Theres a treasure
hidden on campus that many in the outside world know about. The funny
thing is that most people on campus dont.
This treasure is the Palo Alto Review, an academic journal that is celebrating
its 10-year anniversary this spring.
The Review, which is the only academic journal produced by a community
college in the nation, publishes poems, memoirs, essays, articles and
short stories. Each issue is 60 pages long, and it contains six to eight
poems, three short stories, or two regular length stories or articles.
Every issue is also focussed around a specific theme. Some examples of
these over the past few years are Dreams, Art and the Artist, and Beginnings.
The Review began when former Palo Alto President Byron Skinner approached
Robert Richmond, Assistant Professor of English, and Ellen Shull, Associate
Professor of English, in the fall of 1991 about co-editing a journal devoted
to publishing works by students and established writers.
We basically started from scratch, Richmond said. To
get the word out we advertised in literary magazines like Poets and Writers
and contacted the Palo Alto community.
It didnt take long for their offices to be overwhelmed by the sheer
volume of submissions from across the nation. However, the monotonous
task of reading through them and replying to the authors was not without
We were really excited to be discovering new writers and enjoying
their work, Shull said
We were giving copies to family and friends, Shull said. Anyoneto
show them what wed done.
Since then, 400 to 500 copies of the Review have been published each year
in the fall and spring for $5 each. It is also available at a $10 yearly
subscription rate, or $18 for two years, $40 for five years and $100 for
a lifetime subscription.
In an average week, the editors receive 12 to 15 works of fiction, 35
to 40 poems and 10 essays or articles from across the nation and world.
The majority of these come from New York and California.
We get so many submissions that we, on average, send back 98 percent
of them, Richmond said. Most of them are very good, but there
just isnt enough room in the issue.
When they reject a writers work, they are always sure to send them
a personalized letter.
We dont do form letters, Richmond said. We offer
suggestions about their piece, and if we cant use it because it
has too much sex or cursing, we tell them about other magazines that would
be interested in their work.
The Review is advertised world-wide in trade magazines like Writers
Digest, and has subscribers in Japan, Australia, Greece, Germany, Canada,
Switzerland and Israel
Word gets around about us, Shull said. Weve heard
of a copy being passed along by two airplane passengers.
In addition to being known around the world, an article by Burton Raffel,
Beethoven, Monet, Technology, and Us, published in the Spring
2000 issue was selected to be included in the 2001 Pushcart Prize XXVI.
The Pushcart honors the best work of small literary magazines.
We usually submit five pieces from each years issues to be
considered for the Pushcart Prize, Shull said. This year they
The Review has also been featured in the Library Journal, Writers
Market and the San Antonio Express-News. The Review recently went online
with its own website featuring six pieces each from the past three issues.
But despite this outreach, student submissions and campus knowledge of
the Review remains low.
Unfortunately, we receive very few things from Palo Alto students,
Shull said they have also been approached by Associate Professor of music
Brent Osner about a collaboration on compact disc between the Review and
Palo Altos Mariachis, the Palominos.
My real dream is to have a special issue that honors the best pieces
that have been published over the years, Shull said.
However, some future projects may garner the Review the attention it deserves.
The Fall 2003 issue will be a special International issue, with submissions
from around the world. Some authors in Japan have already been contacted
Regardless of what happens, Shull believes that the Review will continue
to thrive, and she is very optimistic about its future under Palo Alto
President Dr. Ana Guzman.
"I believe that Dr. Guzman will see that the Review is a very special
flower in the Palo Alto garden; and with a little watering and tending
will continue to grow into something beautiful," Shull said.
The 21st issue will be published this spring. Students and faculty can
submit their work for the Fall 2002 Friendship themed issue
with a self-addressed stamped envelope to the PA Review Editorial and
Business Office, 1400 West Villaret, San Antonio, Texas, 78224-2499 before
July 31. The cover letter should include your name, address, telephone
number and e-mail address. If your work is selected, you will be "paid"
with two copies of the issue.