By Alex Valenti

This semester, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time researching the Red Cedar Review’s past volumes with fellow journal staff member Carrie Dudewicz. The journal has over fifty years worth of volumes, so as we slowly wade through them all.

Here are a couple of interesting things about the journal: first, the RCR is one of the oldest undergraduate-run literary journals in the country, with the first volume published in the spring of 1963. That means we’ve published over fifty volumes! Also, many contributors of the journal have gone on to have successful writing careers like Romanus Egudu, Caroline Forche, and Jim Cash. Fun fact: Jim Cash, who graduated from MSU in 1970, went on to write popular films like Top Gun, Turner, and Hooch.

We plan to focus on a few of those past contributors when we present our findings at MSU’s undergraduate research fair in April. We decided to present and focus on past contributors because we want to demonstrate to other undergraduates that it’s possible to move toward a career in writing. Proving that these writers and staff members were able to “make it” in the writing world speaks volumes (get it? volumes?) and shows that anyone can make it.

While reading these past volumes of the RCR, I’ve been able to get a feel for what these writers wanted to focus on while writing them. Not only are we able to get a glimpse into history, but we’re also able to see what inspired these writers and contributors back then. My main goal when first starting this research was to track how history affected the journal, and so far these past volumes have not disappointed. I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity and I’m excited to see what else we can find in these old stories.

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