Melissa Hohl
MFA English, Creative Writing: Poetry, 2nd year

Melissa at Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, December 2014


Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a lover, a fighter, and a Californian.

How did you find out about the internship at the CLP?
When I applied to CSU’s Poetry MFA, I scoured the department’s website for and spoke to people already here about internship opportunities. A combination of the Internet and current students lead me to the CLP.


Why did you apply?
During my undergraduate years at San Francisco State University, I interned at Small Press Distribution in Berkeley. There I fell in love with small presses, and thus became interested in learning more about publishing. When I discovered the internship opportunity with the CLP, I jumped on it.

What did you expect before you started?
Looking back, I anticipated reading a lot of poetry from the queue, though I did not spend much time thinking about what an MFA, a graduate teaching assistantship, or an internship at a literary magazine might actually entail (there are pros and cons to this approach) until I physically arrived here at CSU in August of 2013, a mere three months after graduating college.

How has it surprised you?
Before beginning the internship, I did not know the extent to which we, the interns, are a part of the production of the magazine; we proofread, copyedit, typeset, and design the covers for the magazine as well as most all of the books we publish. I am continually surprised by and appreciative of how much trust Stephanie puts in us.

Melissa with Colorado Review Managing Editor Drew Webster


What’s a typical shift like, a “day in the life of an intern”?
The first thing I do when I walk in the door is ask Stephanie or Drew if there is any work for me to do besides reading from the queue. Sometimes there is other work, such as today: I‘m writing abstracts and coming up with keywords for poems from our summer issue, poems that will be posted on Project MUSE.

Where will we find you in five years?
Hopefully, you’ll find me back on the West Coast, probably in Portland, definitely writing, definitely reading, and maybe teaching or perhaps working for a small press or literary magazine.

Melissa at the Louvre, Paris, December 2014


How do you think this internship will help you in the future?
Interning at the CLP for two years has already equipped me with many skills that are necessary for running a small press or literary magazine. For instance, I recently learned how to use InDesign to make a cover for The Verging Cities, Natalie Scenters-Zapico’s book of poems. InDesign is crucial for the publishing industry and is also helpful in other professional settings outside the literary community. Further skills I’ve acquired or sharpened at the CLP include an understanding of how to proofread, copyedit, and typeset an entire manuscript or a single poem; all of this comes with meeting deadlines. Finally, this internship has helped me become a better reader of poems.


What advice do you have for students who want to apply, do the internship?
Be prepared to learn the ropes and make a few mistakes while you’re at it. Know that if you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world; we are a teaching press, and we have your back.

Favorite CLP memory?
My favorite CLP memory is when I was given the opportunity to design the covers for the Fall/Winter 2014 issue of the magazine and for The Verging Cities. Then, at AWP, I met Natalie Scenters-Zapico—she had a book signing at the CLP table—and she told me how much she liked the cover I had designed. I was super proud. And we sold out of her book!


Considering doing an internship in the fall? As the spring semester winds down it can difficult to think about anything but finishing up course work, completing finals, and the promise of summer break. Even so, students may find themselves considering internships for the fall semester. The Center for Literary Publishing (CLP) Internship Program is one option for graduate students. CLP interns serve as first and second readers for the nearly nine thousand manuscripts of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that Colorado Review receives every year. Interns also have opportunities to copyedit, proofread, and typeset; learn about book & magazine design, production, and management; gain proficiency in current industry software (InDesign, PhotoShop, Illustrator, FileMaker, WordPress, and Submittable); participate in social media campaigns; and assist in grantwriting.

Find out more about this internship.