BY SHRUTI RAM – STAFF WRITER
Most publications at Centre are largely student-run, and Vantage Point is no exception. The publication is one that students do not hear about often, as only one issue is usually published every semester, but it is a great showcase for creativity for the students at Centre, whether it be writing or illustrating.
“Vantage Point is a student-run literary magazine that publishes two to three issues a year,” says copy editor and senior Emma Comery, “We accept poetry, fiction, flash fiction, plays, screenplays, and non-fiction written by students. We also work with student artists to illustrate the magazine with photographs, drawings, paintings, and digital artwork. It’s a celebration of student creativity.”
Vantage Point began in 1967 and has been publishing issues every year since.
“[The magazine] was started by students who wanted to showcase creative work on this campus,” senior and editor-in-chief Ashley Barker said. “The earliest pieces were very short, not like the typical stories you would find in a literary magazine. It was a very small operation when they first started, and even printed it themselves instead of going to a printer.”
Though Vantage Point has been at Centre for a while, it had to go through some growing pains a few times in the years between its conception and the present.
“I do know there was a period of time when Vantage Point struggled, but in recent years, and particularly under the leadership of Ashley, the magazine has turned itself around,” Comery said. “We’ve started including more artwork and illustrations, and the student writers aren’t just English majors and Creative Writing minors — we have published writers from all disciplines, which means the magazine is reaching a level of intellectual diversity that we haven’t previously seen. We’ve also started publishing pieces in translation, which is really neat. Every issue gets better and better.”
Other than Comery and Barker, Vantage Point has an extensive staff of students to help run the magazine.
“It’s exciting because we all basically decide how the magazine is going to go,” Barker said. “We have a total of eleven staff members, the editor in chief, and two managing editors, Abby Quirk-Royal and Courtney Lucas. We also have our copy editors, art editors, business editors, and publicity editors. They all have their own specific jobs and staff members to work with.”
“We have a fabulous team of editors, staff, general readers, and artists,” Comery added. “My Copy Editing team, for instance, consists of two or three people who read and edit every accepted piece, then correspond with the authors to finalize the pieces for publication. There are a lot of moving parts in magazine publication, and they all work in tandem. The Art Editor is working with the illustrators, but also with the Publicity Editor to design flyers and banners. As Copy Editor I collaborate with the writers and managing editors, but I also help plan and organize the release parties. Once all the pieces have been selected, the copy editing process takes about a week and half of intensive editing, and placing the pieces in the spread is a fairly exhausting task that takes the Managing Editors a good week or two. We also invite a group of ten to fifteen General Readers to review submissions and help us select pieces for the magazine.”
Barker said the magazine has changed considerably since her time here at Centre, for example, they have added illustrations to the magazine.
“A lot more people know about it now,” Barker said. “When I was a freshman and sophomore, it was like invisible people working to get this magazine out. Now the campus knows what it’s about and the process is more transparent. The organization has come a long way and campus communication has improved.”
Both Comery and Barker want to encourage Centre students to send in submissions to the Vantage Point before the April 1 deadline, even if they have not done so before.
“I never submitted my poems anywhere in high school,” junior Natalie Trammell said. “I never even showed them to anyone, but when I showed my poems to people at Centre, they told me I had to submit it to the Vantage Point. I think since having my poems in Vantage Point I have become a lot more confident in my writing.”
Students can not only send in their writings, but also illustrate for Vantage Point.
“I like that when I’m assigned a piece to illustrate for my drawings have more direction,” junior Jillian Riseman said, “I definitely prefer drawing to writing.”
Barker said that Vantage Point typically gets around fifty submissions every semester.
“Usually the magazine has a theme that we plan around,” Barker said. “We tend to look at how many poetry, fiction, and nonfiction pieces we have and try to pick the most unique and refreshing ones. Last semester we had a play submission, which we had never had before, and we enjoy getting creative pieces like that.”
“We don’t look for pieces about any particular topic, or in any particular style. We look for pieces that exhibit strong voice and originality. When we review submissions, we’re looking to select a group of pieces that complement each other and work as both individual pieces and a volume.”
One thing’s for sure, the Vantage Point is a creative outlet for people who like to write in any medium, and one that isn’t confined to English majors and Creative Writing minors. So submit your writing to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1!