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Earthwords celebrates 30th anniversary

BY MARISA WAY | APRIL 30, 2010 7:30 AM

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This year, Earthwords celebrates its 30th anniversary by releasing its biggest issue ever.

The publication has given undergraduate students the opportunity to showcase their writing in various genres ranging from nonfiction to poetry.

UI junior Katie Duffy, the editor-in-chief at Earthwords, said the magazine provides a voice for a group of artists on campus who may typically be overlooked.

“A lot of the energy for the writing community is focused on the Writers’ Workshop, but undergraduates need a place, too,” she said.

The release of the 2009-10 edition will be celebrated at 7 p.m. today at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. Last year was the first year the bookstore hosted the event.

A reading by various students whose work was selected for the publication will take place at the release; admission for the event is free.

Duffy said another benefit of Earthwords is the editing and leadership experience it provides to students who are interested in pursuing a career in the literary world.

The magazine is run entirely by undergraduate students through the Office of Residence Life, with the help of graduate-student advisers. Submissions are accepted in October, and those works that will run in Earthwords are selected by Thanksgiving.

Wendy Xu, a senior majoring in English on the creative-writing track, submitted work to Earthwords for the first time this year. Two of her poems, “Inspection of Home,” and “On Fall,” were selected for the upcoming edition. Xu, who was a poetry editor for Earthwords her sophomore year, also volunteered to read her work at the release party today.

Xu, who has submitted her poetry to a large number of literary publications, said a benefit of being part of Earthwords is the easy access to a large network of writers.

“They really go out of their way to establish themselves as a community,” she said. “It’s a really inclusive presence on campus … That’s the best part, meeting the other people who are published, and everybody is wonderful and interested in writing.”

Duffy said Earthwords received more submissions this year than ever before. She credits this to more writing opportunities opening up for undergraduate students, such as the creative-writing track and the Iowa Writers Living Learning Community that is available for freshmen.

“I think the community needs to see that undergraduates have a voice,” she said. “They have a place on the bookshelf.”

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