A kumquat with a small k is a little gem of the citrus family, but The Kumquat is a literary gem published by two “self-selected” editors at UC Merced.
In the fall of 2006, Meaghan Chadwick and Beth Hernandez started the campus literary journal and named it after a small, juicy fruit that grows to be about 1.5 inches long. It’s the perfect title for a small publication with a tart and sassy flavor at a small-but-growing campus.
Chadwick and Hernandez started the publication to create a forum and encourage people to write. Anyone associated with UC Merced – students, faculty or staff – is eligible to submit.
The editors and their assistants, Stephanie Chan and Ray Winters, will accept poetry, short stories, book reviews, rants, raves, “any expressions of angst whatsoever (but especially if directed against The Man),” artwork, song lyrics and “pretty much anything else your little heart is desirous of publishing.” They publish work in Spanish and English.
No topic or point of view is taboo, Hernandez said.
“We’re not trying to impose a literary culture; we’re trying to provide a forum, an outlet for creative expression,” she said.
The editors are also seeking another form of printed paper: Money. They receive a small grant to help with printing costs but could use a little more.
Chadwick, who has published a book of her work, and Hernandez, a graduate student, are both studying world cultures and history.
The Kumquat is published online and also in print, with about 500 copies distributed in the Office of Student Life. Professor Manuel Martin-Rodriquez serves as advisor.
They would like to host a poetry reading in the near future.
Their goal is to be buried “under a mighty mountain of submissions, which will fall upon us, crushing us, perhaps to death,” which should be directed to THE_KUMQUAT@hotmail.com.
Their philosophy can be best expressed in the words of Stephanie Chan, printed in the first edition:
TAKER BE TENDER
I am not just the kumquat.
I am the unexpected.
fruit of an immigrant.
Most have heard of me.
I like my exclusivity.
Yet here you are…
Plucking me freshly
but not ripened
not yet hardened
when least expected.
Taker, be tender
please handle with care.