Washington Square Review launched its 30th issue on Saturday night with a lively celebration and a series of poetry readings.
This year is the first issue with a full-color cover illustration, a dynamic narrative image by the illustrator Juliacks. Washington Square plans to complement the print issue with a
revamped website and an elevated social media presence on Twitter, Tumblr
“We’re trying to breathe more life into it,” said Amanda Calderón, web and public relations editor for the review. “It was already great, but we just want to make it more colorful, more modern.”
Washington Square is a national literary journal that is edited and produced by graduate students in the NYU Creative Writing Program. The publication features the work of emerging and established writers of fiction and poetry.
The event, held at the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House, featured readings by writers Lydia Davis, Colin Winnette and Ken L. Walker, all of whom are previous or current contributing review writers. There was also a raffle with prizes from 92nd Street Y, Penguin Books and Aesop.
Lydia Davis began the reading series with two of her short stories, “Two
“Characters in a Paragraph” and “A Story of Stolen Salamis,” as well as translated selections by Snyder and Flaubert. Davis is well-known for her short stories and translations of Proust’s “Swann’s Way” and Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary.” Her most recent volume,“The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis,” was published in 2010.
“In her writings, Davis shows what language can truly accomplish,” said Virginia McLure, poetry editor at Washington Square.
Colin Winnette continued the readings with whimsical poetry and prose. He read strange but charming passages from his newest book, “Animal Collection.”
“[Winnette’s work] is a great song, like David Bowie circa Ziggy Stardust era,” said the review’s editor-in-chief Christine Larusso.
Last to present was Ken L. Walker, whose poetry has a unique tendency to shape-shift; subtly changing words as it progresses to reveal meaning and links between ideas.
Another unique aspect of the 30th issue is that it includes the work of the review’s 2012 Award Winners, namely Jennifer Luebbers, Elizabeth Tingue and Dan Mancilla. The journal gives awards each spring in the categories of poetry, fiction and flash fiction, and each winner receives a prize of $500.
Calderón said she hopes the launch party will increase the Washington Square Review’s readership and encourage more submissions. The journal aims to present many up-and-coming writers, including those who have not been published before.
“We’re really looking for new voices and contemporary people,” Calderón said. “We do solicit … big name writers, but we really want to have fresh young writers as well. I hope that this event gives people a sense of that.”
A version of this article appeared in the Oct. 1 print edition. Veronica Carchedi is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.