By Colorado Review Associate Editor Meghan Pipe
Each March, alongside the panicked due-date queries from students, registration reminders, and silly cat GIFs from my friends, a few emails pop up in my inbox from people I don’t know—fiction writers who’ve been accepted to Colorado State’s MFA program and want to pick the brain of a current student. What makes CSU different? they ask. What makes it great? What makes it unique?
I try my best to be honest and straightforward in these interactions, but it’s hard not to gush when it comes to describing the Center for Literary Publishing’s internship program. This is my third (and final) March as a graduate student and CLP intern, which means I’ve been gushing privately about this internship to strangers on the internet for years. There are still a few messages in my inbox waiting for replies, so partly for posterity, partly in anticipation of the latest crew of accepted and curious students, here’s one outgoing intern’s quick perspective on why working at the CLP is one of the best parts of CSU’s MFA program.
You’ll learn a ton about the publishing world. Working on Colorado Review is a kind of crash course on best practices for submitting your own work and working with editors once that work has been accepted. You’ll get to read submissions, learn how to copyedit, proofread, and typeset pieces for the magazine, and see how a story, essay, or poem moves from the Submittable queue to the bound pages of an issue.
You’ll get to make actual, beautiful books. In addition to working on the magazine, CLP interns work on the poetry books we publish each year through the Colorado Prize for Poetry and the Mountain West Poetry Series. Being part of the team that brought Mike Lala’s Exit Theater to life is one of the best experiences I’ve had at CSU. Typesetting is such a meticulous, intimate process, and I learned so much about poetic form by working on the book.
You might get to help curate the Colorado Review podcast, or be given the keys to the social media castle. Beyond working on the magazine and books, The Colorado Review podcast does monthly features on new and archived material. I’ve gotten to sit down with poets I admire and read some of my favorite stories on the podcast, as well as learn new skills in audio production. CLP interns are the brains and wit behind our social media accounts—if #amreading action shots or poetry jokes are your thing, you might get to share it with our followers on literary Twitter and Instagram.
You’ll get to work with awesome people. I’ve gotten to know writers outside my genre best through shared internship hours at the CLP, which I’m so grateful for. And you’ll have a smart, organized, and patient leader in Stephanie G’Schwind, our editor-in-chief, who will teach you the most marketable skills you’ll ever learn in an MFA program.