The Fourth River

About Us

The Fourth River is the literary journal of Chatham University’s MFA Program. We welcome submissions of creative writing that explore the relationship between humans and their environments, both natural and built, urban, rural or wild. We are looking for writing that is richly situated at the confluence of place, space and identity–or that reflects upon or makes use of landscape and place in new ways.


The Fourth River takes its name from a subterranean river beneath Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a city famously sited at the confluence of three rivers: Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio. This fourth river, unseen yet indispensable to the city’s riverine ecosystem, is actually an aquifer geologists call the “Wisconsin Glacial Flow”. The Fourth River literary journal grew up from the idea that between and beneath the visible framework of the human world and the built environment, there exist deeper currents of force and meaning supporting the very structure of that world.

From The Fourth River
Issue No. 1



Executive Editor
Sheryl St. Germain

Sheila Squillante

Fiction Editor
Robert Yune

Poetry Editor
Heather McNaugher

Nonfiction Editor
Sheila Squillante

Tributaries Editor, Fall 2018
Geeta Kothari

Managing Editor
Samantha Smith

Associate Editors
Trevor Dawson
Joey Pizzuti
Lily Wasserman
Jessi Hank
Elisa Kownacki
Julia Eldred

Assistant Editors
Kira Kitchen
Katherine Gross
Caleb Gill
Eva Williams
Kasi Bitter

Roving Editors
Rachel Roupp
Ryan King


The Fourth River is produced by the MFA program in Creative Writing at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Chatham’s groundbreaking MFA focusing on nature, travel writing, and social outreach is the premier graduate program for nurturing students interested in place-based writing and innovative community programs.

Our program stands out with opportunities that can be found nowhere else. No other MFA program in the United States offers the possibility of concentrations in travel writing, teaching, publishing, or nature writing in addition to a primary genre focus (poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or children’s writing), and no other MFA program offers the ability to have a dual-genre focus (in poetry and nonfiction, or children’s writing and fiction, for example). We are also the only MFA program in the country to offer both an on-the-ground full-residency program and a low-residency program as well as the ability to easily move between the two programs.

For more information, please visit our website.