The Harbor Gallery on the ground floor of the McCormack Building on the UMass Boston campus will host a combined journal launch event for two literary annuals next Friday (May 9, 6-8 p.m.) with plenty of town and gown cross-pollination.
Write on the DOT (WOTD) joins UMass-Boston’s (UMB) “Watermark: Journal of the Arts” as they each celebrate the appearance of another issue of their literary journals. The public is invited to the festivities, which will feature three-minute readings by about five of the contributors to each of the two publications.
The 2014 issue of WOTD features poems, stories and memoirs, many of which have distinct Dot themes, including three poets’ impressions of the land/seascape around the peninsula: “Walking to Work, Savin Hill, Boston”; “Harborwalk”; and “Malibu Beach, Dorchester Bay,” which memorializes an oil spill near the gas tank.
Neighborhood sponsors include Savin Bar & Kitchen, Ashmont Cycle, The Stitch House, Tavolo Ristorante, and the Dorchester Arts Collaborative.
This issue was edited and laid out by Savin Hill resident Lynn Holmgren and Clam Point’s Mitch Manning, both of whom are pursuing MFAs at the Harbor campus.
WOTD was founded in late 2010 by students in UMB’s Creative Writing MFA program to create a space in which the Dorchester and UMB creative writing communities “can meet, mingle, and check out what each other are up to.”
Besides publishing the self-titled annual, WOTD schedules readings to give Dot residents and UMass students a chance to be heard in convivial surroundings. Co-editor Manning notes that these open mike gatherings “welcome Dot writers who may not consider themselves professional authors and who are not receiving invitations to read at places in Cambridge and Somerville, but are still looking for a venue in which to share their work.”
The inaugural reading, held on May 3, 2011, filled the back room of The Blarney Stone in Fields Corner. Since then a succession of WOTD organizers have held readings at indoor and outdoor venues like Savin Hill Yoga, Humphrey Street Studios, and the Dot to Dot Café as well as at pubs like The Banshee and Savin Bar & Kitchen.
“The Watermark” is a student-run, student-funded organization that has survived at UMass Boston under several names since 1979. It was published annually until 2010. Revived in 2013, it describes itself as celebrating “the best creative work done by UMass Boston students, faculty, staff, and alumni.” Because “The Watermark” nurtures emerging writers (some of whom also live in Dorchester) as they make their way through the UMass Boston curriculum, its mission coincides in many ways with that of WOTD.
In fact, the current editor of “The Watermark” is longtime Dot resident Caleb Nelson, an ex-Navy electrician who was formerly editor-in-chief of The Mass Media, UMB’s student newspaper.
As for the financial, technical and moral support from the school, Manning remarks, “The university may call itself UMass Boston, but we really see it more like UMass Dorchester.”