A new literary review offers fresh approaches to student publication, from extensive workshop processes to digital multimedia content.
Few things seem as necessary as creating a new literary magazine on campus. Oberlin College has its impressive share of publications: the Oberlin Review, the Grape, the Plum Creek Review, Wilder Voice, to name a venerable few. Why introduce one more?
With the release of its first issue, Two Groves Review has answered that question in a thorough and enthusiastic manner. Two Groves is a new student publication dedicated to poetry, literary criticism, and “writing about writing.”
The choice to publish literary criticism is an unconventional yet significant one. As managing editor Emory McCool ’21 explains, “Two Groves looks to build on the work that many students do in English and comparative literature classrooms and to create a space for peer-reviewed literary criticism. With either our treatment of poetry or literary criticism, our focus is on working with the writer rather than with the piece.”
The attentive and clear editorial process is an essential part of Two Groves. Upon receiving a submission, members of the editorial board read the piece carefully before convening to discuss it and decide whether to move onto workshopping or not. The workshops, held in small groups ranging from two to five people, seek to foster a synergetic environment between the writer and the editorial board.
“Two Groves puts a particular emphasis on workshopping as a really collaborative process,” says poetry editor Kate Fishman ’21. “Generally, it seems that written work in a college publication can go one of two ways—it seems untouchable because it’s creative and gets published exactly as is, or it’s subject to an editorial process that’s not the most communicative. Two Groves has an editorial process that involves the writer and can’t be completed without the writer, and that’s really important for people’s growth.”
Additionally, Two Groves exists entirely online. The decision to publish online reflects a push for literary publications to be more accessible to the public, both within and outside of Oberlin’s campus. The online presence also opens up a slew of opportunities to engage the reader via multimedia elements. Features ranging from annotations to audio readings of poems provide technological enhancements that wouldn’t be possible in print.
Though still in its nascent stages, Two Groves brims with possibility. In particular, the publishing of literary criticism alongside poetry and other creative work generates potential to bridge the critical-creative divide in writing.
“I’m excited to see how much we can push the potential of Two Groves, particularly in prose,” says Fishman. “There are a lot of things that can qualify as text and a lot of ways to interact with text in writing, and we want people to keep mining those opportunities.”