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English department launches first CSUEB literary review


'Arroyo Literary Journal'

  • May 14, 2009

Hillary Rodham Clinton wrote that it takes a village to raise a child. California State University, East Bay students have learned it also takes a village to publish a printed literary review – as was the case with the just released, "Arroyo Literary Review," the university’s first publication of its kind.

The process began a year ago when Eric Neuenfeldt, now a second-year English graduate student from Milwaukee, Wisc., and Susan Gubernat, associate professor of English, decided it was time that CSUEB join other universities in producing a quality literary magazine that would attract writers from outside the college community, focusing on, but not limited to, the Bay Area.

"Everyone wants their own review; it’s the public perception of your (creative writing) program," said Neuenfeldt, who will hand over editing duties to Zac Walsh, a second-year graduate student from Alameda, when he leaves this summer for Oklahoma State University for a master's of fine arts fellowship.

“This (issue) has a very working class bent," Neuenfeldt said. "It’s very timely and topical.”

Neuenfeldt admits the student workers were novices who had to pick up editing, layout and design techniques and learn about business aspects of publishing. That wasn't the case for Gubernat.

Gubernat, who had been a magazine editor for seven years before re-entering academe, was awarded a faculty support grant to fund a summer project to develop the magazine and a related course. She called on many of her professional contacts to make it happen.

"It was exciting to me that students here wanted to learn the trade," she said. "As a publishing poet, I knew many writers who would welcome being solicited for the magazine, so that most of the writers appearing in our first issue were contacts I recommended to the student editors."

"Perhaps the most gratifying among them, for me personally, was poet Marvin Bell, who had been my own mentor when I was a student at the Iowa Writers' Workshop," Gubernat said. "Putting Eric Neuenfeldt in touch with Eric Miles Williamson enabled us to have an electric interview between the ‘two Erics,’ one an alum of this university who has been soaring in the publishing world; the other a fledgling just about to leave the CSUEB nest."

The magazine is the product of alumni dollars, help and goodwill, especially that of an anonymous alumnus donor whose company provided a matching grant. John Gannon '08 designed the publication. English lecturer Aaron Jason '97, a fiction writer and former editor of an online literary journal, supplied literary contacts and volunteer assistance. University Advancement helped get the word out to alums and friends of the English Department who also made individual contributions to help support the first issue.

Unsolicited manuscripts for volume II are already arriving from across the country.

Copies of "Arroyo Literary Review" are available for $8 each at Pioneer Bookstore on the Hayward campus, The Book Shop in downtown Hayward, City Lights in San Francisco and at

Everyone aged 21 and over is invited to the release party from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 29 at The Bistro, 1001 B St., Hayward, where copies will be available for $5 each. 

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