Manifest West

Manifest West 2016, Volume 5

Manifest West 2016 cover
Serenity and Severity, the latest issue of Manifest West, was published in July 2016.

Serenity and severity form a classic Western dichotomy with many manifestations. Beautiful growth and renewal follow a terrifying and destructive forest fire. Rain upon a hayfield can be interpreted as grace or judgment from above, depending on the season. The unpredictability of nature provides hikers with a breathtaking view one day and a life-threatening scenario the next. Yet the nature of the West does not only imply the outdoors. The people of the West encounter serenity and severity in all aspects of life, and this duality impacts their identity and shapes their lifestyles, outlooks, worldviews, and values. This year’s collection includes political discussions, philosophical ponderings, and lighthearted humor that are all a part of life in the West.

For the fifth volume of Manifest West, twenty-nine writers explore this theme, revealing the duality of Western life through many different narrative trails—including governed environment, overwhelming fires, hiking adventures, and the effect of location on family. Creativity and diversity come to this anthology in both content and form, with flash fiction joining Manifest West’s standard genres of creative nonfiction, short fiction, and poetry. Their combined reflections enable us to see the intense relationship between humanity and nature; sometimes nature directs humans’ lives, to their harm and to their benefit, and other times, humanity abuses the very environment it cherishes as its home. Authors bring their personal styles, voices, and experiences with life in the West to contribute to a balanced and unique interpretation of serenity and severity.

Contributors include Rebecca Aronson, Betsy Bernfeld, Heidi E. Blankenship, Kaye Lynne Booth, Sarah B. Boyle, John Brantingham, William Cass, David Lavar Coy, Benjamin Dancer, Gail Denham, Patricia Frolander, John Haggerty, Lyla D. Hamilton, Michael Harty, Rick Kempa, Don Kunz, Ellaraine Lockie, Nathan Alling Long, Sarah Fawn Montgomery, Juan J. Morales, Lance Nizami, Ronald Pickett, Terry Severhill, David Stallings, Scott T. Starbuck, Abigail Van Kirk, Victoria Waddle, Evan Morgan Williams, Steven Wingate.

This volume marks the fifth consecutive year that Western’s Certificate in Publishing program has produced the anthology, each with a different theme. In 2014, the press also released its first single-author work, “Letters From the Headwaters,” by Aaron A. Abeyta, recipient of both the National Book Award and Colorado Book Award. The next edition of Manifest West is already in preparation, and the press will begin accepting submissions later this fall. Submission guidelines are available online at Both Manifest West and Letters from the Headwaters  have been included in “picks for this fall’s best reading” by High Country News.

Offerings from Western Press Books are available at local and area bookstores. To order copies contact Erica Boucher in Western’s Office of Extended Studies at

For more information on Western Press Books’ current and forthcoming titles, visit

Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Application Information