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Bookmonger: Reviews of Rain Magazine 2017, Blended 2017

A cornucopia of talent in college literary magazines

Published on October 12, 2017 7:34AM

Last changed on October 12, 2017 7:35AM

The cover of Rain Magazine 2017

Submitted photo

The cover of Rain Magazine 2017

Autumn is a great time to sing the praises of literary arts magazines. The Pacific Northwest boasts several fine examples, but given our space limitations, this column will focus on two recent college publications.

Talk about educational! Imagine putting out the call for material, wrangling all the contributors, managing the editing process, the layout, the publishing operation — it’s all in a day’s work for the faculty advisors.

But they would be the first to note the teamwork required to pull this off — beginning with the student staff and extending to the essayists and poets, the short story writers and cartoonists, the photographers and artists, all bravely baring their souls and honing their talents in front of their classmates, campus and community.

Rain Magazine

At Clatsop Community College, the annual literary effort is called Rain Magazine. This is a surprisingly hefty offering — thanks to the support of advertisers and individual patrons, the magazine features the work of more than fifty writers and artists living around the mouth of the Columbia River.

Among the highlights are crystalline poetry offerings from Victoria Boone of Ocean Park, Anne Farley of Beaverton and John Ciminello of Naselle.

Alyssa Graybeal, a writing instructional assistant at the college, supplies a wry and wonderful recollection of a hot springs misadventure.

A thoroughly engrossing Passport section tells stories from farther afield, incorporating snapshots taken by Clatsop College students during a recent trip to Europe, dispatches filed by poet/lepidopterist Robert Michael Pyle from Cuba, dazzling Latin American photography by photographers Wendy Harding and Martha Clarkson, and more.

Particularly important is an interview conducted by CCC advisor (and Coast Weekend contributor) Ryan Hume with Iranian novelist Aida Moradi Ahani. A Willapa Bay Artist in Residence earlier this year, Ahani almost had her long-planned-for residency scuttled due to President Trump’s initial immigration ban. In the end, she was able to come, and it’s terrific that Rain Magazine could capture her thoughtful, and optimistic, perspective.


“Blended 2017” is a magazine published by Olympic College in Bremerton. Student staff member Daniel Chung designed the cover for this journal, which features the image of a strutting cock, in recognition of this being the Year of the Rooster according to the Chinese calendar.

This zodiac sign traditionally is viewed as a symbol of fortune, fidelity and strength, and readers who pay close attention may be able to identify those qualities as the thematic basis for the selection of pieces in this collection.

The dozen or so literary works range from poems to essays that contain personal reflections on concerns such as search for identity and loss of innocence. “Blended” also contains graphic novel-style sketches, a short story, and some good old-fashioned rhyming verse by poet Matthew Dean.

One section does a nice job of pairing physics-themed haiku with illustrations in a variety of media. And true to its title, there is a blend of other visual images throughout — Nessa Broughton-neiswanger’s mixed media piece, “Coming Home,” is a zippy standout.

The Bookmonger is Barbara Lloyd McMichael, who writes this weekly column focusing on the books, authors and publishers of the Pacific Northwest. Contact her at bkmonger@nwlink.com.

Rain Magazine

Faculty Advisor Ryan Hume

Clatsop Community College


Faculty advisors Lynn Hovde and Nicholas Schuur Olympic College


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