Skidmore literati assemble new magazine: ?Palimpsest? promises another forum for student poetry and prose

Posted by Brendan James

At a college where the study of English reigns supreme among the humanities, two students have set out to fill the gaps in Skidmore's literary scene with a new journal dedicated to students' creative writing.

English majors Anne-Louise Korallus-Shapiro '12 and Margo Shickmanter '12 have spearheaded a new student literary journal to exhibit the talents of their peers. The journal, Palimpsest, will be an online-only publication dedicated to student fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction.

"We want to showcase the English department's amazing work for the entire college, the way that the Art department displays their work in galleries," says Korallus-Shapiro.

Creative non-fiction in particular is largely absent from Skidmore's other publications, such as Folio or the literary sex magazine Bare. Korallus-Shapiro and Shickmanter seek to highlight the neglected category in Palimpsest.

"We think that the body of creative writing, and particularly non-fiction, kind of gets short-shrift right now," says Shickmanter. "It's sort of crowded out by the literary analysis and theory."

The project began with the help of a student opportunity grant from the Office of Academic Advising. Next Korallus-Shapiro and Shickmanter enlisted their peers from workshops in the English department and began to form an editorial staff.

At the moment that staff is full of upperclassmen, but with the magazine launching soon the editors are eager to reach out to underclassmen who hold a creative and literary impulse.

"As seniors, this is something we obviously want to see continue after we leave, so we are very interested in getting underclassmen involved as soon as possible," Korallus-Shapiro says.

The decision to hold off on a print edition and produce an online-only magazine, she adds, was chiefly due to costs. However, it will also allow the editors of Palimpsest to accept and publish submissions on a rolling basis. She hopes that this online format, designed by Matt Rothenberg '12, will allow for an even greater amount of content than a printed journal could contain.

The editors are hoping to publish selected submissions by students, as they come, by this December. Unique to the submission process is the editors' plan to turn each submission into a kind of workshop.

"In reviewing a student's work, rather than simply accepting it or turning it down, we want to create a workshop environment where applicants can see the creative process and understand the way this all works," says Korallus-Shapiro.

The pair invite any students interested in the magazine to submit fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry to the editors' email and stay tuned for the impending launch of the website.

"For those on campus who live and breathe [literature], we are looking to create this space that doesn't quite exist yet," says Korallus-Shapiro.

Having borrowed the term "palimpsest" for the title of his first memoir, Gore Vidal described the technique as "erasing some but not all of the original while writing something new over the first layer of text." In this vein, Korallus-Shapiro and Shickmanter say they are ready to redefine the College's literary landscape while preserving the core of creativity that attracted them to Skidmore in the first place.

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