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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Student Literary Journal, The Watermark, Returns with Poetry, Stories, and Art


The art work on the cover was done by Ralph Sanon.




After taking a hiatus during the Fall 2012 semester, the student literary journal, The Watermark, has returned. The Watermark will be easy to spot around campus next week, as its cover includes a drawing of lips curled into a slight smile, revealing fanged teeth with blood oozing between them and flowing down.

The Watermark includes 144 pages of student submitted poems, short stories, flash fiction, essays, art, and photography projects. Its entries touch upon politics, passions, death drugs, growing up, other worlds, sex, and love.

Poetry dominates the publication, with 97 poems included in this year’s edition. Starting off with “Emma’s Sonnet,” a poem about a man recounting a night with a girl who left “electric memories,” and ending with the last poem, “October 20, 2010,” in which the writer reflects on how her safe “2 mile wide world” as a little girl is only possible because of the family who came before her. The poem, “Untitled,” is about the writer’s desire to watch the person they love sleep. A poem about buying IKEA furniture with a partner noting that it’s “Most weird to examine another use beyond the puritanical snooze.”

There is a poem about past apartments titled “858” and a poem about breasts titled “Bust.” Each poem included in The Watermark is unique and with something different to say. For example, “Let Go” assures that “there is indeed another sky,” and “Relapse” is about a drunken night of “awkward sex.” The humorous “Agabar’s” is about a vendor at a “bizarre bazaar” whose booth sign reads “Welcome to Aghabar’s…Best Farts in Town!” There is even a series of poems included which are written in French, with an introduction which is hopeful that the poems “draw a few brave readers into exploring the French language and French culture.”

Submissions were not split off into their own sections, but instead they were meshed together. Poems follow short stories, and essays are met by flash fiction. Art pieces coincide with stories. This format gives the journal a feeling that it is its own entity, which is meant to be read from front to back.

There are also some very interesting art and photography projects included in the journal. “Art of Trash” is about a woman and a daughter who make sculptures with bottles, chip bags, or whatever else they find which could help with the piece. Many of the photography projects are pictures taken in foreign countries, such as “Balata Refugee Camp,” where Teresa Yah documents refugees at a camp on the outskirts of Palestine.

Other visual arts include a painting of a universe, a woman with rainbow colored hair in deep contemplation, and a man with a squid creature on his back who is biting into the man’s shoulder. There is even a comic strip about a superhero in Boston whose days seem to be coming to an end.

The Watermark includes six essays, one of which is a six-page academic thesis which is edited down from 40 pages about how Dracula’s true weapon is not his teeth. With increasing fees, deteriorating vehicles, late trains, and crowded stations, “Transportation Epidemic” is about the writer’s observation and experience of the unreliable MBTA service. A lighter side of the essays includes “Steeped in Superstition,” in which the writer takes a look at how his mother’s superstitions unite his family. “Road Less Traveled” is a solemn essay about a girl’s tragic life of unfortunate medical conditions, being kicked out of her parents’ house at the age of 16, getting pregnant after her first time having sex, losing the baby – all events which led to her moving to Boston to study nursing.

What really stands out is the fiction writing in The Watermark.  “Homewrecker” is about a man who attempts to spice up his love life by bringing his wife and mistress together for a ménage a trois. The strange but entertaining “Seven for Snow” is about a doctor named Snow White who works in a psychiatric ward where she has named her patients after the seven dwarfs, begging the reader to ask if the doctor herself is insane. Each of the 38 stories included can be summed up as funny, odd, entertaining, abstract, tragic, dramatic, and wonderful. “Loveless” is beautifully written and reads more like a poem than a story.

The student submissions are sandwiched between the Good Reads section, which displays and summarizes works published by UMass Boston professors, and ending the journal is an interview which The Watermark’s Editor-in-Chief, Caleb Nelson, conducted with Fanny Howe, who has written more than 20 volumes of poetry, 12 works of fiction, two memoirs, and six young adult books, and teaches an Advanced Fiction Workshop at UMass Boston.

Put together by a group of undergraduate and graduate student volunteers, The Watermark is already accepting submissions for its fall publication.