Founded in 1975, South Dakota State University’s literary magazine “Oakwood” is fast approaching its 50th anniversary. This year’s issue debuts April 21 at the Hilton M. Briggs Library’s Daschle Congressional Research Study, which is located within the library’s University Archives and Special Collections.
This event, which is free and open to the public, features authors and poets from all over South Dakota both in person and virtual. It begins at 7 p.m. and includes a reception. The event will be simultaneously broadcast over Zoom. Attendees can be among the first to pick up a free copy of the magazine at the event, which is sponsored by the Department of English and Interdisciplinary Studies and Briggs Library.
Originally founded as a regional journal, “Oakwood” spent several years as a venue predominantly for SDSU students before gradually returning to its roots. It now publishes work by writers and artists of the broader Northern Great Plains region—South Dakota and the states that border it. “Oakwood” not only publishes contributors who live here now, but also those whose work has been significantly shaped by life in this region.
“Expanding the geographical reach of ‘Oakwood’ has gone as well as I had hoped when I started the process with the 2017 issue,” said SDSU associate professor Steven Wingate, editor and publisher of “Oakwood” and coordinator of creative writing. “As we generate more awareness of the journal, we’re getting contributions from all over that contribute to—and reflect—the literary life of this region.”
Contributors to the 2022 issue include former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser, Nebraska State Poet Twyla M. Hansen, and J.D. Schraffenberger, who edits America’s oldest literary magazine—"North American Review,” founded in 1815—at the University of Northern Iowa.
While “Oakwood” has expanded its reach to include contributors at all stages of their careers, it remains a teaching tool at SDSU. The magazine provides opportunities for students to not only publish their work, but also to gain experience in the publishing field through independent study coursework. Student editors choose much of the submitted material for an issue and are involved in editing, layout and publicity.
“We plan to keep the student presence of ‘Oakwood’ alive and well,” said Wingate. “Thanks to the administration of our department and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, as well donors who are invested in keeping ‘Oakwood’ going, we’re able to give SDSU students hands-on experience that rivals what they can get in much larger programs.
“It’s easy for a literary magazine to say that its current issue is its best ever, but when I look at our lineup of contributors, it’s hard to deny.” Wingate continued. “Outstanding contributors from all over the region are finding out about ‘Oakwood’ and want to be part of it.”
For further information, contact Wingate.