The Watermark: Ready for Submissions

Colleen Barry

A group of about 25 were gathered in the fourth floor Wheatley Student Lounge at 2:30pm Wednesday, October 29 for The Watermark’s open house. UMass Boston’s literary and arts journal provided food, music, submission forms, copies of the latest edition, and information to interested students.

Editors Nancy Derby and Diane Costagliola welcomed attendees and gave an overview of the publication and submission process, including awards funded by the English Department in the amount of $150 for the best pieces of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The crowd circulated constantly as every few minutes new faces walked in, munched on assorted pastries or sushi, asked a question or two, picked up a submission form, and wandered out with the latest copy of The Watermark.

Entirely student funded and run, The Watermark is paid for by student fees, edited by students, and only accepts entries from people enrolled in at least one class a year. Contributions of all kinds are welcome, literary or visual, and can range from poetry to academic essays and black and white photography to woodcuts.

Now in its eleventh year, and on its third name, the annual journal exposes the artistic underbelly of the campus. Scholars here are usually too busy rushing to class, work, or daycare to stop and read the brightly colored flyers lining the walls, never mind appreciate the sculptures here courtesy of Arts on the Point or examine the latest installation at the Harbor Art Gallery. The latest edition of The Watermark, released late last spring, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the blank brick boxes on Columbia Point are not quite dull enough to drive all creative instincts out of its inhabitants. The periodical features over 70 immensely diverse contributions, which have in common only evident talent and high quality. This is thanks in no small part to a staff of about 30 who spent hours going through the submissions and making tough decisions. You can see for yourself if you decide to pick up a copy.

Last year the journal was at the heart of a controversy concerning flyers they had posted seeking submissions. A ’50s style pinup girl, in ruffled underwear and bent at the waist, peeked out at viewers from between her legs, with the message “Sometimes exposure is a good thing.” Although the co-editors said it was meant to be humorous and they did not consider it explicitly sexual, some members of the Women’s Center found the image offensive and raised questions as to whether the picture was appropriate for display at a public university. Unknown pranksters responded by printing counter-flyers similar to The Watermark’s but using pornographic pictures involving two men. This year their flyers are still funny, but avoid the risqué. Now Mr. T’s face plasters the walls pitying the fool who doesn’t submit to The Watermark.

The deadline for all submissions is December 19, 5p.m., and there is a limit of five writing and five art pieces per person. For more information, or to contribute, e-mail [email protected], call 617-287-7960, or stop by The Watermark office in Wheatley, fourth floor, room 177, where you can pick up submission forms and copies of Volume X.