What Is Soundings?

We can best get close to the heart of what Soundings is about by asking what it is meant to encompass and hold, much as Puget Sound informs and holds an enormous portion of the Pacific Northwest, where Pacific Lutheran University and the Rainier Writing Workshop (RWW) are located. The Soundings website is an unusual hybrid, functioning as the home of a program journal called Soundings as well as an online community site, communication tool, and repository for current and archival academic materials for RWW participants, profiles and interviews, publication listings, and announcements of interest to the entire Rainier Writing Workshop community. It is published three times a year (Fall, Spring, Summer) and is an independent creation of student editors of RWW.

Soundings, the website, is an informational site that provides both public- and private-facing content about the Rainier Writing Workshop, including linkage to the official Pacific Lutheran University webpage, application instructions, and the RWW social media pages. The website also houses necessary academic materials that can be accessed by RWW participants, alumni, and faculty during the year and at the summer residency. The site is also a repository for archived issues of Soundings the magazine as well as other program-related archival material.

Soundings is designed to be an ongoing celebration of the writerly wisdom and work of the RWW community and a gateway by which prospective applicants can sense the attitude and character of a low-residency MFA program that differs substantively from any other in the nation. To describe that difference we would be obliged to use language not usually applied to an academic program. Words like community, culture, family, and friendshipSoundings is our connective tissue, a stratum of affinity meant to bridge the thousands of miles and long months that separate the writers associated with the program as we strive in our individual but kindred pursuits of living, learning, and, most of all, writing.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to peruse the history, staff, and back issues of Soundings the magazine. To receive more information about the RWW program, click HERE.

Soundings History

Soundings was created by an RWW participant who became acquainted with publishing during her Outside Experience. The Outside Experience (or OE) is a unique component of the RWW program that requires a participant to engage in an independent project generated by the participant to benefit his or her writing life in the second year of the program. As a result of her OE as an intern at Copper Canyon Press in 2008, Katrina Hays (2010) saw a need for a publishing and communication arm of the RWW program and, thus, conceived Soundings. She breathed life into Soundings for its first two years until she graduated, supervising its seamless transition from an email-distributed PDF to a handsome new online presence. Katrina continued to nurture Soundings as Editorial Consultant to student editors, assistant editors, and Webmaster until 2013.