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“Calliope” celebrates half-century of showcasing student art and literature

Jul 2, 2020

University of the Pacific’s student-run literary and arts magazine, “Calliope,” marked its 50th anniversary this spring by overcoming social-distancing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to produce its first all-digital edition.   

“It is a challenge in and of itself to organize and put together a magazine,” said studio art and graphic design major Crystal Baltazar ’21, editor-in-chief for design. “However, if you add a rough semester coupled with a pandemic and a few extra trials, it heightens that feeling of accomplishment upon seeing the finished magazine.”

This year’s issue highlights the magazine’s half-century milestone with the theme, “Lineage: Sown in the Earth.” As always, it showcases a range of student-produced work including fiction and nonfiction, poetry, prose, essays and art. Many of the writers and artists this year reflected on the origins of their own work, which the editors believe make the theme thoughtful and relatable.

“I felt really excited that these poems that we have been reading and loving all year were finally going to be shared,” said co-editor, English major Ericka Wong ’20. “I was also really excited for the authors to be able to see their writing in the finished magazine.” 

Normally, students meet many times throughout the academic year to work on the magazine This year, the pandemic shut down the campus in mid-March, which meant the editorial staff, led by English major Carolyn Lee ’20, was not able to work in person.  The art team moved its meetings to Zoom, and much of the work with writers was done through email. 

Faculty adviser, Professor Brett DeBoer of the Department of Art and Graphic Design said “Calliope” develops leadership and collaboration. This year’s challenges were an opportunity for leaders to shine. 

“Our editors are self-starters. They take initiative; they communicate with one another,” he said. “Carolyn, Ericka, and Crystal really stepped up and made the magazine like it almost wasn’t interrupted.” 

The first issue of “Calliope” was published in 1970. The magazine is produced by Pacific’s Humanities Center and is advised by DeBoer and Professor Courtney Lehmann of the Department of English. DeBoer said the series of magazines provides an historical record for Pacific in a way that no other student-led project does. 

“It’s a universitywide, student project that allows the voices and the imagination of students to speak to things that concern them during that particular year,” he said. “We don’t have anything else that does this. Calliope serves a very important purpose in that respect.” 

The magazine is funded by the COP Office of the Dean,  the Department of English and the Department of Art and Graphic Design.

Access is free and open to anyone. You can read it on Issuu.

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