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Creative Writing Program launches online literary journal

236 features works by graduates

The GRS Creative Writing Program's new online literary journal is titled 236 after the program's address on Bay State Road.

The name of BU’s newest literary journal is a number: 236, titled after the GRS Creative Writing Program’s address on Bay State Road.

The online publication, which will be published each June and December, presents poetry, prose, plays, essays, and reviews by alumni, faculty members, and current students of the program.

The inaugural 236 features works by 15 graduates and an excerpt from program director Leslie Epstein’s novel-in-progress, Ethiopia.

An important aim of 236 is “to help make the connection between our alumni — new and unpublished writers in particular — and editors and agents,” says editor Matt Yost (GRS’98), administrative coordinator of the Creative Writing Program. “I think the most practical and real way we can assist our alumni is by helping them find an audience and by helping them get into print.”

The idea of launching an online literary journal came from Epstein, a CAS English professor, whose nine novels, including King of the Jews (1979), have received wide acclaim. The project has been in the works for about a year, with Yost sending out a mass mailing last summer to alumni of the program asking for literary contributions. Recent program graduate Anindita Sempere (GRS’05) helped design the journal.

“The journal was Leslie’s idea,” says Yost, a graduate of the program. “We cooked it up, but it was definitely his recipe.”

For the news page of 236, Yost is compiling a list of Creative Writing Program alumni and their publications and awards. This work-in-progress contains 169 names at present, but it could contain up to 600 when this ambitious task is completed. Yost also aims to add links to graduates’ Web pages, as long as they are writing-related.

The program boasts such well-known alumni as Ha Jin (GRS’94) and Jhumpa Lahiri (GRS’93, UNI’95,’97), but Yost says the debut issue showcases sparkling works by a number of recent graduates, including a play by Ronan Noone (GRS’01) and three poems by Tracey Knapp (GRS’04). “We’re really happy with the result so far,” he says.

Writing submissions and entries to the alumni information page may be sent to crwr@bu.edu.