Every year I look forward to the literature magazine that the English Club publishes towards the end of the spring semester. This year however, I’m not in a rush to pick up a copy of the Literati. I submitted several creative pieces to the lit mag, just like I did for the three other years I was a member of the club. This year I submitted eight poems. None of which are getting published.
I inquired the pending publication with other members of the club. I had been on the executive board and told the other board members that I received an e-mail notifying me that my writing would not be published. They too received an e-mail similar to mine.
The e-mail I received said: “I regret to inform you that your work was not accepted into Literati. This was due to a large influx of great work and does not reflect the quality of your pieces. Good luck placing them elsewhere and please try again next year.”
I submitted my work about two or three weeks prior to the deadline. Not a single poem can be placed onto a page. I doubted this could happen. Having been a member during the last three lit mags, I know we usually reach out to students for more material.
The only executive board member to hear their work will be published is the president of the club. The president agreed that the English Club does not reject work until the magazine pages are full. The only other work to be turned down is any work submitted past the deadline as it would be too late to add to the publishing company.
The English Club had strived that we publish student’s creative work and we do not reject anyone’s writing. My first year, the club accepted pictures to fill the pages to make a lit mag. My sophomore year we extended the deadline twice because we did not have enough content. The following year we had enough material when we pushed the deadline back from over winter break to the beginning of the spring semester.
This year the club agreed to keep the deadline at the usual extended deadline to be at the beginning of the spring semester. Since I had written poems in a creative writing class from the fall semester, I put a folder together of those poems I had written for class.
Students prepare their work every year for the magazine. In the folder I put two poems I had developed more in my class. I also included four poems that I had written in the class. Then during winter break I added older poems to the folder and submitted it to the English Club’s literature magazine, the Literati.
The previous years I had only submitted an average of two poems or short stories. After taking my poetry class, I was eager to put a collection of my poems together to submit to the lit mag. Now more than four months after submitting, I’m dismayed to hear that none of my work will be published.
After I inquired about the rejection, mine as well as half of the English Club members, I wondered what was actually being published if we weren’t any of the writers. The board members discussed this with the editor of the magazine. The writers are our alumni.
I think that’s great the alumni want to stay involved, but why are they getting selected over current undergraduate students? The budget is for the under grad class. We’re the ones who are paying for the lit magazine to be published. As members of the club, no matter how active, they are the ones to promote the magazine and sell it. The club members hold bake sales to raise extra money for their budget to cover the printing costs. This also helps lower the cost of the lit magazines.
For these unfair reasons that were discussed with the executive board, I hope this doesn’t happen again. This is the first year that I know of that Literati has rejected students’ work. I think I’m still dumbfounded by the fact the writers are the alumni and not the writers from the club or other current under graduate students.
I understand this was not the entire board of the club that decided this. It seems the lesson learned is to make sure that the person in charge of the position is not only doing their job, but to make sure the process is being done fairly. Typically the person in the position checks in with how many pieces they were given and how the publication process is coming along. Since there are no rejections, within reason, there was no need to further check in with the literature magazine editor. The members said they were hoping to discuss the matter at their meeting. The lack of communication is a black hole in the club.
I’m sure this will be a turn off for many of the members of the club, but I’m also sure many will return and submit next year. I hope they get published. The Literati is the English Club’s main objective that they prepare for throughout the year. Right now it’s their most disappointing turn-out.
It’s nearing the time the lit magazine should be for sale. I love reading the creative work that other students have written. The publication is a great opportunity for students to have something published at their college. It encourages students to develop on their creative pieces to submit to publishing companies. With this year’s overwhelming rejection, this may be the only edition I don’t care to look at.
Ginger Rae Dunbar is a fourth year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at RD655287@wcupa.edu.