Past issues of the Nemadji Review. Copies can be found at the Jim Dan Hill Library or online. Photo by Lindsey Jalivay

Now celebrating their 10th year of publication, the Nemadji Review at UWS is preparing to release their newest annual issue of student writing and artwork at the end of the 2021 spring semester.

After a series of staff and adviser changes, notwithstanding challenges arising from their remote transition in the past year, the Nemadji Review is promoting positivity in their new issue with the theme of “New thoughts for a New Era” in tow.

“We tried to structure this issue because of everything that was going on with joy in mind,” says Frankie Hadley, current President of the Nemadji Review student organization. “We could ask for pieces about COVID, but did we really want that? I think we wanted just a spot of sunshine.”

Despite the staff’s separation in their remote settings, the Nemadji Review is larger than usual this year. Distance learning students have become more involved, as Zoom allows for everyone to be in the same space while already completing their degrees online. These shifts have mitigated the process of training the many staff members who are new to working on a university funded literary magazine. Logistically, compiling submissions, communication methods, and overall organization has improved drastically for the staff, due in part to forced remote accommodations.

As an experiment this semester, Julie Gard, adviser for the Nemadji Review and Professor of Writing, has been teaching a new writing course called Special Topics in Writing: The Literary Magazine (WRIT 470). There’s been an effort to keep the class and student organization separate, enriching student understanding and appreciation of literary magazines. Since segregated fees cannot be utilized for curriculum, the WRIT 470 course ultimately functions as a resource independent of the student organization.

Though the WRIT 470 course and Nemadji Review are ultimately separate, several (but not all) staff members are involved in the course. The course prepares students ahead of time to be trained as staff members, creating overlapping discussions between course material and Nemadji staff meetings held each week via Zoom.

“To see students engage with journals reminds me how rich and current journals are now, that there’s so much great and specialized work out there,” Gard states.

The class also demonstrates an overview of what students should be aware of when working for a publication in the real world, especially regarding the time constraints of editing and production. Similarly, the WRIT 470 course has given the Nemadji Review insight on ways to expand their audience, improve the journal’s aesthetic, and become more involved in the local writing community. Alex Quick, Editor-in-Chief of the Nemadji Review, implores that the class has given the student organization many new and exciting ideas for future planning.

Quick explains one of the Nemadji Review’s biggest projects is to make a website. “People will have an opportunity to see something published online, and it will keep students interacting throughout the year, throughout the summer, and it reaches out to the greater community better than just the physical journal does,” Quick says.

The Nemadji Review aims to create a new and fresh take on themes concerning, or rather, in opposition, to the past year’s events. Accepted submissions include a wide range of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and artwork, creating a counterbalance of joyful pieces and pieces that aren’t necessarily happy. “The journal is not about the pandemic,” Gard elaborates. “But what’s the reading or art that can help us get through the pandemic?”

The newest issue of the Nemadji Review will be released at the end of the 2021 spring semester. If you’re interested in reading past issues of the Nemadji Review or are interested in joining their staff, please visit the Student Organization page on the UWS website to get more involved with what they have planned. Prior editions of the Nemadji Review can be viewed here.

Additionally, if you would like to view a reading of the newest issue of the Nemadji Review, the staff will be holding a release party via Zoom on Thursday, May 6 at 5:00 p.m. More information, including the Zoom link to the event, will be found soon in the UWS Student Digest.

If you are interested in picking up a copy of the freshly released Nemadji Review, the staff will have a table set up in the Yellowjacket Union on May 5 to distribute and promote the issue.