New Chinook editor at OJC develops theme around Japanese elements

Dan Gragert, an OJC student from Rocky Ford, is the 2011 Chinook editor. Chinook is a literary publication highlighting student and community writing and art that is published annually at OJC. The deadline for submissions for the 2011 issue is February 1, 2011.

Walter “Dan” Gragert, an Otero Junior College student from Rocky Ford, has been named editor of the 39th edition of Chinook, a literary publication highlighting student and community writing and art, published annually at Otero Junior College.

Gragert is currently working toward an associate’s degree, with an emphasis in web design. He hopes to pursue a career as a professional web developer.

Chinook 2011 is set for publication in early March 2011. Submissions to the magazine are welcome from both OJC students as well as members of the surrounding communities. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2011. A reception to thank and feature all the contributors will be held after publication in March.

In previous years, selections published in Chinook were based upon the quality of work and were chosen at the editor’s discretion. This year, Gragert intends to give the publication a theme and encourages writers and artists to follow the theme. The theme will be based loosely upon the Japanese five traditional elements: fire, water, earth, wind and void.

“I have found in my personal work that when I have motivation, my work reflects that motivation in the final product’s quality. My theme this year is based loosely upon the Japanese five traditional elements: fire, water, earth, wind and void. Each element has properties to it that we find in everyday life and properties that are strong motivators for creativity. We have all had motivation to do something in life, be it loss, love, excitement, intrigue, etc; I aim to give that direction to the submissions for this year’s Chinook in hopes of creating a memorable publication,” said Gragert.

Gragert explained the five Japanese traditional elements as follows:

  • Fire is passion, anger, love…strong emotional works
  • Earth is for life, joy, celebration and creation… meaningful events in life
  • Void is for the creative pieces, the people who craft their own view or reality
  • Water is for peace, serenity and artistic…pieces that paint vivid imagery or perhaps are vivid imagery in the case of artwork
  • Wind is for change, reality and travel… pieces that tell a vivid story and takes the reader somewhere


In addition to accepting writing and artwork for publication, Gragert will also be holding a separate submission contest for the cover artwork for each element’s chapter page. Submissions can be traditional artwork or digital artwork. The covers can be based around the description of the category, or the actual element itself. Submissions for the cover must be received by December 10, 2010.

Gragert encourages OJC students to begin thinking about writing and art projects they would like to submit to the publication. He said he would like to see people go above and beyond what they may perceive as their creative limits by writing and drawing what their hearts tells them to.

“Submitting to Chinook can add to a resume for students who are pursuing careers in a related field. It can also provide extra practice at some of the things they are learning at OJC and can ultimately lead to a very rewarding experience. However, Chinook is not just limited to students; I encourage everyone on campus and in the community to show their creative side. By focusing on the Japanese five traditional elements, I hope that people will take the element of life that speaks the most to them and harness it as a muse to their creativity,” explained Gragert.

Submission Information:

  • All submissions must be original and not previously published
  • Submission deadline for the covers is December 10, 2010
  • All writing and art submissions must be received by February 1st, 2011
  • Poetry is limited to 100 lines or less
  • Essay submissions must be 2000 words or less
  • The magazine is printed in color and offers a vivid showcase for artwork such as oil, pastel, watercolor, pencil sketch, or graphic design. Artwork must be submitted in some digital format, i.e., JPG, GIF, TIF, PNG


For more information, visit the Chinook 2011 website at:

Email submissions can be sent to Dan Gragert at:

If contributors do not have email or Internet access, submissions may also be mailed to: Otero Junior College, c/o Christina Roberts, Humanities Center, Room 152, 1802 Colorado Ave. La Junta, CO  81050. For more information call Christina Roberts at 719-384-6847, or visit the website at:

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