Small press to highlight intersectional identities, oppression

By Megan Ruge, Co-Editor in Chief

A call for submissions has been released by the fall 2017 Small Press Editing and Publishing class for creative writing, poetry and/or prose to be published by Corona Press.

Corona Press is a student run publication, created by the class, that intends on publish- ing two chapbooks by the end of the semester, said senior Melissa Ballow.

The press is “dedicated to publishing prose and poetry that explores how different perspectives combine to create a unique vision and are excited about promoting intersectionality in contemporary writing and culture,” the class explained in a press release.

“It was really cool because we were able to say like ‘what’s important to us,’” Ballow said. “Is it important to talk about intersections within an individual? We were talking about different identities one person might have or when your own identity conflicts with the community around you and we sort of came to the conclusion that both are super important, especially in this current post-modern identity focused era. We’re accepting submissions from both sides of that.”

The press is looking for works by a single author. The selections should be between 18 and 44 pages of paginated content submitted in 12 point Times New Roman font and double spaced. A short author bio should be attached to the front of the document as a cover page so the author can remain anonymous during the selection process.

If multiple pieces are sent together, Corona asks that they are submitted in order of how the author would like to see them published. Pieces can be submitted at coronapress2017@ until Oct. 8.

“We are going through a submission process where we take all of the submissions, we read them in their entirety,” Ballow said. “We have a prose reading board and a poetry reading board. At that point, we will determine what parts of each selection do we really enjoy, what parts we think that could need work and what simply doesn’t fit our criteria.”

From here, the class will decide what makes the cut.

“The top submissions that we receive will have the privilege of being printed, but we might be doing something with our other submissions that we haven’t determined yet,” Ballow said. “Most likely, we are going to be featuring at least some of this work on our website so well.”

When putting together the small press, the class had to first decide on a mission statement and then pick a name that would sum this up for their readers.

“When we were talking about visions, thinking about both past presses that had been running and what’s currently on our minds in the face of this year politically, we really wanted to focus on voices that had not been heard in public media, but we weren’t quite sure how to make that more of a positive focus rather than an angry one,” Ballow said. “We didn’t want our press to be fueled by a divisive nature, so instead we took the other biggest thing that was in the news at the time.”

“The eclipse had just happened, so we were really ex- cited about how when the sun and the moon, which are theoretically polar opposites, come together, you’re able to see all these really exciting things that you normally wouldn’t during the day,” Ballow continued. “Specifically the ‘corona,’ which is the halo of light that happens when the totality occurs. We thought that it was really beautiful and awe inspiring and it brought the entire country together…because it only happens like once every 18 months but it only goes over land every like couple of years or so. And this was the first time it had happened in the U.S. in the last 30-something years, so we believed that the best way to talk about what our communities were dealing with when it came to discourse in public was to talk about how when we come together we can make something that’s bigger than the sum of our parts.”

Their mission statement then came together.

“We’re dedicated to highlighting student poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction that explores intersectionality,” said visiting assistant professor of creative writing, Hasanthika Sirisena. “For example, work that explores how race and gender and queerness work together and in opposition to create a whole identity. We are also interested in work that explores injustice and oppression. That said, we’re open minded and want most to start a dialogue by giving platforms to talented writers.”

The class will work for the remainder of the semester in this format in a way that mirrors a real world small press.

“This is a student-run press, it will only last for the semester,” Sirisena said. “Other than that, it’s proved to be a fairly accurate representation of what it’s like to establish a small press. We created a masthead. We assigned tasks. We’ve created a schedule and a call for submissions. It’s real world experience.”

“It’s really all about making sure the students run the entire show and I think that experience is particularly indispensable just because once you go into the adult world, there won’t be a teacher there to guide you,” Ballow said.

The class will hold a launch party at the end of the semester for their finished chapbooks. All selected authors will be invited to the launch party and will receive a hard copy of the chapbook.

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