A Peek Behind the Curtain

            This week, with classes starting up again here on Campus, I thought I would give a little insight into the process of Periphery, how we select stories, how the journal functions, a little bit of history about our humble journal.

            As per our website, Periphery Art and Literary Journal is an award-winning student run undergraduate art and literary journal, striving to showcase the best in undergraduate art, poetry and prose.  We take the name ‘Periphery’ pretty seriously, with a focus on stories that are a little ‘out there’.  Staff favorites from years past include an allegory for mental health involving giant monsters from edition 56, a story about using an octopus to get a date from edition 55, and a story from the perspective of a vengeful ghost of a student council member from edition 54.  A balance we try to strike in the stories we pick, is that between stories specifically about the undergraduate experience, and everything else.  Too much of the former, and the content is insular to universities, while too much of the latter threatens to undermine the point of a undergraduate literary journal.  If you want to get a better sense of what kinds of stories we publish, there is no better way than to simply read the journal.  Last year’s edition, as well as a smattering of older copies, are now scattered around campus, with particularly large caches in Howard Hall, and Cowles Library.  They can also be found on our website under ‘Archive’. 

            The masthead of Periphery is quite small, comprised of four editors, an art director, a media director (yours truly) and an editor-in-chief.  We meet several times a year to discuss submissions and host events culminating in the publication of the journal.  The meetings where the staff discuss which submissions are going into the journal usually take hours.  We get anywhere from 400-500 submissions annually so sifting through them takes some time.  We try to hire a staff with diverse tastes so that we rarely agree on which stories are our favorites.  Some of my fondest memories with Periphery are arguing in those meetings for which of my favorite submissions should make it into that year’s edition. 

            The journal was started in 1962, and has undergone some serious changes since that time.  In it’s past Periphery has been published every semester, has had a panel of judges awarding prizes to authors and artists, and experimented greatly with form and content.  The journal has won several Pacemaker awards for best undergraduate publication from the associated collegiate press.  This year’s edition of Periphery with be number 57, but older editions can be found across campus to this day.  The Cowles library archives has every edition of the journal going back to the very first edition.   

            This year, we are have one position open for an editor.  Responsivities for this paid position would include reading submissions, attending periphery events, and helping decide what goes in the journal.  Applications will be available at the activities fair on September 4th in Upper Olmstead from 3:00-6:00, and can be found on our website under ‘Apply’.  Applications should be sent to the Periphery email: periphery.editors@drake.edu by 11:59 on September 30th

            This year the journal will accept applications in two windows, one in the fall, and one in the spring.  The dates are as follows

Fall: September 1 – November 18 (Art and Literature)

Spring: January 6 – February 28 (Literature)

Spring: January 6 – March 23 (Art)

            Submissions are strictly anonymous, with personal information hidden until the staff has decided to accept or refuse the piece. 

            If you have any questions about Periphery or the work done here, you can shoot an email to periphery.editors@drake.edu or come to the activities fair and ask us in person.  We love talking about what we do and would love to meet some new faces!            

I am truly excited to bring to you all a special post for next week: an interview with Alasdair Stuart, the host of the literary podcast Pseudopod, and co-owner of the ‘Escape Artist’ podcasts, a collection of literary genre podcasts bringing to life fresh and classic stories every week.  Stay tuned!

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