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Going National

An event held in the Union last night celebrated several milestones in the nearly half century history of the University’s undergraduate literary journal.

The event showcased the first time the publication featured pieces of literature submitted from anywhere in the nation and unveiled a new course offered for students interested in working on the journal.

More than 20 students gathered to hear pieces of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction from the newest issue of Prairie Margins, an annual publication that was released today.

According to Steven Barrie, one of the journal’s two editor-in-chiefs, the publication was intended to be distributed at the event, but was delayed until today due to a publisher mishap.

The journal will be handed out at the weekly “creative writing common time,” an ongoing reading series presenting literature from various authors, which is held Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel.

“So not only are we having this big release party, but we will also be able to get it to others. I think we will be able to have our cake and eat it too,” he said, adding that the party was also a first for the journal.

The 2005 edition is approximately 100 pages in length and features 31 works of literature, including 13 submitted by University undergraduates.

Barrie said that the works featured in the new edition “cover a lot of ground.”

“It is really diverse. There is some stuff that seams really real, and there is some stuff that is like magical realism. It is a wide range of subject matter-Some are really abstract and others are really concrete,” he said.

Senior Joseph Litzinger inadvertently discovered the amount of time the publication’s staff spends putting it together. His poem, “About Your Wife,” was submitted last year and finally released today.

“It took them several months to sort through the submissions and contact me. They’re pretty choosy about what they put in,” he said.

According to Barrie, the task of sorting through and selecting submissions has become substantially more involving since the publication went national.

“We at least doubled our submissions,” he said.

Last year, the all-volunteer staff of 16 undergraduates sorted through 300 submissions, proofread those chosen, edited them and laid them out. As was demonstrated last night, they even promote the journal’s release.

Their hard work did not go unnoticed by the publication’s advisor, general studies writing instructor Karen Craigo, who believes they gain valuable experience in the area of publishing.

And if they are learning, she said, they should be getting credit for it.

Craigo worked for months to establish her new three credit hour course, English 387, which fills the void by providing instruction on all aspects of publishing.

“It is a real magazine. We now take submissions from all over the country. It is going to be a lot more effort and that is why we need the class,” she said.

The course will be offered in the spring for the first time.

The journal can also be obtained by e-mailing its other editor-in-chief, Oleander Barber, at [email protected].

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