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About Us

Our Mission

Penumbra Journal of Literature and Art at California State University Stanislaus began publishing its print edition in 1989. More recently, Penumbra Online now expands our reach for both contributors and readers into the virtual world. Through our yearly spring print edition, fall single-author chapbooks, and rolling online movie and book reviews, Penumbra and Penumbra Online offer a voice and a view for poets, writers, and artists of all backgrounds, ages, experiences, and walks of life. Conceptually, the term penumbra describes “a space of partial illumination (as in an eclipse) between the perfect shadow on all sides and the full light.” Such a zone offers neither full clarity of vision nor denies it completely, but lies between the blinding glare of the sun and the vision-cancelling darkness of unlit space. The penumbra’s median of illumination is precisely the place to examine what cannot be effectively discerned in the surrounding extremes. As our name implies, our aim and our mission invite what we see in shadow, “through a glass darkly” as it were, to step into the light of human intellect, emotion, and experience as expressed in poetry, short fiction, and the graphic arts. As an academic community, our roots reach deeply into the fertile soil of California’s Great Central Valley, and we always welcome literary works that capture some aspect of that experience—its landscapes, inhabitants, history, and tropes. But while one foot stands firmly in our home territory, with the other, we step into the world beyond seeking fresh perspectives and new voices that speak to the connections in our common humanity through the prism of our individual paths in life. We are committed to the idea that the support and propagation of literature, art, and free expression are vital to our university and our society. To that end and to promote fellowship and the sharing of ideas and knowledge, we have widened the scope of our efforts to include live workshops, community events, and public readings, as well as online podcasts, blogs, and streaming videos. We invite you to explore our website and get to know us. And should you find yourself so inspired, do as Walt Whitman advised and "contribute a verse" to "life's powerful play." We will be delighted to consider your submission for a future issue of Penumbra.

The Penumbra Staff

Penumbra's Literary Journal staff is compiled of graduate students from California State University, Stanislaus along with their faculty advisor. 


Faculty Advisor

Tony Perrello earned a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of South Carolina and has taught in Stanislaus State’s English Department since 2005. Classroom teaching and mentoring students occupy the center of his professional life (he was named Outstanding Professor in the University in 2018). He publishes on a range of topics; for instance, he has discovered and translated a riddle buried in a medieval manuscript, identified an overlooked source for Shakespeare’s King Lear, explored the animal-human-cyborg continuum in Othello, and discussed the roots of modern consumer culture, the abjection of disposability, and the degradation of the global ocean in a study of Richard III. This is his first year as faculty advisor for Penumbra and Penumbra Online.

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Essence Saunders is a graduate student at Stanislaus State studying English literature. She began working with the Penumbra Literary and Art Journal in the spring of 2019, and currently works with the Penumbra Online. She enjoys creative writing as well as academic analysis and art. 

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Andrea Wagner graduated from Stanislaus State in Fall 2019 with a BA in English and a BS in Business Administration. Now, they're working towards a Masters from Stanislaus State in English Literature and Rhetoric. They were an editor for Penumbra in 2018 but have been a part of the Penumbra team consecutively since Spring 2021, and they've been published in the journal since 2018. When not working on Penumbra or Penumbra Online, they're working with the writing center at her university as a graduate tutor and TA. They enjoy fiction and poetry that subvert genre expectations and grapple with psychological issues and social norms. Their dogs and cats, anime, and Nintendo Switch keep them plenty occupied all hours of the day. 

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Autumn Andersen graduated Spring 2021 from Stanislaus State with a BA in English and is excited to continue in the graduate program for Literature. She plans to teach at the college level and one day finish her novel. She started with Penumbra in the Spring of 2021 and is grateful for the opportunity to continue working with the journal. Autumn enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family.

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Brittany Landon is an English graduate student with a concentration in Literature and Rhetoric. Having attended her undergrad at Stanislaus State, she’s been working with Penumbra off and on since spring 2019. She also works as a writing tutor, and has always held an appreciation for the work of others. She has developed a passion for the journal since her introduction to it as an undergraduate student, and is excited to work with Penumbra Online along with the print edition. In her free time she likes reading and watching The Office, along with a multitude of other shows and films, and occasionally dabbles in video games when time permits.

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Allison Westlund is currently a graduate student working towards a Masters in English Literature. She graduated from Stanislaus State in Spring 2022 with a BA in English. Allison has been working on and off with Penumbra since Spring of 2022 when she was an undergrad student. In her free time she enjoys reading romance and fantasy novels. 

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Kevin Alkhas served in the United States Marine Corps from 2015-2019. He got a chance to even live in Japan for a year which he never would have expected. He loves film, particularly horror. He's a Jiu-Jitsu instructor at one of the best academies in the state and is a 4-time champion in his field. He is in the MA program with hopes of becoming a teacher one day.


Martina Bekasha is a graduate student, working towards the completion of her Master of Arts degree in English, with a specific focus on the field of writing studies. She is currently enrolled in her first semester as a graduate student, while concurrently participating in her second semester as a member of the Penumbra team. She enjoys reading and writing, with the aspiration of achieving the goal of writing a novel in the future. Her ultimate goal is to write scripts for television series and films.


Lauren Krone is a graduate student pursuing her Masters degree in Writing Studies and English Literature. She graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in Liberal Studies and a minor in English. This is her first semester in Penumbra, but her second year in the graduate program. She enjoys reading/writing, listening to music, and spending time with her loved ones.

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Schuyler Becker is currently obtaining her English M.A. with a dual concentration in Literature and Rhetoric & Teaching Writing. Her plan is to obtain her PhD and teach at the college level. Schuyler loves to read, write poetry, and spend time with her family (including her cat of course) and friends!

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Mary Worthington is currently a graduate student in the Writing Studies program. Though this is her first year with Penumbra, she has worked with many writers over the last 8 years in a variety of ways in her capacity as a writing tutor. She is looking forward to learning the intricacies of working with writers and artists for this publication. She loves being a part of any artistic outlet that highlights the human experience. In her down time, she enjoys exploring life, being creative, and getting silly with her 10-year-old daughter, her friends, and her family.

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Catherine Azevedo is an undergraduate majoring in English and minoring in Ethnic Studies at CSU Stanislaus. She plans to attend graduate school after graduating in the fall of 2024, hoping to one day earn her Ph.D. in English Literature and teach at the college level. Catherine enjoys reading, drawing, going to Monterey, and listening to music in her free time. She dreams of visiting Ireland and Scotland someday to experience their enchanting cultures and landscapes.

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Soleil Jones a graduate student at Stanislaus State. She graduated from Stan State with a B.A. in English in Spring 2023 and joined the Master’s Program that same fall. Her concentration is Writing Studies which was formerly known as Rhetoric and Teaching of Writing. She's new to Penumbra and am excited to be a part of this collective of amazing individuals. In her free time, she enjoy journaling, writing poetry, spending time with family and friends, listening to music, and trying new foods!

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Richard Rubio is a first year graduate student studying English at CSU Stanislaus. He is a first-generation college student and the first person in his family to earn his Bachelor’s degree. He hopes to earn his MA in Literature/Writing Studies and pursue a career in education.

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Sara Turk Sara is a dual graduate student in the Masters of Rhetoric and Teaching Writing and Literature programs. She is happily married to Trevor Turk and will continue her education in the field of apologetics after she graduates from Stan State in the spring.

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