Campus literary journal WALL holds annual public reading

For 2021, literary journal WALL focuses on metamorphosis. Samantha, design | Jessie Lee, photo

To celebrate the 2021 print edition of the literary journal, WALL hosted a public reading featuring poems, short stories, personal narratives and photographs from the latest installment. Since 2001, the literary journal has featured various short stories and poems published annually both in print and online. 

Each year, WALL selects a theme that dictates each selection. WALL faculty adviser Gina Shaffer said, that this year’s chosen theme was metamorphosis. 

The public reading is available on WALL’s YouTube channel. The hour-long event features over 18 students sharing individual recordings of themselves, reading their short stories and poems. 

“The public readings for WALL really started in 2013 and the public reading basically involves having some of the writers and artists who are featured in WALL – they present their work,” said Shaffer, who teaches composition and literature in the English department. 

Due to the pandemic, a virtual event was held for the public readings this past year, however the event usually is held adjacent to the board of trustees room. 

“Typically we have been doing it in the place where the board of trustees meets HS 145, but because of the pandemic, last year we did a virtual reading and we are doing a virtual reading again this year,” Shaffer said.

During the challenging times the literary journal managed to produce and publish their short stories and poems online. Shaffer shares and explains more in depth about the ways the literary journal students managed to produce and publish their short stories and poems during the pandemic. 

“The WALL 2020 staff had been meeting in person, and then after spring break we were meeting online, so it definitely was a challenge to adapt to this new environment,” Shaffer said. “But the staff was very flexible and we figured out ways to do things online.” 

Many of the various short stories and poems,that were published both in print and online, were also distributed in the literary journal’s hardback version of its edition. WALL’s staff members not only managed to produce and publish their poems and short stories during the pandemic, but also a drive-thru distribution was held where individuals could get a copy of this year’s literary publication, Shaffer explains more in depth about the process. 

“We also wanted to make sure that we could continue to distribute the publication and it was challenging last year because there was restrictions about the campus,” Shaffer said. “So I was distributing it during campus drive-thrus.” 

Sharing more in depth about the campus drive thrus during the pandemic, Shaffer explains that during the drive-thrus, many copies of the literary journals publications were distributed to students this past year and also during the pandemic. 

“When we loaned the Chromebooks, I would be out there handing out copies of WALL, so we did some drive-by distributions,” Shaffer said. 

WALL has won many prestigious awards throughout the years, this year in particular the journal has been awarded with the Magazine Peacemaker award and also the Associated Collegiate Press award, a national award that recognizes excellence in short stories and poetry writing. The literary journal’s 2020 edition also won the American Scholastic Press Association award for outstanding community college literary art magazine. 

“We have had some individual students win awards, so we have been winning awards since 2012, last year’s edition won this award,” said Shaffer, referring to the Associated Collegiate Press award. 

Metamorphosis being one of the literary journals main primary focuses this past year, which was selected by WALL’s editor in chief Sofia Copca. Shaffer explains more in depth about the significance and importance behind this year’s theme.

“The students select and read all the submissions, we collect submissions from throughout the campus, and the students pick out what stories and short stories are going to go in,” Shaffer said. “We also have an art editor and art committee that work on what is going to go in WALL. Then the editor in chief looks at all those selections and sees if there is some kind of theme that ties everything together. She decided our theme is Metamorphosis change, because we are living in times of turmoil and change.”

Art editor and graphics designer Samantha Buck, who wrote and published short stories for this year’s edition of WALL, shared her creative process and inspiration behind her short story “Pocketful of Posies.”

“It is actually inspired by a song that a friend of mine wrote,” she said. “It’s a song that I love, so I asked her if I could write a short inspired by it and she said yes.” 

Sharing the inspirational aspect of her short story she wrote and published for the literary journal. Sharing more in depth about the public readings Shaffer explains what individuals can expect from the literary journal’s public readings. 

“It’s a great opportunity to see writers and artists share their work in a more personal and intimate way because you’re seeing the writers read from their excerpts or share their poetry,” Shaffer said. “So you get to hear them presenting their work in their own voice. And as for the artists, you get to see what their creative process was.” 

WALL’s literary journal encourages aspiring artists to not only share, write and publish their short stories and poems. It allows creatives to share their life’s inspirations and experiences to myriads of individuals through their artistic stories and personal narratives that they have written and published for the journal. 


Updated Dec. 8 at 4:24 p.m. to fix minor grammar mistakes.