“Students study literature and create literature. It’s important for them to have an avenue where they can share their own writings with the larger community,” says English professor Edward Rielly.
Dr. Rielly is referring to e.g., the campus literary magazine that has been published since at least 1962. (Unfortunately, its inaugural issue date is unknown.) Managed through the English Department, the publication contains poetry and prose written primarily by students. Rielly has been the magazine’s faculty advisor since 1980. His predecessors were Robert McKibben, Peter Sheldon, and Sister Mary Flavia, RSM.
Students manage the entire publication. One or two juniors or seniors either volunteer or are chosen as editors, and they make all the editorial decisions. Other students are happy to help out, according to Rielly. Juniors Megan Watson and Justine Doucette are the current editors.
Ann Osgood Mackovjak ’70, who teaches English and language arts at a small school in Alaska, edited the magazine in her senior year and also contributed some poems. She continues to write poetry and journals with her students.
“I learned how to do layouts, critique submissions, and meet deadlines, and I enjoyed seeing what other students were writing,” recalls Mackovjak. “I don’t remember being inundated with material, though. Getting submissions was the hardest part, because everyone was so busy.”
The number of submissions varies. “The magazine falls within the time frame of the Advanced Creative Writing Course that I teach every other year. Off years, we usually do more soliciting and recruiting on campus,” says Rielly. “If our material is still a bit thin, we may include a poetry retrospective. Our goal is always to publish good quality material by as many students as possible. We have a lot of students who really like to write and are good at it. Seeing their works in print gives them a sense of accomplishment.” Rielly donates a small monetary sum each year to fund two “Best of Issue” prizes.
Christian Leblanc ’04, who teaches English to 8th grade students in Massachusetts, also edited the magazine in his senior year. “My goal was to get more submissions, so we held a poetry contest and printed the winning entries in the magazine,” he says. Leblanc specializes in horror and dark fantasy short stories. Approximately 11 have been published thus far. In February, his short story “The Rule Breaker” was included in the anthology Rock and Roll Is Dead (Blood Bound Books, 2011). He is also writing a novel.
Each year, students share their magazine submissions at evening readings co-sponsored by the English Department and e.g. Rielly explains, “We hope to have two readings this year, and they aren’t limited to student contributors. Alumni or poets from the area or faculty members may also be guest readers.”
Like a perennial bloom, e.g. appears each spring a week before final exams on tables and desks across campus – a sure sign of the season’s renewed expression.