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 “You can’t do a thing about the length of your life, but you can do something about the width and depth ”

-HENRY LOUISE MENCKEN-

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About The Phoenix


On May 13, 1959, the Penguin Daily Bulletin announced that the student readers' group would publish a small collection of writings including essays, poetry and short stories. In an effort to connect the literary booklet with the school's recently adopted penguin mascot, one student jokingly remarked, "How do penguins recreate? They lay eggs!"

The first editors quickly organized the material, mimeographed the pages, and created the first Egg using something resembling cardboard for the cover. On June 1, 1959, the "limited edition" Egg - with a unique hand-drawn egg on each cover, and a price of only one dime- sold out in half an hour. The forerunner to the Phoenix was a success.

During subsequent years, graphic arts and printing students joined the literary editors and helped to produce fourteen more Egg magazines. In addition to the customary essays, short stories and poems, the editors added satire, literary criticism, plays and foreign language poems. A few selections written by celebrities and by Clark College instructors appeared in the publication. From time to time, the magazine contained illustrations and photography. Then, in utter contrast to the Egg's whimsical beginnings, the back cover of the 1974 edition alluded to internal controversy and financial difficulty, and 1974 saw the last Egg.

In 1981, Clark College students decided to resurrect the literary magazine, and in an attempt to connect the new publication with the original Egg, the editors chose the mythical phoenix as a representation of rebirth. The second magazine rose from the ashes of the first and became the Phoenix. Some early editions gave the phoenix myth partial focus. Others used the myth as a major theme with contests and fantastic illustrations spotlighting the mythical bird. Eventually, the practice of relating content to myth lost its enamor.

Subsequent issues of the Phoenix focused primarily on poetry and prose, while issues representing the visual arts moved in and out of favor. In 1990, the first music selection in the magazine's history was debuted. In addition to magazine content changes, the scope and layout improved steadily. 1990 also saw the expansion of the publications' schedule to include the entire academic year. This change gave students a predictable atmosphere in which to make suggestions, develop concepts, and achieve advancements. The 1991 Phoenix reflected the results: a polished appearance, professional layout and an intensified promotional campaign, both on and off campus. The most rewarding consequence, however, was an astounding achievement: the Phoenix received the 1992 Literary Magazine Competition Award for Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by the Washington Community College Humanities Association. Since then, the Phoenix has received numerous awards and honors. The most current publications celebrate legends in the making; Clark College students who create quality literature, distinctive visual images and creative musical composition.

In 2008, 2009, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018 we received perhaps our highest honors by winning "Best Magazine" in the national American Scholastic Press Association's annual competition. We have also received awards from the Community College Humanities Association, winning 1st place in the Pacific-Western Division in its annual competition for literary magazines for the 2015 and 2016 Phoenix.

The 2016 Phoenix: Won the National Program Directors’ Prize for Design for undergraduate literary magazines by the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP). Each year, AWP honors two national undergraduate journals with a content and a design award, and past winners have included journals from Columbia University, The New School, Kansas City Art Institute, University of Washington, and other prestigious institutions. This is only the second time a community college journal has been awarded this prize since 2001.