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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

Recent Northwest graduates Alyssa Striplin (left) and Alex Zenz benefitted as English majors by working on the Laurel Review, a literary magazine edited and published by faculty and students in the University’s Department of English and Modern Languages. The magazine, now in its 46th year, recently published its spring edition.

Recent Northwest graduates Alyssa Striplin (left) and Alex Zenz benefitted as English majors by working on the Laurel Review, a literary magazine edited and published by faculty and students in the University’s Department of English and Modern Languages. The magazine, now in its 46th year, recently published its spring edition. (Photo by Darren Whitley/University Relations)

May 15, 2013

Tradition of ‘The Laurel Review’ continues as students gain publishing experience

The tradition of Northwest Missouri State University’s national literary magazine, “The Laurel Review,” lives on and is now in its 46th year.

The magazine is traditionally compiled and published as a group effort of Northwest English faculty and students taking the publication skills course as well as student interns. In recent years, students and faculty also have contributed art and cover designs.

“These pieces go into their portfolios, too,” John Gallaher, associate professor of English and an editor of “The Laurel Review,” said. “They really enjoy it as a different thing to do to round out their portfolios, so it’s helpful for many people across campus.”

“The Laurel Review” has a circulation of about 1,000 and is printed biannually. It features fiction, poetry and essay submissions from writers around the world. Writers are primarily writing instructors but also include lawyers and students. A piece written by Pulitzer Prize winner Rae Armantrout recently appeared in “The Laurel Review.”

A clause in the bylaws of “The Laurel Review” prevents Northwest faculty or staff from contributing work, making the magazine a practical lesson in editing and publishing.

“One reason we have interns is getting to read all of these submissions from these writers is really helpful if you’re trying to figure out your own voice,” Richard Sonnenmoser, assistant professor of English, said. “It helps you to figure out what people right now are writing and what they’re sending to magazines. That leads to having a better sense of what the landscape is like for creative writing.”

Each submission is read by at least of the literary journal’s two staff members. They meet and share notes to discuss the good and the bad. Ultimately, the staff publishes the best submissions that captivate their attention through stirring storytelling and dynamic use of language. As the staff digs through submissions, they learn from unique writing methods and techniques.

“I always look for a certain writing that is not just to entertain, but something I haven’t seen before, or a style of writing that I admire or might want to emulate,” said Alyssa Striplin, an Independence native who recently completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Northwest. “The more I’m here, the more it opens up opportunities for me with what I want to do for the rest of my life. It makes what I want to and what I’m passionate about in life have meaning and have a place in this world, job-wise.”

Part of attraction to “The Laurel Review” is the experience of unearthing undiscovered talent and revealing it to the world for the first time. Another perk, from the faculty perspective, is exposing students to the literary review process. Students benefit by personally experiencing editing and publication, and the magazine benefits by feedback from students gifted in writing.

“There’s also the other thrill of people receiving it and the students being a large part of it,” Gallaher said. “The publication skills course is involved in some aspects of learning by going through the files for “The Laurel Review.” Editing a magazine can be personal but when you open up the tent and bring a whole bunch of people in, it becomes communal, and it becomes something larger for many people.”

Individual subscriptions to “The Laurel Review” are $7. A yearly subscription is $10, a two-year is $18. To order copies or submit work, email the editors at TLR@nwmissouri.edu.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468