Touchstone Literary Magazine Offers New Issue, Digital Archives

Editor Gavin Colton (center) celebrates at the Touchstone release party.

Touchstone enjoyed a rebirth this year.

Almost a year ago, I decided that I’d put my extra semester of graduate school to use and thrust the magazine into the lit-mag world with new gusto. In the ever-digitizing world of literature, our first two goals were to establish an online presence at and to archive digital copies of past issues: Touchstone had its advent sometime circa 1959, judging from our archives; a healthy collection of fiction, nonfiction essays, poetry, and artwork was sitting dormant in Hale Library.

Once the online platform was up and running, the archiving process could begin: after meeting with K-State Libraries’ Keli Rylance and Cliff Hight one spring afternoon on the fifth floor of Hale in Cliff’s office, we agreed that digitizing the archives was a worthwhile endeavor. That’s when the real work started, delegating the many duties: template creation, metadata collection, the actual scanning of the issues—this job eventually fell into the lap of Linda Marston, who recently informed me that the project would be complete by the end of the month.

Anyone who has collected metadata understands the monotony of it. On a cold winter morning at Bluestem Bistro in Aggieville, Peter Williams (M.A. ’18), Maddie Pospisil (M.A. ’19), Anna Meyer (M.A. ’19), and I dug into a pile of Xeroxed tables of contents, rifling through for familiar or famous names. In that scattered pile, which was quickly stamped with round coffee stains and littered with crumbs from scones and cinnamon rolls, we felt the weight of the writers and editors who had preceded us. In there, we found writers and editors who went gone on to publish acclaimed works: Dustin Parsons, Robert D. Johnson, Ed Skoog, and Kevin Rabas to name just a few from memory. Come the end of the month, we’ll be delighted to share these archived tales, essays, poems, and art pieces with readers across the world.

The archiving project coincided with Touchstone’s return to print, which we believed was another vital element in ensuring the magazine for posterity, offering readers a 6 x 9 edition to hold close under their chins. Publishing through CreateSpace gave us the opportunity to make the issue available on Amazon, and Touchstone will also appear in the Chicago-Main Newsstand alongside other literary journals as a result of a serendipitous encounter on a recent trip to the Windy City.

I’m happy to say that this year’s Touchstone staff propelled the magazine into the literary world with earnest. And Twitter has proved to be a valuable platform—we’re currently competing for a place in #LitMagMadness Final Four.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Touchstone‘s faculty advisor Dr. Kimball Smith, department head Dr. Karin Westman, Creative Writing Track Head Dr. Katherine Karlin, and Heavy Feather Review Editor-in-Chief Jason Teal for their support and assistance throughout this process. And of course, many thanks must go to the talented Touchstone staff for their work.

We celebrated the launch of this year’s issue last Friday, March 30, where we hosted a range of writers, students, artists, musicians, and community members.

It brings me great joy to say that Touchstone is making great strides to bring you some of the best work from young writers in the Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska region.

I hope you cherish it.

— Gavin Colton (M.A. ’18)

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