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CU Denver Literary Journal Awarded


The accomplishments of two writers, Lisa Ko and Mark Holiday, were recognized through their creative work done with Copper Nickel, CU Denver’s literary journal.

Writers from all across the country can submit pieces to CU Denver’s literary journal, The Copper Nickel. Two awards—one for Best American Short Story and one for Best American Poetry—were awarded, making these the most prestigious awards given to writers in the journal’s history.

The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Poetry are both nationally renowned anthologies that only publish once a year,” said Steven Dawson, senior poetry editor at Copper Nickel. “Since they anthologize unsolicited publications, their editors are extremely selective. The community of literary journals is huge, so it’s quite an honor to have both a piece of fiction and poetry—from our first year back no less— represented in these quality anthologies.”

Creative Writing major and former Associate Editor at the Copper Nickel Angela Bogart-Montieth, discussed the process of story selection. “I have never worked with Lisa Ko or Mark Holiday before this point, at least not to my knowledge,” Bogart- Monteith said. She works with several others shuffling through names and stories of different genres and personalities until they decide what gets put onto the level of publication and what does not.

Managing Editor Wayne Miller facilitates the submission process. photo: Sarai Nissan • CU Denver Sentry

Managing Editor Wayne Miller facilitates the submission process.
photo: Sarai Nissan • CU Denver Sentry

“Throughout the process there is a great deal of deliberation and 10–20 submissions are organized weekly,” Bogart-Monteith said. After selecting the stories, they go through standard grammar corrections.

“This whole process is extremely important for students interested in working in the publication industry or any of the other facets of the creative writing world,” Dawson said. “Personally, as a writer who is submitting my own work for publication to other lit journals, it is really helpful to see how the other side of the table operates. Plus, through these small group meetings, we gain an advanced knowledge of how to critically read these genres, a skill that is invaluable in both students’ academic and professional careers.”

With experience and the help of colleagues, the stories were ready to be published. “This leads to weekly group meetings— facilitated by our Managing Editor, Wayne Miller—where, as a group, we decide which submissions merit a closer read by our faculty editors,” Dawson said. “The faculty editors then take over, ultimately publishing about 1–2 percent of our original submissions.”

With the awards for Lisa Ko and Mark Holiday, and the editors’ attendance of the AWP conference, the largest English conference in North America, there was a large amount of excitement in the office after the publishing of the 21st issue. “It was amazing to receive positive feedback from Diaz especially after the discussion of what articles are published,” Bogart-Monteith said. “It’s appeasing knowing your ability to see potential in something that ultimately has the best feedback and a great reward.”

There are several critics analyzing and interpreting what happens here on campus, but not usually drawing attention to the English field. “Accomplishments in the Health field often overshadow the other terrific programs and opportunities CU Denver offers,” Dawson said. “It is my hope that Copper Nickel can help to shed light on our great Creative Writing program for both current and incoming undergraduate students.”

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