Penumbra – a State of Literacy at CSU Stanislaus
By Michele Laverty
penumbra (pi-num ‘bre): n. 1. A partial shadow, as in an eclipse, between regions of complete shadow and complete illumination. 2. The partly darkened fringe around a sunspot. 3. An outlying, surrounding region; periphery; fringe
Nestled in the southern end of our beautiful county is a mecca for knowledge and the shadow cast by California State University at Stanislaus is felt throughout our area as a calming force for growth, understanding, creativity and wisdom. Since 1991, students at CSUS have been publishing a literary and art journal each spring which is entirely student created.
Penumbra gives artists and writers on campus the very real possibility of being published. The publication benefits students in English classes to gain real-world experience they can apply toward their future careers.
The response from students this year has been amazing with over 500 written and art submissions for the publication. Written work includes poetry, short stories, flash fiction and creative non-fiction works.
In 2016, Penumbra will publish more art than ever before. Recent years have seen only 20-30 art pieces and 2016 Penumbra will feature 47 pieces. The editors are also giving out prizes for the first time for the best prose, poetry and visual art. Top prize winner will receive a $150 Amazon gift card and two honorable mentions will receive $50 Amazon gift cards.
Every Spring the new issue of Penumbra is launched with a reading on the CSU Stanislaus campus. The event will be held in the University Art Gallery, which will allow for the display of some of the art featured in the journal. This year’s reader and judge was Christopher Coake, author of the 2007 short-story collection We’re in Trouble. Named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists, Coake’s novel “You Came Back,” made BookPage’s list of the Best Books of 2012. The art was judged by Professor James Deitz, who is a beloved faculty member and accomplished and talented artist.