Campus Connection: Full steam ahead for the literary magazine UW-La Crosse | Local News
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Not even a pandemic could end the printing of a UW-La Crosse student literary journal. Steam Ticket is on the rise as it turns 25 – with students determined to see the print periodical continue.
“Every year I ask students if they’d rather go online exclusively, and every year they say ‘no,'” says English teacher Matt Cashion. “They like the physical artifact of the book, and I imagine they like to take it away as a souvenir of the work they’ve done.”
Cashion, who has been the journal‘s academic advisor since 2006, says some featured selections go online each year, but students prefer the print editions.
That the paper remains popular after 25 years is remarkable, says Cashion. Many print newspapers have disappeared or are on the way out due to the internet and rising printing costs.
“Our longevity is, in part, a testament to writers who continue to write stories and poems worth sharing with readers who continue to be sustained by brave witnesses and unbridled imaginations,” he explains. -he.
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Students of the English Department’s annual English 320: Literary Journal Production spring course continue to make publishing happen. The annual review attracts submissions from national and international writers and artists, as well as students. The current issue features writers from six countries and 22 states, including American Poet Laureate Joy Harjo and a poet from Ukraine.
Cashion says the department’s growing creative writing minor is key to Steam Ticket’s success. The minor, he notes, creates personal, professional and civic ways for students to practice their writing skills.
Cashion says that by working on publishing, students learn that the stories they write and read can play an important role in building community.
“These are stories that deepen our appreciation of a wide range of perspectives by writing about what matters most in the environments we share, which we hope creates empathy and respect,” explains he.
Students find journaling useful for a variety of reasons.
Alexia Walz, a La Crosse senior with a major in media studies, says being the periodical’s editor gave her hands-on experience with the publishing process and improved her writing skills.
“I learned a lot about the publishing industry, including how it works and the type of stories and poems that get published,” says Walz. “I also learned about teamwork and the importance of communicating with the people around you. All of this indirectly helped me become a better writer.
Madison Vaillant, a junior from Lakeville, Minnesota, served as prose editor for the Spring 2022 issue. She says she learned many applicable life skills in her role leading the discussion with students in selecting the contents.
“I learned a lot of knowledge about how to lead a band, but also how to trust them to thoroughly critique plays and make decisions on their own,” she explains. “I improved the handling of group discussions by asking challenging questions and making sure everyone’s voices were heard.”
Vaillant sees these skills as essential when achieving her goal of working in publishing.
“I got more realistic work experience that could feel like a real job in the industry,” she explains. “I also gained hands-on leadership experience with this process, and whatever position I choose to apply for in the future, I think helping out with Steam Ticket has given me some really valuable skills. that I can use.”
Noah Gassman, a junior from St. Peter, Minnesota, says that before taking the course, he was considering internship responsibilities at publishing companies. All of these internships focused on collaboration, time management, editing and reading submissions.
“I did all of that with this course,” notes Gassman, who was a poetry editor. “So far, I have only taken lectures or discussions, but taking a practical course where we organize and create a tangible product, where we put our studies into practice, has been an extremely valuable experience for me. “
Many minor graduates in creative writing end up working in publishing, public relations or journalism, Cashion says. The minor also complements a wide range of majors, from communications and marketing to theater and psychology.
Cashion says that regardless of their major, students in creative writing classes come away with an important lesson.
“Once students realize that they are naturally creative – that they are already practicing creativity every time they post a message on social media, for example – their confidence increases and they find themselves producing a lot of ‘excellent work that they never imagined they could do, while having fun,’ he says.
Learn more about the Steam ticket at https://www.uwlax.edu/english/publications/steam-ticket/.