Publication Spotlight: Columbia Poetry Review

Published on Nov 03, 2015

By Neal Steichen (MFA '17)

From its beginning in 1988, the Columbia Poetry Review has been a strong part of Columbia’s Department of Creative Writing. Now, 27 years later, the CPR is nationally distributed, has won the Illinois Arts Council Literary Award, and has contributed work to various collections of The Best American Poetry.

Managing Editor Cora Jacobs (‘07) took some time to help answer some questions about this prestigious literary journal from our very own institution.

What kind of material does the Poetry Review cover?
CPR is open to all styles of poetry.  Its pages contain an eclectic mix of poetry from well-known and mid-level poets that students solicit, unsolicited work from the public, and student work. 

How can students who write get involved?
Students can get involved either by submitting their work or by participating in our class. Submissions are open each year at the start of the fall semester up until November 1.  We encourage students to participate further by enrolling in the Literary Magazine Editing class each fall, which reviews poetry submissions in batches each week and discusses which will be accepted.  The editors lead the discussion and take the final vote for all acceptances.

Who runs the Poetry Review?
This year, the editors are Matthew DeMarco (‘16), Elizabeth Forsythe (‘16), Jan-Henry Gray (‘16), and Evan Kleekamp (‘16). They each have individual responsibilities including batch assembly, data entry, rejections, and covering our own CPR blog.

The faculty advisor, Tony Trigilio teaches the editing class, participates in the discussions, and oversees the process.  Trigilio has worked on numerous collections of poetry—both editing and writing—and was a co-founder of the award-winning poetry journal Court Green, which was published in association with Columbia College Chicago, and co-edited the magazine during its 12-year run. 

The Staff of the Columbia Poetry Review

First row, from left, Daniel Sullivan ('16), Kelsey Hoff (MFA '17), Brandon Lee Vear ('18) Second row, from left, David Fairbanks (MFA '17), Chrissy Martin (MFA '17), Saku Egon Evon ('15), Luther Hughes ('15), Brittany Spaulding (MFA '17), Jan-Henry Gray (MFA '16), Evan Kleekamp (MFA '16), Matthew DeMarco (MFA '16), Elizabeth Forsythe (MFA '16), Tony Trigilio (advisor)

What does the future of the Poetry Review look like?
CPR has and will continue to participate in many events on and off campus.  During the recent Chicago Ideas Week, three editors from CPR led a poetry workshop for the public. On November 21, CPR participated in the Chicago Book Expo, exchanging ideas with other presses as well as handing out free copies of its magazine. 

Each year CPR participates in the book fair at AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs).  Next March, editors from CPR will go to Los Angeles and sell copies of the magazine as well as attend the many presentations offered at the Conference.

If you want to know more about Columbia Poetry Review, you can go to their main page HERE. You can also follow all of their happenings on Facebook or follow them on Twitter at @columpoetry