BY THOMAS SACCENTE–STAFF WRITER
Since its inception in 1969, the student literary magazine Vantage Point played a critical role in the Centre College community. Vantage Point provides student writers with the opportunity to display their work, be they casual writers or students who seek to make a career out of it. Being able to see their work in print not only motivates students to write but also gives them confidence and pride in letting others read their work. Now, in a couple of months, the latest issue of Vantage Point will be released and continue Centre’s support of the writing community on campus that started all those decades ago.
Vantage Point is a magazine published biannually with one issue being released during the Fall semester and the other produced in the Spring semester. There are plenty of opportunities to submit one’s work, since Vantage Point accepts all forms of creative writing: from poetry and flash fiction to full-fledged short stories and creative nonfiction. This makes it so that the magazine can represent the multifaceted interests of Centre’s writers. This, senior and Editor-in-Chief of Vantage Point Sara Loy says, makes Vantage Point the perfect conduit for Centre’s creative writing community.
“Vantage Point’s role is two-fold: to encourage creative writing and to encourage the reading of creative work,” Loy said. “We want to be a place where students —especially students who don’t necessarily have another place to be creative, like non-English majors — can feel supported and excited about their writing. We also want everyone on campus, from students to professors, to be able to appreciate their peers’ work. It’s a great accomplishment for a student to be able to pick up the magazine and say ‘Look. I did that, I’m proud of it, and I want everyone to see it.’ Increasing students’ self-confidence and awareness in creative writing is something we absolutely strive for.” Loy also mentioned that the only limit to what is printed in the magazine is the length of each piece, which this year is 3,500 words.
It is also notable that almost every facet of Vantage Point is run and operated by the students. Aside from the actual printers and the providers of the necessary funding to keep it going, Centre students are the ones in charge of the daily business at Vantage Point. They make sure that the magazine is the best it can possibly be and that it is released on time and on budget. In addition to the team of highly skilled editors of the magazine, there is also a large group of students called general readers who are responsible for deciding which works get printed. Once the due-date for submissions has passed, these general readers read all of the submissions and carefully weigh the merits of each piece before voting on whether to accept it or not.
In addition, Vantage Point does not limit itself to exhibiting just student writing. It also takes great pride in displaying the works created by Centre’s numerous artists. Originally, this art comprised a separate section of the magazine, with writing being held in another part of it. Recently, artists have been asked to illustrate for the pieces that have been submitted to the magazine.
According to Vantage Point’s faculty advisor, Paul L. Cantrell Associate Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing Lisa Williams, this juxtaposition of words and images has been a relatively development that was borne out of a desire to create a more visually appealing magazine, as well as to show the underlying similarities between writing and art. “Now, there is a bit more emphasis on making it [Vantage Point] visually appealing (a striking cover, for example),” Williams said. “There hasn’t always been funding to include things like photographs and artwork, so sometimes those drop off a bit depending upon the interests of the editors and the amount of funding given to the group … [but] there hasn’t been a single issue that I’ve seen that wasn’t fantastic in terms of the quality of work inside it.”
However, more than anything else, Vantage Point is about the students. People who have submitted their work to Vantage Point claim to be heavily inspired by the magazine. Sophomore and illustrator, general reader, and writer for the magazine Chandler Garland claims that Vantage Point helped her grow as an artist and that it provided her with increased confidence to continue her work in the future.
“Submitting to Vantage Point does make me feel like I’ve grown as an artist,” Garland said. “I write all the time but seeing my work printed in a real live magazine turns my little hobby into the real deal … Literature is meant to be shared and stories are meant to be told. Submitting your work to Vantage Point is like taking a jump of a diving board for the first time. It’s a little scary but once you do it you keep coming back.”
Such feelings were echoed by sophomore and poet Natalie Trammell, who has submitted two poems to Vantage Point so far, including one in Fall semester’s edition. She says that the magazine allowed her to be more open in sharing her work with others. “Before I shared with Vantage Point I had never really shared with anyone and I’m a firm believer that your writing does not get better until others have seen and read it,” Trammell said. “Being in Vantage Point gave me the confidence to further my writing and even to share new things with my friends on a semi regular basis. I no longer feel like I need to hide my journal so people won’t ask questions when I pull it out. I now feel comfortable enough to share with them.”
Any Centre student can submit their work to Vantage Point and take part in what is has to offer. Although the release date for this semester’s edition is undetermined at this point, students will have until March 29 to submit their writings.