grand valley state university's student journal of art and writing

fish • lad • der [noun]

a series of pools built like steps to enable fish to bypass waterfalls or dams.

There is a fish ladder on the west side of the Grand River that allows fish like salmon and steelhead to move upstream, past the Sixth Street dam, toward Lansing. The structure features a viewing deck for visitors to watch the fish travel upstream.

"Hello" by Madison Goetsche, the cover of fishladder 2023, a woman's face in closeup with hands outstretched.

note from the editor

Welcome to fishladder,

First of all, I want to thank you for being here. At fishladder, we strive to lift up all voices from a variety of disciplines, perspectives, and backgrounds, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without YOU. Each of us has a unique voice, and we want to help share yours with others.

This year marks 21 years of fishladder, and we’re so excited to continue highlighting student work through this literary and art journal. Each year, we become more and more amazed by the talent of Grand Valley’s student body, and we thank you for allowing us to be a part of your educational journey. 

I hope that, through fishladder, you find a safe and uplifting space to share your talents. Whether that’s through a beautiful piece of art, your favorite photograph, a carefully crafted story, or a vivid poem, we want to see it all.

(Applications to join the fishladder staff are open now through October 13th. Submissions for fishladder are open now through December 16th. Please contact editor-in-chief, Ashlyn Miller, with any questions or issues submitting at

On behalf of all of us here at fishladder, we’re excited to work with you on crafting this year’s issue

All the best, 

Ashlyn Miller, editor-in-chief

GVSU Writing
Front cover art: "Hello" by Madison Goetsche
Last Update: 21 April 2023