological dig on her past. This is the voice of experience that questions and tries to make sense of what happened. Those moments are presented as “Notes on an Excavation.”

The upcoming issue of Watershed Review will also feature a short creative nonfiction piece from Ortiz titled “Mud Myths.” It is a unique piece that stood out from the other nonfiction pieces because it is written in the third person. Like Excavation: A Memoir, the language in this story is very lyrical. We are honored to have a piece of her work to include in our Fall issue.

Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books, 2014) and the forthcoming Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press, spring 2015). She wrote the year-long, monthly column “On the Trail of Mary Jane” for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Nervous Breakdown, and The Rumpus, among many other places. Wendy is co-founder, curator, and host of the decade-old Rhapsodomancy Reading Series. She is a registered marriage and family therapist intern in Los Angeles.

Check out her website and her Tumblr to read more about her current projects.

Please join us for an exciting evening with Wendy C. Ortiz, Thursday, November 6th at 7:30 pm in Colusa 100A. Thanks to contributions made by the Department of English and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Writer’s Voice readings are free and open to the public.

By Jill North

Writer’s Voice Spotlight: Doug Rice

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CSU, Chico Writer’s Voice is proud to present author, Doug Rice, Thursday, October 23rd at 7:30 pm in Langdon 300. Rice has authored more than a half dozen books including Between Appear and Disappear, Dream Memoirs of a Fabulist, A Good Cuntboy is Hard to Find, and his first novel, Blood of Mugwump that was selected by Kathy Acker as a runner-up for the FC2 First Novel Award. He has been published in numerous literary journals, anthologies, and magazines including Avant Pop: Fiction for a Daydream Nation, Biting the Error, Discourse, Zyzzyva, and Gargoyle.

Doug Rice earned his BA in English from Slippery Rock State College, a MA in creative writing at SUNY-Binghamton, a MA in English Literature at Duquesne University, and studied for his PhD in Literature at the University of Pittsburgh. He spent some earlier years teaching at La Roche College and Kent State University-Salem and is currently teaching Creative Writing, literary theory, and film history and theory at Sacramento State University. He is also an artist-in-residence at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany. His work has been translated into Polish, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and German.

Rice will be reading from his two recent publications, Dream Memoirs of a Fabulist and Between Appear and Disappear, as well as showing work from his book When Love Was. Though the genre distinction “memoir” is used in title and description of his more recent work, it is far from the traditional notion we are drawn to when we hear that word. These books share and explore the story through text and photograph, between narrative and poem. Threads of identity and relationship between individuals are layered upon the relationship between the author to the words on the page with consideration to the reader being an integral part of the pages, words, photos, and structure in the landscape of the physical book itself. Rice wants the reader to be aware of the importance of their interaction with what he is offering in the conjunction between story and art.

When asked about Rice’s more recent work, Professor Paul Eggers said, “He’s unlike any other writer we’ve brought to campus, in that he’s avant-garde. Though his two latest books are called “memoir,” they represent, to my mind, the farthest reaches of what you can do and still call something in the realm of memoir. His work combines narrative—I don’t think it’s possible with Doug to further classify it as fiction or nonfiction—photography and even, in the case of Dream Memoirs, incorporating a tactile element to the act of reading. I think it’s fair to say that he attempts to break down our habitual distinctions between self and other, between gendered identities, between memory and reality, and between language and the material world.”

For a peek into his handmade book, Dream Memoirs of a Fabulist, check out this video about his collaboration with Stephanie Sauer of Copilot Press.

Here he discusses his unique approach to storytelling

Please join us for an exciting evening with Doug Rice, Thursday, October 23rd at 7:30 pm in Langdon 300. Thanks to contributions made by the Department of English and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Writer’s Voice readings are free and open to the public.

 

By Charles Walker

2014 Best of the Net Nominations

Watershed Review is pleased to announce our nominations for the 2014 Best of the Net anthology. Thank you to our contributors for the honor of featuring their work in the the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 issues!

Poetry:

“Poem That Contains an Emotional Truth” by Mark Haunschild, Fall 2013

“Worksheet” by Natalie Peeterse, Fall 2013

“Summertime on the Family Farm” by Nathan Slinker, Fall 2013

“CATCALL #27” by Michelle S. Reed, Spring 2014

“Designation” by Caitlin Scarano, Spring 2014

“At Thirty-Seven, In Bed” by Neesa Sonoquie, Spring 2014

Fiction:

“What Harold Saw” by Christie Hinrichs, Spring 2014

“Glass-Bottomed Boat” by MaryRose Lovgren, Spring 2014

Nonfiction:

“Qualifications on Twenty Things Said About Dover Cake” by Matthew Gavin Frank, Fall 2013

“49: The Last Five Days” by Eva Saulitis, Spring 2014

 

Writer’s Voice Spotlight: Joanne Harris Allred

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Chico State Writer’s Voice is proud to present poet, Joanne Harris Allred, on Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 7:30 PM in Colusa 100B. Allred is the author of three poetry collections, Whetstone, winner of the Flume Press Chapbook award, Particulate (Bear Star Press), and The Evolutionary Purpose of Heartbreak (Turning Point Books). Allred spent many years teaching in the English department at CSU, Chico, and currently lives just outside of Chico with her husband, dogs, and a few chickens.

Allred’s work delves deeply into the human condition and explores the interconnectivity between the self and nature. Her words are a quiet meditation on living, loving, and losing. She often takes something ordinary and reveals its extraordinary essence by using metaphoric language to zero in on a specific experience or emotion. The speaker of her poems is often an observational one that acts as a guide into this meditation and connection to nature. Her poem “Plum in Early Spring,” from Whetstone, for instance, does this:

For three rainy weeks my plum tree

keeps a thousand small fists.

Then one warm day it explodes.

The sweet tethered cloud blazes

angel white, innocent of consequence,

not caring for how long the rain

has gone or if frost lurks

a few days away. The blooms don’t inquire

have the hives dried, will bees be out

in time to nuzzle their open hearts.

 

Unconcerned with plans for harvest

they ignore my pleas to be patient, to reflect

before taking an irrevocable step.

Trees simply answer the season’s necessity,

unable to deny the spirit

moving through by drawing silly

distinctions between the self and soul.

This poem begins with the simple image of a plum tree, but as the poem progresses a parallel between what is happening to this tree and what sometimes happens with humans emerges–a sudden burst of inspiration and an urge to follow one’s desires, to be wild in spirit without stopping too long to think about it, to “simply answer to the season’s necessity.” This poem also unveils the yearning and sometimes impatience humans have to control the natural world, which cannot be contained. Even though this poem starts off simply, it makes leaps to ultimately arrive at something much larger.

Please join us for a lovely evening with Joanne Harris Allred, Thursday, April 10th at 7:30 pm in Colousa 100B. Thanks to contributions made by the Department of English and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Writer’s Voice readings are free and open to the public.

By Kris Wheat

Book in Common Reading: Brian Turner

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The Book in Common Committee presents a reading of poetry and memoir by Brian Turner, Tuesday, April 1, 7:30 p.m., PAC 134.

Brian Turner is the author of My Life as a Foreign Country: A Memoir (W.W. Norton & Co., September 2014; Jonathan Cape/Random House UK, August 2014). His two collections of poetry: Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005; Bloodaxe Books, 2007) and Phantom Noise (Alice James Books, 2010; Bloodaxe Books in October of 2010) have also been published in Swedish by Oppenheim forlag. His poems have been published and translated in Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon before serving for seven years in the US Army. He was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Prior to that, he deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division (1999-2000).

His poetry and essays have been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Poetry Daily, The Georgia Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and other journals. Turner was featured in the documentary film Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, which was nominated for an Academy Award. He received a USA Hillcrest Fellowship in Literature, an NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, the Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, a US-Japan Friendship Commission Fellowship, the Poets’ Prize, and a Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. His most recent book of poetry, Phantom Noise, was short-listed for the T.S. Eliot Prize in England. His work has appeared on National Public Radio, the BBC, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Here and Now, and on Weekend America, among others. He is the Director of the new Low Residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College and he lives in Florida with his wife, the poet Ilyse Kusnetz.

Writer’s Voice Spotlight: Daryl Farmer

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CSU, Chico’s Writer’s Voice is proud to present author, Daryl Farmer, Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 7:30 PM in Colusa 110. Farmer is author of Bicycling beyond the Divide: Two Journeys into the West, which won the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writer’s Award and was a Colorado Book Award finalist. Along with his book, Farmer has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Laurel Review, Quarter After Eight, and Isotope. Farmer also had a short story published recently, “Where We Land,” which ran in the Summer 2013 issue of The Whitefish Review. Currently, Farmer is a Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and teaches Creative Writing and a Film and Literature course that examines the short story in relationship to film adaptation.

Farmer’s first book, Bicycling beyond the Divide: Two Journey’s into the West, is a beautifully woven piece of literature that seamlessly grounds its reader in time and place, allowing for us to follow him on his journey amongst the diverse population and ever changing physical and social landscapes that make up America, as well as the most difficult leg of the trip through his previous, current and projected self. But as we follow along with Farmer, we realize that part of the load he’s carrying is us, the reader, whom he’s placed on the handlebars of his Trek 520 and given us a firsthand view of the world as he sees it unfolding, opening our eyes to the world around us and forcing us to find ourselves within it:

I looked up at the mountains now as I rode through the falling snow. The aspen trees that once covered the hillsides were gone. In their place stood condominiums packed together so tight, it was hard to tell if there were many buildings or just one, fortress-like and stretching for what seemed miles.

Was it the world that had changed, or was it me? Now, during a time of heightened security, it was difficult to imagine that I would get away with camping on a resort town golf course. Terrorism and war. Civilian Minutemen with guns “protecting” our southern border. It was a time when a government-issued color code was used to gauge our risk, and freedom itself was being reconfigured to fit the changes. A dosage of fear was fed to us daily. Vitamin or sugar pill, who could say? The news seemed gloomy, yet in 1985 the news had been of starving children, environmental degradation, crisis in the Middle East.

At twenty I had feared nothing.

From this brief excerpt, we see how Farmer puts the physical surroundings into perspective with brief descriptive detail, yet leaves enough room for us to fill in the scenery with our own experiences of diminished vegetation and urban sprawl within our community. He paints a vivid picture of the social climate that we reside in, while reflecting on what it was like for him and all who were there in ’85, prodding us to ask the very question he asks of himself:  “Was it the world that had changed, or was it me?”

Please join us for a wonderful evening with visiting author, Daryl Farmer. Thanks to contributions made by the Department of English and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, our readings are free and open to the public.

http://www.darylfarmer.com/

By Jeremy Wallace

Writer’s Voice Spotlight: Peggy Shumaker

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CSU, Chico’s Writer’s Voice Reading Series is proud to present the acclaimed writer, Peggy Shumaker. Peggy Shumaker’s most recent book of poems is Toucan Nest, a book of poems set in Costa Rica.  Her lyrical memoir is Just Breathe Normally. Professor emerita from University of Alaska Fairbanks, Shumaker teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop. She is founding editor of Boreal Books, publisher of fine art and literature from Alaska.  She edits the Alaska Literary Series at University of Alaska Press.  Peggy Shumaker was Alaska State Writer Laureate for 2010-2012.

Shumaker’s prose in Just Breathe Normally is rhythmic and lyrical, organized in small chapter sections. Her memoir invites the reader to consider the ways genre can blend, overlap and elevate past a single set of conventions or constraints. Her short prose-shaped chapters, consider the poetic image as well as the story threaded between them. The reader is invited to witness the way writing constantly moves, evolves, and anchors itself to the stories we share with one another.

As a poet, Peggy has published seven poetry books, two chapbooks, and is featured in twelve anthologies. In her most recent book, Toucan Nest: Poems of Costa Rica, Peggy uses the Costa Rican landscape and its inhabitants to remind us how to re-examine our world with new ways of seeing—questioning and observing, as in her poem, “Ramon’s Eyes”:

 

Ramon directs us

to the roadside stand

where on the last day

 

he picks up queso,

mango, heart shaped

milk candies. Home.

 

If you ever fly north,

Ramon, nuestro casa

es su casa.

 

Ramon’s eyes fill—

Y mi casa es suyos…

is small, my house,

 

but yours.

Ramon, whose daughter chose

for her quinceanera

 

six friends from school,

a cake her mama baked,

and her family.

 

Ramon glances cloudward

for the rains, season

when he rests

 

in his own nest

after months on the road

barely blinking.

 

Please join us Thursday, November 14th, 7:30 pm for Peggy Shumaker’s reading in Trinity 100. On Friday, November 15th, 3:00-5:00 pm, she will be part of the Humanities Center discussion, “Looking Both Ways: Translation in the Literary & Visual Arts,” also in Trinity 100. We look forward to seeing you at both of these exciting events.

Writer’s Voice Spotlight: Jon Raymond

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The Chico State Writer’s Voice is proud to present author Jon Raymond.  Raymond is the author of the novel’s Half-Life and Rain Dragon, and a collection of short stories, Livability, winner of the 2009 Ken Kesey award for fiction.  He’s also a screenwriter whose credits include Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff, Night Moves, and the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce.  He lives in Portland with his family.  Raymond’s work was described by Publishers Weekly as, “Gorgeous…Raymond reveals how close failure (and worse) lingers,” and Booklist has described his work as “delicately refined and sublimely electric.”

You are strongly encouraged to see Jon Raymond read his work on Thursday, Oct. 17th at 7:30 pm in Ayers 201.

Writer’s Voice Spotlight: Brenda Hillman

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The Butte College Literary Events Committee and CSU, Chico’s Writer’s Voice Series are proud to present poet Brenda Hillman. Hillman will be reading from her new collection, “Seasonal Words with Letters on Fire” at the 1078 Gallery, Tuesday, October 8th at 7:30 pm.

Born in Tucson, Arizona in 1951, Hillman has earned degrees at Pomona College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is currently a professor of creative writing at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California and is the author of nine books of poetry. She has received a number of awards, including a Pushcart Prize and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Society of America. Hillman was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for her collection Bright Existence (1993) and a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle Award for her collection Loose Sugar (1997). Her latest collection, Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire (2013) is a nominee for the National Book Award.

Says Publishers Weekly: “Hillman’s fast-moving, energetic, and ample 10th collection blazes with indignation . . . . It’s one page lyrics its one-page lyrics connect the origins of the Roman alphabet, children’s reading habits, topical cries against our present-day wars, the evils of genetically modified seeds, the structure of Greek tragedy (“Tiny first with hurt earth spirits/ as in Aeschylus”), prose essays on poetry and protest, daily life on a West Coast campus, and larger-scale objections to the way that human beings have treated the earth…‘Around each word you’re reading/ there spins the unknowable flame.’”

Hillman’s poetry explores the way we use and interact with both the written and spoken word.  Her poetry works to displace our familiarity with language: the same letters we use to communicate “drone strike” or “mother” on one page have, on another, been literally turned on end as she does in “Autumn Ritual With Hate Turned Sideways.” In the case of “Two Summer Aubades, After John Clare,” she reduces lines to linguistic building blocks:

 

I.  towhee [Pipilo crissalis] wakes a human

               

                pp cp cp cp chp chp

pppppppppppp

cppppcpp   cpp   cpp

 

         (a woman tosses)

             Gulf disaster  ster sister

                aster    aster as   asp

         ppp cp cp p    bp  bp BP BP

           scree  screeeeem  we

       we we didn’t

         neee neeed to move so fast

2. woman in red sweater to humminbird

   sssssss  we  sssssss weee

no i’m not not  sweet not

 sweeeeetie i’m not

    something to eeeeeeat   

 

“Two Summer Aubades, After John Clare” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgxCNYzuHxI

The bold poetics found within the pages of “Seasonal Works With Letters On Fire” are further expressed through Hillman’s approaches to form. Take for instance a haibun entitled “The Body Politic Loses Her Hair,” which not only does not include a haiku, it does include a 1”x3/4” image of the poet holding a protest sign embedded within the text. Or a seemingly new form: a series of double columned “galaxies” dedicated to Helen Hillman and Ruth Gander. Hillman is also a vocal environmentalist, so Mother Earth as a potential subject is easy to imagine.

 

Ringed Galaxies Work With Our Mother

as they clean                             in skinny time

in desert autumn                                      drip on verbena

scraps of toast                          sorted rubber bands

scraps of string                         saved for the least

did she have to                     could someone else save

bits of matter                                could fail to rise

ask your doctor                        if cosmic fire

is right for you                                    when you were born

kingdom to creature                                  qui coisa

their iambs                                     of those

some galaxies rise                        as a furnace

needs cleaning                                               its arcing noise

the mom is our sheperd                her diving down

hummingbird baroque                   freedom you know

my substance                was not hid

from thee                  where I was

made in secret                   the visible talks back

her areas            of power   

just need                           not to worry

behind the tiny pizza                      behaviors

aren’t essences              you know that

Hillman’s poetry is at once deeply activistic while at the same time capable of transmuting language into its most basic parts. In doing so, she forces her readers to reevaluate their perspectives, their “new haircuts” and their “bosses” with their “new wars.”  She has distilled the fire of our language and the fires burning in the world around us into lines, stanzas, and dedications.

We hope you will join us in celebrating the work of Brenda Hillman.

By Stan Upshaw and Danielle Fernandez

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