UToledo Launches Bilingual Journal of Creative Writing

June 11, 2020 | News, UToday, Arts and Letters
By Vicki L. Kroll

Cohetes (Rockets), The University of Toledo’s first bilingual journal of creative writing in Spanish, is soaring online.

Launched on World Book Day, the inaugural issue features six pieces penned by UToledo undergraduate and graduate students:

• “Dieciséis años y embarazada” (“Sixteen and Pregnant”) by Elizabeth Smithmyer;

• “La palanca” (“The Lever”) by Allison Edelbrock;

• “La vocación” (“The Vocation”) by Chloe McCammon;

• “Suerte” (“Lucky”) by Rhiannon Byrd;

• “Los pelirrojos” (“The Redheads”) by Caroline Hoffman; and

• “Golpea tus tacones juntos tres veces y di, ‘No hay lugar como el hogar…’” (“Tap Your Heels Together Three Times and Think to Yourself, ‘There’s No Place Like Home…’”) by Paula M. Boehm.

When Dr. Manuel R. Montes, assistant professor of Spanish, Latin American literatures and cultures in the World Languages and Cultures Department, saw the work submitted by his students in Spanish Conversation and Composition II and Spanish Creative Writing, he wanted to share it.

“I realized that some of my students were going beyond the expectations and learning outcomes of the language courses I’ve been teaching at UToledo,” Montes said. “Not only in terms of grammar accuracy, but also intuition, imaginative skills and literary quality, some writing samples, essays and short stories that I was receiving for grading were simply worth publishing.

“I thought an open-access journal would be the most appropriate space for students to be showcased outside the classroom, and perhaps a more encouraging way for them to keep improving their Spanish besides a well-deserved full credit at the end of the class.”

Montes plans to publish new issues of the journal in fall and spring semester. He also is looking to include artwork, multimedia content and research projects.

“Cohetes promises to showcase the linguistic, artistic and literary talents of students in the College of Arts and Letters,” Dr. Linda M. Rouillard, professor of French and chair of the World Languages and Cultures Department, said. “This marks a wonderful milestone in our Spanish program and shines a light on the talent and potential of our students and colleagues.”

While the entries are in Spanish, Cohetes does offer a translation to English for each piece on the website, which is maintained by Arjun Sabharwal, associate professor of library administration and digital initiative librarian.

“Creative writing in Spanish as an academic discipline is relatively new in the nation, with only a few programs that offer it as a degree and not too many colleges that have integrated it as a language course in their curriculum, which translates into a very small number of publications of this kind dedicated to promote it,” Montes said.

“Cohetes is a contribution to that trend that is likely going to be consolidated, thus paving the way for UToledo to stand out as another breakthrough institution that is not disregarding the cultural and artistic importance of a language that is spoken by roughly 54 million people nationwide and 450 million people on a global scale,” he said.

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