MSU’s new literary journal “River Whale Review” debuts

It can be daunting and intimidating to put out personal written works as they reveal the deepest part of one’s self. However, it can be a liberating feeling. Minnesota State University, Mankato’s latest literary magazine, “River Whale Review” allows students of all majors to submit their own literary works. 

The “River Whale Review” is an undergraduate literary journal that allows students to publish work of students that might be overlooked in the department. In the debut issue, a variety of works were published including poetry, creative nonfiction and photography. Creative Writing Professor and Director Geoffrey Herbach wanted to start the journal after noticing the university didn’t have one.

“There’s such a strong culture of writing on campus and it felt high time to get this going,” said Herbach. “So I ran a class dedicated to the creation of an online journal. We came up with a mission that feels like it really suits our school and our great student writers.”

Editor and junior Sarah Koenigsfeld explained that the name of the journal came to be from the editorial staff joking about the joke that river whales were in the Mississippi river a few years ago.

“[When coming up with the name] we wanted to relate it to the university, but also make it stand off on its own,” shared Koenigsfeld. “Someone brought up the River Whale Website and were like ‘what if we named the journal after the River Whale joke?’ because it was something that happened in Minnesota and it’s kind of cool.”

Senior Sarah James is one of the editors on “River Whale Review.” She found editing the journal to be a positive experience.

“I found it to be fun. It wasn’t as painful as I assumed it was going to be,” shared James. “We all work together well in a group. It was a fun environment, it wasn’t me sifting through mounds of poetry by myself.”

Being a creative writing major can be difficult, especially when writing fantasy worlds. Editor and senior Noah Kroells credits authors Neil Gaiman and Rick Riordan for inspiring him to write urban fantasy stories. 

“I’ve been a big reader throughout my life and being able to write has kind of allowed me to do that same thing,” said Kroells. “[Becoming a writer] is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.”

On April 30, students who submitted work will be participating in a live reading in CSU 245 from 3 to 5 p.m. Koenigsfeld is looking forward to seeing how authors will read their pieces.

“When different [pieces] are written, the author has a different way of it being read with speed and pauses that they maybe didn’t necessarily put into the writing because they didn’t want it to be read wrong and I find that interesting,” shared Koenigsfeld. 

The editors hope that readers enjoy and recognize the work of their fellow classmates and peers at MSU.

“For sports and music, [MSU] has concerts, games and plays where we can all support each other and see how everyone is doing in their field and stuff they do on the side,” said Koenigsfeld. “I think it’s nice for the readers to see that there’s a lot of writing happening at the school.”

“We want to encourage people to put their work out there. You’re never losing anything by doing that,” said James.

For those looking to read the issue, The “River Whale Review” will be available on April 21 at riverwhalereview.com. For those who want to publish works next year can submit them at riverwhalereview@gmail.com.

Header Photo: Creative Writing Professor and Director Geoffrey Herbach started “The River Whale Review” after recognizing the strong writing culture on campus. (Dylan Long/The Reporter)

Write to: Emma Johnson at emma.johnson.5@mnsu.edu

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