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Donaghy and students publish sixth edition of ‘Here’ poetry journal

Published on February 07, 2024

Donaghy and students publish sixth edition of ‘Here’ poetry journal

Here cover Contributors, editors and Eastern students packed into the David G. Carter Science Building auditorium on Feb. 1 to celebrate the sixth issue of “Here: a Poetry Journal,” published each year by students working with English Professor Daniel Donaghy.  

From Willimantic to Wales, poets contributed a wide range of work that bears witness to the human experience. The new issue has 44 poems from 27 poets.  

Of the featured poets, 20 came to read their work for the audience. Among them was Maria Mazziotti Gillan, who detailed her experience growing up as the daughter of working-class Italian American immigrants in her 24 books. Salvadoran-American immigrant José B. González shared his “Skillet Poem,” which emphasizes the strength of his mother, defending his grandmother from her abuser.

Julia Morris Paul’s “Praise Poem” expresses gratitude for the chance to publish her work in the fourth edition of “Here” and to honor her son, whom she lost to an opioid overdose. A Rockville High School senior and third-place prize recipient at Eastern’s 2023 Literary Festival, Kimberly Yankson, related her experience growing up as a Black girl in a predominantly white area in “When my Black Hair Wasn’t Black Hair.”  

“I hope that people will gain insight on other people’s lives as they read each issue of ‘Here’ — their challenges and laments and frustrations as well as their joys — and that the poets who contribute feel valued, loved and seen,” Donaghy said. “In addition, I hope that the experience of gaining a glimpse into other people's lives encourages readers of ‘Here’ to write their own stories and share them with others.” 

'Here' editors and contributors celebrate publication
Editors and contributors celebrate the publication of "Here."

Donaghy brings Eastern students together in his courses on magazine literary editing, introducing them to the world of literary journals and the publication process. Each year brings a new group of students committed to the goal of lifting underheard voices. “To write (your experiences) is to share them,” said editor Clelie-Ann Ryan ’24. “We must continue to hold space for others and to be here to listen.” 

“Holding this issue of ‘Here’ in my hands feels surreal,” said cover artist and contributor Bellana Parungao ’25. “I've been working toward a career in illustration all my life, but I never thought I would see my art published. It's sort of strange seeing people hold something with your work on it. Looking around the room, it took me a minute to realize, ‘I did that.’” 

Daniel Donaghy
Daniel Donaghy

Many of the pieces published in “Here” go on to be published in author’s poetry books, chapbooks and larger poetry journals. Last year, student editors voted on six pieces to send for consideration in the “2023 Pushcart Prize XLVII: Best of the Small Presses Anthology.” Of the six submitted by the student editors, Julia Morris Paul’s “Dear Coroner, How Could You Know” was selected to be reprinted in the anthology. 

Donaghy said, “To have work from ‘Here’ reprinted in the Pushcart Prize anthology alongside some of our country’s most prestigious literary journals is a tremendously important pat on the back for our editorial team and a great source of encouragement to keep doing the important work that we're doing.” 

The experience gained by students helps prepare them for life after graduation. Donaghy reflected on his time as an editorial staff member for “Epoch” at Cornell University. “I learned so much during that time about editing, publishing and how to prepare manuscripts for submission,” he said. “I'm excited to offer a similar opportunity for Eastern's student editors and creative writers. No matter where life takes them after Eastern, working on ‘Here’ promises to be a beneficial experience.” 

Copies of “Here” may be purchased in the English Department office for $5 or ordered online for $8. 

Written by Marcus Grant