let your first words be earthwords.

Our Mission

earthwords: the undergraduate literary review  showcases the best literary and artistic endeavors of students attending the University of Iowa, fosters an undergraduate literary community within Iowa City, and provides its staff members with the experience of producing a literary magazine in real time.  While earthwords’ board, style, and length change every year, its dedication to promoting the creative works of the University of Iowa’s undergraduate body remains a constant in every issue.

Our Vision

By publishing our yearly review, we help undergraduates connect to Iowa City’s vast, and often intimidating, literary legacy.  As home to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and as a UNESCO City of Literature, Iowa City could not be a more relevant artistic center for undergraduates interested in writing. earthwords seeks to provide venues in which undergraduates can share their writing in a public setting; we offer both curated Undergraduate Showcase readings and various Open Mics throughout the school year.  In our Showcases, we partner with creative writing instructors (often graduate students or recent graduates of the Workshop) who select undergraduates whom they believe best represent what is outstanding about creative writing at UI.  Our Open Mics allow community members to come forth and express themselves to an audience of fellow writers and lovers of literature. 

Through our publication arm, we offer a sleek, professional journal that students can show to their families, friends, and potential employers as evidence of their writing talent.  By incorporating an industry-standard submission process and setting our expectations accordingly, we offer undergraduates a professional submissions experience; this is invaluable for providing young writers with the skills and insight they need to stand out amongst their peers in the world after graduation.  We also provide our contributors the experience of being able to read at Prairie Lights bookstore during our Book Drop event. Prairie Lights is a venue frequented by professional writers of all disciplines and arguably one of the most prestigious reading venues in the Midwest. 

Students of diverse talents and backgrounds comprise our editorial board. As a part of the earthwords team, a student staff member undertakes an internship-esque opportunity in preparation for the real world experience of working on a literary magazine.  We congregate weekly, and staff work together to seek submissions, publicize events, and develop creative ways to reach out to new readers and writers alike. Through partnering with other organizations (such as Ink Lit Mag, English Society, and Studio Video Productions) and local businesses (such as Prairie Lights and Molly’s Cupcakes), we forge bonds with our community, and in doing so, earthwords becomes a thread that knits the city and the university together.  As a guiding principle, we seek to build pride in our community and ourselves.  

Our Values


To highlight the best work across all creative disciplines


To remain true to our community and ourselves


To partner across department and interest


To build a sense of belonging and foster relationships


To hold staff answerable for their actions and teach real-world responsibility