Poetry comes full circle at EvCC

Rebecca Boehm, Staff Writer

English Faculty member Kevin Craft recalls a younger, blonder version of himself entering the large and dark periodical room of the University of Maryland library during the late 80’s. He loved “the cathedral silence… the musty smell of well traveled paper.”

After being inspired by teacher Stanley Plumly, Craft started looking into poetry. He picked up many journals, but one especially jumped out. Poetry Northwest became one of his favorites; he felt like one day, maybe, he could be featured in it. He says he wouldn’t dare dream one day he would be the editor.

Poetry Northwest was originally at the University of Washington, then moved to Portland for five years. In 2010, after an old friend from the U of Maryland offered it to Craft, Poetry Northwest moved to EvCC. It’s now in Greywolf Hall where Craft, and the other editors, have produced two issues per year. They maintained the reputation of an approachable magazine, featuring big names alongside new and emerging poets. The magazine’s content stayed relatively the same, however the move did bring design changes. Now it has a larger magazine style cover, and more visuals.

Craft chooses and curates which poems get published, but layout is a different field altogether. Graphic Arts faculty member Chris Larson runs the graphics and layout of the magazine, along with interns from the graphic arts program. Student and Intern Cherisa Bertain says, “Chris is more like our art director than a teacher in a sense, he is overseeing our work.” Working on the layout feels less like being in class, and more like working professionally, she says. “My job is to make the type look good and feel good on the page.”

Craft says it’s rare for a college, especially a community college, to host a national literary magazine. Out of roughly 5,000 submissions they are only able to publish 2-3%. Craft says it’s geared towards “people looking to discover something they didn’t already know.” If you’re feeling curious, you can find Poetry Northwest at newsstands, select bookstores and for free at EvCC’s library in Parks Student Union.