Two LSSU students complete year-long internship with campus journal Border Crossing
SAULT STE. MARIE, MI – Two Lake Superior State University creative writing students have completed a yearlong internship with Border Crossing, the creative writing program’s teaching journal.
The two, Meredith Cleary (pictured), a senior from Ontonagon, and Steve Keller, a senior from Cross Village, will see the fruits of their labor when Vol. 4 of the journal is published this fall.
The issue will include fiction, non-fiction and poetry from professional writers around the U.S. and Canada, as well as work throughout by a featured artist.
Cleary, who was assistant poetry editor, worked with professor Julie Brooks Barbour to read and “blindly” select the best poems for publication.
The practice of choosing work “blindly” means that editors do not look at identifying information or author biographies.
“Getting to learn about the publishing side of journals was the most educational aspect of the internship,” Cleary said. “I thought this was important because I can use this when I turn in pieces to be critiqued or published. I have a better sense of what publishers are seeking.”
She said she most enjoyed finding poems that “knocked her off her chair” when she read them and was surprised at the sheer number of poems submitted.
“The amount of beautiful work and variety was outstanding to see,” she said. “There are many great poets out there in the world and it was surprising to realize that, since I come from a small town.”
By the end of the semester, Cleary said the internship had a great impact on her own writing because of the amount of reading and thinking she did about poetry.
"I found myself using more imagery and narrative in my senior portfolio to get my poetry to another level,” she said. “I believe reading and writing are intertwined and if you want to be a good writer, you need to read.”
Cleary, a former member of the Laker volleyball team who will earn a sociology minor with her degree, will graduate in August.
She will begin her graduate studies in social work at the University of Toledo in the fall.
Keller, who is the winner of the 2013 LSSU Short Story Contest, worked as assistant fiction editor with professor Mary McMyne using the same “blind” submissions process.
He said one of the most enjoyable aspects of the internship included the learning that would take place when discussing stories to analyze why something “felt wrong” about a story.
“By the time we got halfway through the semester, I was getting better at seeing and saying why something didn’t work.”
Keller also said he looked forward to finding unexpected gems in the pile, as if “you’re mining for gold and all of a sudden there’s a story that just knocks you over -- a nugget of ore that needs practically no refining to be gold.”
He said the most educational aspect about working on the journal was learning what an editor does.
“I went from thinking I had an idea of what editors do, to seeing how it really works,” he said. “I learned to pay close attention to dialogue, plot, characterization, and all the other things that make up a good story.”
This fall’s issue of Border Crossing will include a special feature on Michigan and Ontario writers, with poetry by Jennifer Burd, Janeen Pergrin Rastall, Elizabeth Schmuhl, Margaret von Steinen, and Keith Taylor; fiction by Joseph D. Haske and Ron Riekki; and nonfiction, edited by professor Jillena Rose, from authors Phil Dansdill, Lori A. May, and Robert Vivian.
A visual artist, whose work will be featured throughout the issue, has yet to be selected.
Barbour, McMyne, and local artist Jeanne Mannesto are in the final stages of selecting the winner of this year’s featured artist competition.
Four LSSU students have signed up for the 2014-2015 Border Crossing internship, which is available in the course schedule for the fall as ENGL 399.
The editors are still looking for poetry and non-fiction interns, especially, and one more fiction editor would also be welcome.
To apply, students need permission of the instructor and credit for ENGL 221.
Interested students should contact Barbour (poetry) at firstname.lastname@example.org, Rose (non-fiction) at email@example.com, and McMyne (fiction) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first three volumes of Border Crossing, published by LSSU students and faculty in 2011- 2013, are available online and at the LSSU campus bookstore.
“Funds from the sale of the journal help support our program, as well as the literary and visual arts in Michigan and Ontario,” said McMyne. “You’ll find great stories, beautiful poetry, insightful and lyrical essays, and amazing work by regional artists. Each issue is a pleasure to work on and a treat to read.”
Visit Border Crossing online at lssu.edu/bc.
Find out more about creative writing at LSSU by running a search for “creative writing” at lssu.edu