As October sends leaves sputtering down to litter the streets in a procession inviting Halloween to come knocking puckishly at everyone’s door, a fantastic breath of creativity and imagination hangs heavy in the air. In recognition of the talent and ingenuity of Midwestern locals, the English department is asking SDSU students and area residents to submit their writing and artwork throughout the next two months to be published in the school’s annual literary magazine, oakwood.
Editors are requesting all original works that fall into the categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs (black and white or color).
Professor Dave Evans and creative writing student Doug Cockrell began publishing oakwood in 1975. The magazine is a spin-off of an earlier and similar local publication called The Calliope. oakwood was named after the nearby lake, symbolizing the magazine’s local, closer feel. Evans and Cockrell’s mission was to expand the journal’s variety of writers and invite local and regional citizens to participate and lend their talents.
“Compared to other parts of the country, South Dakota has a very strong tradition for practicality and work ethic which sometimes tends to overlook literary and artistic endeavors.” Evans explained. “Yet, ironically, some of America’s best writers and artists come from the Midwest.”
For the first few years of oakwood’s circulation, Evans and Cockrell served as the sole editors. Sorting through and judging all of the work that was submitted, the two men also designed the book’s format and cover page.
Once English students became more involved, Prof. Evans became the advisor and overseer of the project, making oakwood a student-run endeavor. Duties of designing the magazine’s cover and layout are now given to the art department. Graphic Design students are assigned to each devise a cover page scheme and the class votes on the best one.
Senior English major Katie Pavel serves as this year’s oakwood editor. Senior Chad Robinson and sophomore Heidi Mayer will aid Pavel as assistant-editors. Although it is Pavel’s first year editing the magazine, she has been sending her work into “oakwood” since she was a freshman. Her writing pieces consisted of historical fiction short stories and poetry praising nature.
oakwood is a really good portrayal of the talent people have. Buying and reading the magazine is a good way of seeing what SDSU students can put out there.” Pavel said.
The editing board receives around 150 submissions each year.