“I want to hear Davis. I want to hear the voices that aren’t being expressed,” Corey La Rue said.
La Rue, a senior philosophy and art major, along with Aggie columnist Evan White, a senior English major, created The Press. An anthology dreamed up by La Rue, The Press opts for the uncensored and exposed writing that is so often ignored or shot down from common publications.
“We’re very welcoming. We don’t chop up because we’ve all been chopped up,” La Rue said. “The Press is a crying out against modern censorship. We’re publishing things that don’t conform to what society believes to be appropriate.”
According to La Rue, the city of Davis’ anthology was edited, turned people away and made it so people couldn’t be experimental. The Press encourages work that goes against the norm, all while fostering a safe environment for experimental writing.
“We needed something other than poetry nights in Davis for these voices to be heard,” La Rue said.
La Rue formed relationships with a few classmates during the summer to make his vision become reality.
“Four of us met during 100P during the summer,” said La Rue. “I met with Evan and I told him that I was interested in publishing his work. He was ambitious and tenacious and told me his philosophy. I immediately knew that he had to be my business partner.”
“I invaded their space and said that I wanted to get involved,” said Crystal Tao, a recent UCD graduate who serves as one of the main editors as well as the marketing guru for The Press.
Set up to be a writer’s workshop that will eventually lead to a published anthology, The Press consists of seven serious contributors so far. With writing that ranges from poetry, columns and stories, this publication strives to exercise the right of freedom of the press.
“We in fact do have the last word,” La Rue said. “It doesn’t censor who we are. It’s all about the fulfillment of the individuality.”
Meeting once a week, with four or more workshops left, The Press encourages and looks forward to interested and inspired writers. With the first edition aiming to be around 20 to 30 pages, this thick pamphlet will be considered a “chap book.”
“We’ll eventually get bigger and bigger,” Tao said. “We’ve gotten encouragement from professors for the production of our publication and the workshops. It’s a great team that we have and it’s always great to meet other creative writers.”
Phillip Ting, a junior exercise biology major, contributes to The Press with his commentary during workshops but also with his writing for the publication itself.
“There are so many styles of writing that need to be expressed,” Ting said. “We have workshops to work with each other so that everyone can benefit.”
Benefits include learning how to accept constructive criticism, making connections with fellow writers and learning how to properly word advice and suggestions.
“As a poet, I always have the nervousness,” Ting said. “After you hear the good and the bad things, they all counterbalance and you learn something. It always keeps me coming back to improve. Getting to know everyone in the workshop and seeing their styles helps me learn what to say at the next workshop so that I don’t hinder their style.”
Besides bringing writers together and providing an accepting atmosphere for any sort of creative writing, The Press fosters growth and creativity.
Valerie Palomo, a senior English major, is one of those contributors. Through writing and contributions to the weekly workshops, Palomo finds the workshops extremely useful.
“The fact that it’s an open workshop is beneficial,” Palomo said. “You learn from each other. We just suggest, instead of critiquing.”
The Press hopes to bring forth a community of voices in Davis.
“We want emotionally charged voices,” Tao said. “Things that need to be said are very emotional. I think it’s something very beautiful to see, and we love to see what people can give us.”
Want to get involved? Show up with or without work to a workshop to experience the editing styles of The Press. To get more information, check out the Facebook group “Last Word Press.”
ELIZABETH ORPINA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.