Today@Sam Article

Grad Students Create Online Literary Journal

Oct. 15, 2015
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

Texas Review Press at Sam Houston State University will highlight the work of talented graduate students around the world with the launch of its new online literary journal, The Gordian Review.

The Gordian Review, which will release its first issue in December, will annually publish fiction and non-fiction works and poetry that are created and edited by graduate students.

The journal was conceived by Alec Brewster, who will serve as its editor-in-chief, and fellow graduate student Ruthie Irvin, with the assistance of TRP Director Paul Ruffin, in an effort to create an outlet for other graduate students to showcase their creative works, as well as provide SHSU graduate students with valuable editing experience.

“Being a graduate student with virtually no credentials or connections within the field can sometimes hinder the ability to get published with bigger literary journals or to find employment within the publishing/entertainment business,” Brewster said. “We wanted to create a journal that catered specifically to graduate students trying to get their careers off the ground by showcasing both their artistic and editorial abilities.

“There are plenty of journals out there that are staffed by graduate students, and I'm sure there are some that accept only student works,” he said. “Many journals now have made it a priority to publish works by new and aspiring artists so that fresh voices can emerge and young talent can be cultivated.”

The Gordian Review editorial board comprises graduate students enrolled in one of the SHSU Department of English’s Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts graduate programs, including Brewster; Keely Disman, assistant editor; Julian Kindred, fiction editor; Mike Hilbig, poetry editor; and Timothy Bardin, nonfiction editor.

“An editing position should be of particular interest to SHSU’s MFA students, because, in addition to this degree’s literature and creative writing foundation, the program also emphasizes the importance of publishing and editing skills,” Ruffin said.

Leading up to the journal’s first publication, the editorial staff will accept submissions through mid-November from master’s and doctoral students.

Submissions will be accepted via the TRP website, at, in the areas of fiction, poetry and nonfiction. Authors should limit their submissions to one story, one nonfiction essay, and up to five poems.

Neither simultaneous submissions, nor submissions from current SHSU students, will be accepted. 

“I founded The Sam Houston State Review many years ago as an outlet for SHSU students and alumni—only our present and former students may submit to it,” Ruffin said. “For an international journal, we do not want any appearance of nepotism by having our own graduate students being published in that journal by editors in our graduate program.”

The name The Gordian Review is an allusion to the mythological Gordian knot, a puzzle of sorts designed to predict the next conqueror of Asia.

“According to the legend, Alexander the Great solved the puzzle, but there is no consensus on how exactly he did so,” Brewster said. “Sometimes, I think it's useful to think of art this way, as a puzzle with no definite answer presented by the artist for the reader to solve, to search out meaning from within the design.”

The editorial staff is hoping that as the journal continues to grow, later issues might include both book review and art sections, according to Ruffin. 

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