The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

SSU’s ZAUM magazine illuminates creative student voices

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Nestled within SSU’s English department lies Sonoma State University’s award-winning ZAUM literary magazine, which is a beacon of artistic expression and academic prowess among students. With the magazine showcasing creativity and featuring a wide range of student voices, each issue publishes over 100 pages per year of literary work.

Originally known as the Sonoma Mandala, the publication has existed at SSU for over four decades, changing to the name ‘ZAUM’ in 1996. Since then, the magazine has aimed to “publish work that is of the highest quality,” according to SSU ScholarWorks. All work is produced entirely by students.

According to the ‘Zaum’ homepage on SSU’s website, the magazine has accumulated several national student awards from the Associated Writing Programs. One award acclaimed the ZAUM’s editorial vision in 1996, while another recognized the magazine’s graphic design in 1998.

Chlo Connaughton, a graduate English student with a concentration in literature, is positioned as the editor-in-chief for ZAUM’s upcoming 28th issue. Connaughton also held the role as a prose and print editor for the last published 27th issue. Contributing to the ins and outs of ZAUM’s creative flow, Connaughton relishes in experiencing the many sides of the editorial and design process that involves the literary magazine.

As a writer, advocating for other creatives is a significant passion for the editor-in-chief. “My favorite part of the process is watching other students’ amazing pieces go from the submission stage to being in physical print,” Connaughton said. There is no campus exclusivity when it comes to magazine contributors. ZAUM welcomes prose, poetry and art created by both graduate and undergraduate students across the world for magazine submission.

ZAUM also fosters an environment of positive personal and working relationships between students. Getting to know fellow student creatives in ZAUM’s interactive setting, editor-in-chief Connaughton feels lucky to work with them and is also glad to call them friends. “Making friends in the literary world is key to expanding your creative search,” Connaughton said.

Based in Russian poetry, the word ‘Zaum’ means “transrational” or “trans-sense” language that is “beyond mind.” According to composer and performer Caroline Wilkins’ journal ‘A Vocal Journey Through the Language of Zaum,’ Zaum is used to “describe experiments in sound symbolism and linguistic creation” which stems from Russian futurists of the 1900s. The term was coined by Velimer Khlebnikov, a Russian mathematician and writer.

Editor-in-chief Connaughton recommends that any student who wants to get acquainted with the literary world and publish their writings should join ZAUM. According to Connaughton, the magazine course is also a collaborative environment for stu- dents to express their passions. “We want to make sure that this is an approachable environment, and that the process of everything is laid out as such,” Connaughton said. “There are no stupid questions.”

Submission for the upcoming ZAUM publication was deadlined on Oct. 15. As the current semester wraps up, Connaughton is working on compiling and copyediting ZAUM’s final list of poetry and prose entries for the 28th issue. As editors prepare to publish the issue in the spring of 2024, readers can expect an original set of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and visual art that reflects SSU’s creative literary landscape.

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About the Contributor
Christian Core, Staff Writer
Christian Core is a third year communication major at Sonoma State.
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