By Matt Starlight
If you’re in the market for some excellent literature, steer clear of the Barnes & Nobles discount bin and look into LSU MFA’s own literary journal, the New Delta Review. Coming up on their 30th anniversary and promoting a surprisingly affordable anthology of their greatest publications, the New Delta Review serves as LSU’s hub for creative fiction, non fiction, interviews, reviews, poetry, and artwork.
“It’s all run by MFA students in the creative writing program,” said editor Hannah Reed. “It’s been around for 30 years now so we’ve published some pretty exciting stuff. This is our 30th anniversary this year so we put together an anthology of some of the greatest writing that we’ve published over the past three decades.”
The works they publish aren’t just student pet projects, either. The publication boasts an outstanding list of renowned authors. “Some of the artists you’ve probably heard of: Kevin Wilson, Stacey Richter, Naomi Shihab, current Poet Laureate of Louisiana Ava Haymon, the former Poet Laureate of the United States Billy Collins, Anne Carson; we’ve had really exciting superstars.”
Don’t let the impressive list of established authors intimidate, though. When selecting what to publish, the New Delta Review chooses with fluidity and risk. Variation is so key to the journal that it is even baked into the fabric of the staff.
“We have genre editors so we have people in who are charge of the poetry and the fiction and the nonfiction, and what’s exciting of New Delta Review is that because we’re run by MFA students there’s naturally a lot of turnover on the staff, so the aesthetic preferences can change pretty drastically from year to year,” Reed said.
New Delta review is trying to appeal to more students with the selections they make.
“We try to take advantage of the online format, particularly in fiction and nonfiction where stuff tends to be a little bit shorter than you might find in print journal and have really standout language, really lyrical prose. We just love to have a lot of diversity. There’s some pieces that are really satirical and hilarious and there’s some pieces that deal with trauma and memory and that kind of thing, so there’s a pretty big range,” Reed said.
As with just about everything in this state, NDR takes pride in their heritage and is always on the lookout for fresh Louisiana talent.
“For the fall we’ll be looking for new submissions again,” said Reed. “And we love to publish Louisiana authors; we have some great ones. This one coming out in May we have a great young emerging author from New Orleans that we’re featuring. We’ve been working with Forward Arts Inc. to do a high school writing competition, so we’ll be featuring a few poems from high school students in the city who win the competition.”
New Delta Review is also putting together a non-fiction workshop at the Louisiana Book Fair so anyone who comes and wants try their hand at writing can get some feedback on it.
Despite the inherent complications of the world of literature, NDR is trying to keep their mission simple and pure. “I think we want to be a home for beautiful writing and we want that be accessible to everyone,” said Reed. “We’re really committed to finding writers who are just beginning their literary career. They don’t have really long bios full of fabulous publications yet, but we know they are going to.”
With such passionate staff working hard to bring this city a wonderful collection of literature, it’s no surprise that it’s lasted so long. If you’re interested in enhancing your literary IQ, check out ndrmag.org to browse the publications and purchase your own copy for just $15.