APTOS — Cabrillo College is set to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its Porter Gulch Review at a launch party on May 16 in the Horticulture Building on the college’s Aptos campus.

The review got its start three decades ago, when Cabrillo College English faculty decided the institution needed its own critical review publication to serve as a showcase for student work.

The publication has since grown into a well-respected, 200-page publication featuring work from writers, photographers and artists from as far away as China and Iraq. It has been published online since 1999.

But the inaugural issues — printed on mimeograph paper and bound with staples — were a testament to the infancy of computers and of desktop publishing.
At the same time, it gave students a public outlet for their artistic endeavors.

“We want the community to understand the importance of the Porter Gulch Review,” said Margarito Rodriguez, a member of the English 1B class that publishes the book. “It’s a safe space for poets, writers and photographers.”

The class is responsible for selecting the entries, laying out the pages and writing blurbs about the artists who are selected. They write book reviews for the publication, and create three of their own entries for consideration in the next year’s edition.

Rodriguez said that the class received 477 submissions this year, a record for the 30-year-old publication. Those were winnowed down to about 50.

“It’s a lot of work,” Rodriguez said. “It takes a lot of dedication to get it all together.”

After being managed by four instructors, and skipping some publication years altogether, English and Film instructor David Sullivan took the reigns about 12 years ago. He did so with the caveat it be incorporated into a literature class. He also wanted to look beyond the school’s boundaries for artist submissions.

“I wanted it to be a bridge to the community,” he said.
Student Ellen Woolf said she took the class to fulfill her English requirement, but added that she has enjoyed it.
“It’s a different class — a unique way to study English,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of good stuff come in. Some is not so good but that is just part of the big picture. As we get closer to production I think it will get pretty exciting.”

Chris Perez called the class “amazing.”

“I love this class,” Perez said. “It’s more like a journalism class. You can learn so many things and a lot of it I would have normally never thought of so that’s good. One of my assignments was to interview an author. It was so cool and I really enjoyed that experience.”

In addition to giving his students experience with editing and publishing, Sullivan said it also gives them a glimpse at literature and art that has not yet been reviewed.
“I tell them, ‘nobody’s judged it yet, so it’s all up to you guys,’” Sullivan said. “They begin to enter the literary world in a different way.”


The launch party for the 2017 Porter Gulch Review will also celebrate the 30th anniversary of the publication. The event will be May 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the Horticulture Building at Cabrillo College Aptos campus. Food, drink and live music will be available. The event is free and open to the public.

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