Pitch: A Journal of Arts and Literature (Review)
Reviewed by Zachary Shiffman
Ten years following its inception, Cedar Crest College’s student publication Pitch: A Journal of Arts and Literature has released its 2020 issue online for all to access. Made up of a variety of creative works, Pitch’s tenth volume serves as a formidable compilation, one I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing, and its staff— including Senior Editor Jamie Kahn and Faculty Advisor Alison Wellford of the Editorial Board— should be more than satisfied by the exceptional end result.
As a fiction writer myself, I couldn’t help but be impressed and compelled by the short stories picked for the issue. With distinctive tones and grounded characters, I fell into these stories easily and totally. “‘You only need a little bit, this much,’ she said, pinching her fingers almost together to demonstrate,” writes Annie Elizabeth Kreiser in “Alternative Medicine,” a story about a narrator’s emotional rockings over her relationship with her mother. “I thought about my mom, Lisa, birthdays, and dead things.” I love this story, and I commend Kreiser (who is also the Editorial Assistant for the journal) for penning it and for the rest of Pitch’s staff for selecting it.
Beyond fiction, there is Zachary McMichael’s poem “The Tear,” a haunting and melodic piece about crying in the snow. Further, Mackenzie Lewis contributes “Three Photos,” one of which depicts the silhouette of a person seemingly trapped in a blue square and eclipsing a red beyond (this image serves, too, as the cover art of the journal). Among the issue’s fine art is Lisa MacDonald’s “Nationality Hands,” a motivational piece with allusions to worldly unity. Pitch also provides a stunning performance of choreography with “So I Will Comfort You” by Editorial Review Board member Arline Almeter.
In competition for my favorite part of the issue are the interview with author and editor Xuan Juliana Wang (conducted by Jamie Kahn) and the Exquisite Corpse project, which is a literary equivalent to a game of telephone and the product of two semesters’ worth of
contributions from Cedar Crest College’s population. This sequence of sundry voices goes from a mysterious shoebox buried in the woods to the significance of a sneeze to a woman who controls a storm, and despite its intentional lack of any semblance of narrative continuity it held my attention from the first word to its last.
The creators of Volume 10 of Pitch, from its Editorial Boards to its contributors, ought to regard their issue with pride, just as readers will certainly regard it with amazement. And if 2021’s array of works is at all comparable to 2020’s, then I personally cannot wait for Volume 11.