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Creative Writing: Red Weather

In 1976 the Hamilton Publications Board elected Kirkland sophomore Jo Pitkin (K’78) editor of Dessert at the Plaza, the two colleges’ literary magazine. She overhauled the magazine’s format and changed its name to found Red Weather, which is still the campus literary magazine today.

Inaugural issue, Volume 1, Number 1, Fall 1976, Cover art by Carolyn Gray K’76

The name Red Weather comes from a line in a poem by Wallace Stevens, “Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock,” and was suggested by Michael Burkard. Pitkin and her staff thought the evocative “red weather” more aptly captured the meteorological reality of life on the Hill.

Under Pitkin’s editorship, Red Weather was published three times yearly. Its content was reviewed in The Spectator by Professor John Gordon, Harry Kondoleon (H’77), Andrea Kantor (K’77), and others. While the magazine’s production has changed with advancements in technology, many of Pitkin’s initial editorial changes—such as trim size and a blind submission policy—are currently in place.

Pitkin was the first woman editor of a college-funded literary magazine on the Hill. Since 1976, a succession of women have headed Red Weather, from Barbara Berson (K’79) and Vicki Kohn (K’80) to Katie Naughton (’08), Rachel Richardson (’09), and Danielle Raulli (’10).

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