Monday, August 8, 2022

The Writing University has launched a new series of interviews to highlight the various journals and publications across campus at the University of Iowa writing programs. We ask about the publication's history, submission process, etc. Today's interview is with Jacob Sammon, editor of the publication earthwords.


earthwords cover

Hello Jacob! What is the history behind earthwords?

earthwords is the University of Iowa’s oldest undergraduate literary magazine! It was initially formed by a small group of students who had a truly deep love and appreciation for the arts and giving people the opportunity to share their voices. Although there are rumors that the “earthwords” name is in reference to environmentalism, that is not quite true. In fact, as far as our staff has been able to find, there is little indication as to what the real inspiration behind the name was. Of course, its similarities to “earthworms” is not unnoticed by the staff; behind the scenes, we refer to ourselves as worms—the cute kind, obviously. The publication is always looking to grow. Being around for 42 years and counting has not been possible without maintaining such an adaptive and responsive team—we are always looking for new and better ways to connect with our community.

What makes earthwords unique?

With an ever-expanding publishing landscape on and surrounding the University of Iowa campus, it can be difficult to differentiate between all of the various publications. With many new magazines and reviews being established at the start of each semester, possessing their own individual themes, earthwords continues to stand out as a publication that accepts anything. Without a specific theme or constant aesthetic, earthwords stands as a universal opportunity for artists and writers of all sorts. On top of that, our publication only publishes one magazine per academic year to provide as many opportunities to facilitate community events as possible. earthwords will often host two (and sometimes three!) events per month in a given semester—we value the relationships we build with community members above all else. We hope to establish as many opportunities for people to connect with art- and literature-loving folks as frequently and richly as possible.

When do you accept submissions?

The earthwords staff produces one literary magazine per academic year. This gives the team extra time to keep our submissions open! Typically, our submissions open during the first week of September and close in mid-October. This gives students roughly six weeks to submit something they have already prepared or draft something entirely new!

How can people get involved?

We hope that people connect with earthwords in a number of ways! Some of the easiest ways to get involved are submitting to the magazine, attending the events hosted by our various internal genre teams (art, drama, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry), applying to our staff, following us on social media, or visiting our website. We are always happy to answer any questions through direct message,email, or at the events we host! The most important value within our staff is establishing a warm, welcoming community, so we hope that everyone gets involved!

Where can people find earthwords?

The easiest way to find us is online (then, once people are there, they will see the events we are hosting)! Below are some useful links for people to visit to connect with us further:


We can’t wait to get to know you soon!