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The Easterner

The independent, student-run news site of Eastern Washington University.

The Easterner

The independent, student-run news site of Eastern Washington University.

The Easterner

EWU undergraduate literary magazine holds release party

Katherine Kneafsey

On Feb. 21, at 4 p.m., students, teachers, friends, and parents gathered in The Mason Jar to celebrate Northwest Boulevard Magazine, a literary magazine run by undergraduates at Eastern Washington University. 

The smell of coffee and freshly crafted sandwiches filled the air in the bustling lounge as those published in the magazine shared their work in a public venue with the EWU and Cheney community. 

One such reader at the release party, Kayla Vanderhoof, a 2023 graduate from EWU with a bachelor’s in Creative Writing, said the experience was “really, really cool.” 

“This is my first official publication, which is super exciting,” Vanderhoof said. “I love being able to give back to the community. It’s helped me so much with my own creative process.”

Northwest Boulevard Magazine has been around since the 1970s and is published annually. The magazine has proudly served and represented many undergraduates for their first publication. This year’s issue was especially challenging and rewarding noted Head Editor Noelle Bowden and Head Nonfiction Editor Brandon Welte.

Only five members comprised the editing team, which paled in size compared to past editing team numbers. Bowden has been part of the organization for three years running, which Bowden said made the release party all that much more satisfying after finally coming to the end of her tenure as managing editor for the magazine. 

Welte, when talking about what Bowden means to the magazine, said, “I just want to say that the fact that Noelle has that spark is very apparent, in the sense that she has really done a great job keeping us all on track.” 

Bowden shared similar sentiments about her editing team and how she couldn’t have done it without them. She learned a lot about herself, and Welte noted the same. They were given a big task while juggling their other responsibilities with no incentive but their loyalty to one another and to the magazine.    

“It is an undergraduate literary magazine ran by the students for the students,” Bowden said.
Welte, a current Eastern student majoring in creative writing and philosophy and head nonfiction editor, said, “I suppose I can say it’s unique, and there’s probably nothing out there like it.”  

After Bowden gave her opening remarks, Jonathan Johnson, longtime faculty advisor of the magazine, and poet, opened the event by reading poems he had been working on for his new book. One such poem had him do his best impression of Elmo, drawing many chuckles and laughs from the crowd. 

Vanderhoof said the reading wasn’t as stressful as you might think.  

“In high school, I did poetry slams, as they call English departments, for like a whole day in the drama room. Basically, they send their kids their classes down to sit at the lunch tables, basically, and people will go up on stage and read slam poetry. And that definitely contributed to my creative process.”   

Vanderhoof, whose family came to see her at the event, mentioned she mostly flip-flopped between writing poetry and fiction, but it was two of her nonfiction pieces that ended up being the ones that got published along with two of her poems. 

One other reader, Irie Browning, a philosophy major with an English Lit minor who will graduate in spring and is on her way to a Ph.D. philosophy program at the University of Oregon, had three poems published in Northwest Boulevard Magazine. 

“I am in a continuous state of plotting stories in my head. I just can’t stop. There was one time I was like, I’m gonna stop writing. I’m done. This is never gonna get me anywhere. But I can’t stop. I think it’s fun. I love creating characters and emotional arcs, stories. There’s a lot I need to work on in terms of plotting, and stuff like that, but yeah, it’s fun,” Browning said. 

She’d been published before in high school in a weekly Christian magazine, but being published in Northwest Boulevard felt like the first real literary magazine she was a part of. For her, reading in front of an audience was scarier than expected but fun and rewarding since she got to share her work with her friends.     

The reading portion of the party ended at 4:50 p.m., and then groups of people talked amongst themselves to congratulate their loved ones and friends on their performances and to catch up with one another. A long line formed behind the reading stool to buy a copy of the magazine, and as people trickled out, the last half of the party went until 6 p.m. Few were left behind in the suddenly empty shop.    

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About the Contributors
Riley Langill, Reporter
Katherine Kneafsey, Photographer

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