The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Chatham's "The Fourth River" hosts launch party

In celebration of the latest release of Chatham University’s Graduate Literary Magazine—“The Fourth River”—there was a launch party in Mellon Board Room on the evening of Friday, April 3.

As is frequently the case with literary gatherings, the event, which was scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m., actually got underway at 7:30 p.m., but the delay gave attendees ample time to converse, enjoy the drinks and appetizers provided for the occasion, and peruse the literary journal, which was on sale for 10 dollars.

The journal, with cover art by local Pittsburgh artist Seth Clark, is a, “nationally recognized journal,” with a focus on, “nature and place based writing, which coincides with Chatham’s ethos,” Corey Florindi, a second year creative poetry student in Chatham’s Masters of Fine Arts program and managing editor of the journal, said.

As the people in attendance began moving towards the seating area at the front of the room Sheila Squilante, editor of “The Fourth River,” made her way to the podium.

After briefly welcoming everyone and thanking them for coming, she introduce Florindi, who began by saying, “It is such a thrill to be here and to launch another issue of ‘The Fourth River.’”

He went on to speak about his experience working for the journal, describing it as a, “life changing and gratifying experience,” and joking, “I’m really going to miss living in Lindsay House on that fourth flour.”

Florindi then explained that the journal’s associate editors would read the featured pieces for the evening, as the contributors were all from out of state and could not attend the event.

Using that fact to emphasize the reach of “The Fourth River,” he said, “this journal really has some clout.”

The featured reading portion of the evening began with a piece entitled “Of Lieko,” by Justin Maxwell—a Masters of Fine Arts student at the University of New Orleans—and was read by Chatham MFA student Tessa Gilles, who said that she chose the piece because she was, “captivated by its beauty.”

The piece told the story of an individual who was trapped on the wrong side of a stream after a snowstorm caused the water level to rise.  It described a large Lieko—the Finnish word for a tree trunk that is so bloated with water it sinks to the bottom of a body of water—that “came down the stream like a battering ram,” with the ability to, “pick up history and hold it briefly in the present.”

Afterwards Florindi joked that he, “won’t even walk to the coffee shop shop in the winter,” saying, “I dress like a lumberjack, but it’s all a façade,”

He then introduced Taylor Smith; a first year in the MFA program who chose to read a selection of poems by Jen Siraganian.

These included a piece entitled, “There’s something about beautiful women on crutches,” which chronicled the struggles of a woman on crutches, including a run-in with a homeless woman who, instead of asking for change, said, “God bless you, honey.”

The final reading of the evening was of a piece by K. Jane Childs, an MFA student at the University of Alabama, read by Michelle Sinclair, a first year fiction student in Chatham’s MFA program, who began by jokingly warning people that she was from Canada, making light of her slight Canadian accent.

The piece was entitled “Quitclaim,” and recounted the story of a woman struggling to sell her grandfather’s house—the “Hemingway of Hilton Head Island”—after his death.

After Sinclair’s reading, Squilante returned to the podium where she mentioned her intention to close the event by reading a poem, then joked that she was much too emotional for that.

She went on to once again congratulate everyone involved with the journal, and thank everyone for their hard work, saying, “the behind the scenes stuff that happens at a journal; it’s not sexy, but someone has to do it.”

Throughout her remarks Squilante was particularly complimentary of Florindi, saying that she felt a special connection to him because they came in at the same time, and expressing how much she enjoyed working with him during his two years as managing editor.

“We both started, and we didn’t know what we were doing,” she said.  We bumbled into it together…and learned together…and [Corey] taught me how to be a mentor.”

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