Young Alumni Series

Picking the perfect piece

New York

It’s time to go to work. It’s a sunny afternoon in Seattle, so you hop on your bike and ride over to the local brewery. With a delicious IPA in hand, you open your laptop and get to work.

Sounds familiar? You wish.

For Gabrielle Bates Stahlman ’13, this is what a typical day on the job looks like. As coordinating editor of the Seattle Review, Stahlman hardly has to step in the office. She gets the pleasure of taking her work with her as she checks out Seattle’s abundance of amazing coffee shops and breweries. Each day is a new adventure.

Bates spends the majority of her time reading and voting on poetry submissions. The Seattle Review only publishes long-form work, which means poems of at least 10 pages or even stories at least 40 pages. These writers put long hours of hard work into their submissions.

This makes it very difficult to reject them, and even more rewarding to accept them.

Gabby Bates and Adrienne at AWP conference“Most of the time I’m rejecting pieces, which is no fun at all, but every once in a while a piece of writing comes along that stuns me with its brilliance, and I get to accept it,” Gabby said. “I love informing writers that we love their work and want to publish it.”

All of her accomplishments can be accredited to her education at Auburn, which led her to the MFA program at the University of Washington. While she was at Auburn, she served as the managing editor for Auburn’s undergraduate literary journal, The Circle. She spoke fondly of her poetry and fiction professors who introduced her to great contemporary work and modeled how to be an active member of a literary community.

“All my Auburn professors were so generous with their time and advice,” Gabby explained.  “Some of them have gone on to become dear friends of mine.”

“I owe Auburn so much.”