Don’t be shy! Give literature a try!
By Grace Brown, Columnist
In the coming months, a relatively unbeknownst plan is brewing in a cool, hip, underground club at Canisius.
Quadrangle, the college’s literary magazine, will be celebrating its 70th publication this spring. The magazine is devoted to publishing the literary and artistic works of students, alumni, faculty, administrators and staff at Canisius College.
To begin, the uniqueness of literary magazines should be established and explained. As opposed to commercial magazines, such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, Time, People, etc, the material entailed in literary magazines are not driven by monetary interests. They are published far less frequently than their profitable counterparts, sometimes as little as once annually.
Literary magazines typically feature a wide array of material, ranging from prose and poetry to artwork and photographs. Some magazines have more specific pursuits, specializing in strictly creative nonfiction or, conversely, pieces of short fiction. Others draw submissions from a limited population based on ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or other distinguishable characteristics.
Literary magazines seek to find and publish “good” or even “experimental” material from their applicant pools — both in the hopes of progressing the field of literature further as a whole, as well as potentially discovering the next greatest talent. For this, the prize would be eternal bragging rights for premiering their work.
As a result of this noble pursuit, most — if not all — literary magazines make very little money. Their existence relies primarily on contributions from outside sources, such as private donors, educational institutions, or other literary organizations.
Don’t get it twisted: a subscription to a literary magazine still costs real money. In fact, Andrew L. Bouwhuis library boasts a broad collection of the latest issues of numerous literary magazines in its lower level. These are lovingly sponsored by the college, thereby making them freely available for any student to check out.
However, due to the rather niche nature of literary magazines, their distribution generally does not span much wider than academic circles, such as those within Canisius.
Obviously, there are literature enthusiasts worldwide who loyally subscribe to and in turn regularly receive literary magazines to their home addresses or even places of employment. Sometimes they are thoughtfully sent as gifts. But aside from these exceptions, the majority of the general population has extremely limited contact with the reclusive world of literary publications.
Accordingly, most literary magazines are forced to fight for survival, making the 70th anniversary of Quadrangle an impressive feat worthy of celebration. Editor-in-Chief Brianna Propis pointed out this achievement in a recent interview, describing the collaborative publication as timeless. “It is such an honor to be working on something that people have been pouring their hearts and souls into for 70 years. I think this edition is going to be something special, and I can't wait to see all the individualistic talent and truth that comes our way.”
The theme for Quadrangle 70 is “legacy.” The definition of this term is intentionally being left open-ended for the purposes of broad interpretation. Propis hopes to develop a magazine that honors and celebrates nearly a century of artistic publications at Canisius, while simultaneously forging its own reputation in the literary and visual arts realm.
Collectively, the Quadrangle editing crew want as many people as possible to submit for this year’s publication. If an abstract meaning of legacy is applied, it may encourage a more diverse pool of submissions.
Propis additionally reiterated this wish to receive submissions from people all across the Canisius community, even if they are first-time writers. “I think the opportunity to share your voice and your own truths, with the world, community, with your peers, even with strangers is one of the rarest and most beautiful pleasures ever. Quadrangle gives that to the Canisius community alone, as well as people who will continue down different paths of life in the future. But right now you have the chance to be a part of something.”
Ideally, the college’s literary magazine would include works from students of all backgrounds, majors, tastes and talents, so as best to reflect the literary culture of the institution. Given that each student is unique, the entire school would have to submit works in order to achieve this idyllic goal; admittedly, an extremely unlikely feat.
Instead, Quadrangle can only hope for a heaping stack of digital submissions by March 1, the deadline, when the super compassionate and entirely non-intimidating evaluation process begins.
Literary magazines provide the perfect outlet to audition the work of budding young artists. As a bonus, the submission process is anonymous, consequently lowering the stakes even further by keeping the identities of every contributor private, unless they are chosen – in which case the excitement begins!
Submittable.com links are accessible via a QR code included on each poster circulated around campus advertising for Quadrangle. Otherwise, answers to any Q70 related questions can easily be found in the club room on the second floor of the student center (above the dining hall, near the Regis rooms).
Even in the disappointing off-chance that you decide not to submit, at least help to broaden the readership of literary magazines in Buffalo and pick a copy up this spring. As Propis said, “We can’t have a magazine without submissions!”
Enlighten your poetic sensibilities: there’s no better place to start than here!