Oakwood literary magazine

IAN LACK Lifestyles Reporter

Staff faces challenge of narrowing visual, literary art submissions

Oakwood Magazine is an annual literary magazine written and created by South Dakota State University students and faculty as well as the local Brookings community.

The magazine was started in 1976 under the name “Calliope” and has since then undergone many changes over the years but has emphasized the work put forth by student creators.

 Each spring, Oakwood is created and released by junior and senior students from varying majors. This staff began under the guidance of Assistant Professor Steven Wingate in the fall semester and started accepting submissions Jan. 11. They will continue to accept them until Jan. 31 with a possible extension.

The staff typically meets in an office space in the English department in the Pugsley building on a weekly basis. Becoming a part of the Oakwood staff counts toward credits like a formal class, so consequently, there are no returning staff members. Each year, a new rotation of students are tasked with creating the roughly 40-page magazine.

Works range from poetry to fiction and nonfiction. Graphic art and photography are also included. The works placed in the magazine result from submitted pieces to the staff for their approval. Staff members are tasked with narrowing down submissions to fit within the pages of the magazine. This year, the staff has received about 20 entries so far.

The magazine typically publishes about a third of the work submitted, Wingate, the editorial adviser, said.

In addition to teaching several classes on campus, Wingate has acted as an adviser for the student-run magazine since 2011. He has also worked with several publishing companies and acts as associate editor for Fiction Writers Review.

 Wingate affirms that he steps aside each year to allow students to put their own voice into the magazine.

“They do all of the editorial decision making—I stay out of that because I think it’s important for students to make those kind of decisions,” Wingate said. “One of the things that I’ve tried to do is make this a part of the English department’s curriculum so that students earn credits for this and get hands-on job experience.”


Wingate believes tha there is a high demand for students to be able to create as well as edit content for consumption in multiple fields of the job market.

Kendra Hinton, a junior English major and a staff contributor for Oakwood this year, said she has interests in publishing after graduating. She found out about the opportunity through 

“I thought that this would be a really good experience to be able to get a feel for the publishing world and see if this is something that I’d like to do,” Hinton said. “So far, I’m really liking it. I think it [Oakwood] gives people a chance and get published as well. I think it’s cool to be able to see your name and your work in something that’s been published.”

Hinton and the rest of the staff will be using the program Adobe InDesign to compile all of the submitted works into the glossed pages of the magazine, which is funded through the combined efforts of the Students’ Association and the university English Department. Because of this, the magazine is free to students and is distributed across campus.

However, not every university across the country is willing to fund a literary magazine. Alec Harvey acts as editorial adviser for The Auburn Circle, a biannual literary magazine at Auburn University in Alabama. While Harvey affirms that The Circle has always received abundant support from the university, he has noticed a distinct lack of university support for literacy in schools across the country.

“Just like the professional media world, the student-media world is struggling. I don’t think that this is a matter of academic or creative support from universities, but a matter of financial support,” Harvey said.

SDSU’s Oakwood Magazine is set to be released April 14 in correspondence with National Library Week. There will be a launch reading at Briggs Library where those who submitted work for the magazine are invited to read and talk about their work.