Advertising and Design -- Eliza Baker

It is a fine day for Ivory Tower. With the 2014 issue finally at the press, we've got a lot to be happy about. However, our work is far from over. We are gearing up for our launch party on April 23. I welcome you to join us at 7:00 p.m. in the Whole Music Club in Coffman that night.

How have I been preparing for it, you ask? Well, my job for the launch involved a crucial form of advertisement on campus―creating a flier to promote the event! Since we Ivory Tower folks have been wonderfully bequeathed with a color printer, I had ample liberty as an artist to use all manners of color when designing the flyer. I knew right off the bat I wanted to use the brightest and the boldest.

Beyond color, I focused on aesthetics. Rather than take a simplistic approach, I decided to model the flier off of old carnival / circus posters. I used crazy text, flashy illustrations, and added a red curtain in there for good measure. I drew it out on paper, transferred it into a digital image, and worked on "inking" and coloring it in a painting program called Paint Tool SAI.

We are currently distributing these fliers on campus. My hope is they'll be flashy enough that people will want to stop and read them. Personally, I think the fliers look great, but I can't say I've done my job right unless they help bring people to the launch.
Hopefully they'll do just that.

To the Printer -- Jessica Troyan


With all of the students returning to campus after Spring Break, the same is happening for Ivory Tower. While most of you were off enjoying a sunny break, there were several of us from the staff who stayed back in cold Minnesota to do finishing touches on our newest issue. With the final layout and final edits done, we have officially sent the magazine to the printer!

Since one of our main objectives of this class is complete, now we are working on other things. We are putting together a manual for next year's class, and are making final preparations for our launch party. These two things will take up much of our attention while we wait for the printer to finish the 2014 edition of Ivory Tower.

While I know we can't hold in our excitement for everything to come together finally, we want to also remind you that in less than a month our launch party will take place! Please save the date: April 23, 7:00 p.m., at the Whole Music Club in Coffman Union. We want everyone to attend and help us celebrate all of the hard work we have accomplished this year and enjoy the work of all our fantastic contributors!

AWP 2014 -- Lyly Nguyen

Fifty degrees, sunny, and a coffee shop at every corner. Co Editor in Chief Eric Best and I were in Seattle, Washington, attending the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference from February 26 to March 1. Ivory Tower had received a grant of $1,000 from the Student Union Association as well as two travel grants from the English department in order to send two people to the conference. Our objectives were to network with publishing professionals and writers as well as to come back with panel ideas that Ivory Tower could propose for AWP 2015, which will be held here in Minneapolis.

Before we could attend this behemoth of a literary convention, we needed to actually fund the trip. I spent the fall semester drafting the grant proposals and budget list for the applications. When I received the email that we had gotten the grants, I was excited and overwhelmed. I was getting an opportunity to fly to the west coast and submerse myself in the literary community.

The good weather in Seattle framed our trip to the biggest literary conference in North America. Eric and I walked to the Washington Convention Center from our hotel and spent our first full day there volunteering in order to receive free admission to the conference. I spent four hours at a help desk at the nearby Sheraton, where a few panels were held, directing the convention-goers to their desired locations and their answering questions. By the end of my shift, I knew how to give directions to the Washington Convention Center, the nearest coffee shop, the Fed Ex store, and how to say, "no, the hotel does not validate parking."

After our shifts were done, Eric and I attended a panel together about trends in literary publishing that emphasized the importance of having an online presence prior to marketing a publication. We then parted ways afterward and attended panels based on our own personal interests. I sat in on one called "You're Doing it Wrong: Grant Writing 101" and took notes on the important details grant reviewers look for in applications, and other information I could include in the 2014 Ivory Tower Handbook about the grant application process. Later, I browsed the book fair and talked to the folks at Rain Taxi, a quarterly review based in Minneapolis, as well as a variety of other reviews. On our second full day, we both attended Graywolf Press's Fortieth Anniversary panel. Graywolf has a large literary following here in Minnesota and we wanted to support the community back home even though we were nearly 1,400 miles away in Seattle. The panel consisted of readings from Tess Gallagher, Mary Szybist, Leslie Jamison, Ru Freeman, and Justin Hocking as well as a retelling of the origins of Graywolf Press from Tree Swenson. The combination of poetry, essays, and fictional work framed the history of the press and showed the diversity of work coming out of Graywolf. At the end of the panel, we moved out of the packed room and headed down to the book fair. I picked up a book from Ru Freeman, On Sal Mal Lane, that she read an excerpt out of during the panel. The authors from Graywolf were down at their booth, and Eric and I had an opportunity to talk to them and get our books signed. Later, we explored the undergraduate and graduate literary magazine booths, chatting with other students that were also on the staff of a literary magazine and browsing through their latest issues. During the whole trip, we tweeted about AWP, sometimes peeking at the giant Twitter feed set up by the registration area hoping to catch our tweets on the board before we left. The next day was our last day. That morning, we checked out of the hotel with bags stuffed full of fliers, literary magazines, books, and ideas for a panel proposal for AWP 2015.

Arriving back home in reality, where we were not surrounded by 20,000 writers or lovers of the literary arts at all hours of the day, Eric and I were able to share with our class what we learned at the panel and how it can apply to Ivory Tower. We learned tips for successful online marketing, networked, how to improve our grant applications, generated panel ideas based on the ones we attended, and met other students who are working toward the same goals we are: to produce a literary magazine by the end of the year that included talented writers and artists whose work we thought was compelling, unique, and complex. In spring of 2015, look for Ivory Tower staff and alumni at the AWP Conference in Minneapolis.

Minnesnowta Revival -- Brianna Ives

As the snows continue to fall, the temperatures continue to hover below freezing, and the wind bites through our coats and gloves, we all look forward to what the days ahead will bring. Whether it is warm weather worthy of shorts or the snow banks fading into oblivion under the sun's heat, we all look forward to a springtime revival.

It is hard to believe that spring is only a couple of weeks away, with the weather perching near freezing, yet it is. Along with this rebirth from the snowdrifts, those of us at Ivory Tower look forward to this year's magazine emerging alongside the fresh, bright, and resilient new growth.

It has been a wonderful journey to work with our authors through the coldest seasons, combating the chill in order to reveal the fruits of our labor come spring. We have all grown together, authors and staff alike, doing what we like best and learning from one another. Ivory Tower truly is a fruit, cultivated and harvested by students in a variety of academic fields, an endeavor to create something together that exemplifies the creative prowess of us all. When it blooms it will bring a smile to our faces and remind us of how we have grown, despite the depressing cold.

With the approach of spring break, staff and authors are reaching the final stages of production. We have been working together to shape and hone the pieces to form their finest bloom. What comes next is working with the finalized pieces and typesetting them in preparation for printing. All the hard work that we have done and have yet to do is mounting toward the impressive blossoming of some of the best writing of the University of Minnesota's undergraduate classes, and we cannot wait to share in it with everyone.
Remember, melting snow and sunny days are ahead, and with them the 2014 issue of Ivory Tower!

Minnesnowta Revival -- Brianna Ives

Edit, Edit, Edit -- Phoebe Stephan

Edit, edit, edit.

Since we've made all of our acceptances, editing is the name of the game in Ivory Tower right now. Once we've accepted a submission and gotten author permission to publish it, an acquiring editor is assigned to each piece. The acquiring editor works closely with the author to make developmental edits to their piece. Developmental edits mean making changes to the story, order of events, structure -- things like that. This is a give and take process involving suggestions from the editor, which the author can accept or reject. Developmental editing is intended to bring out the full potential of a piece, while still respecting the author's vision.

Once developmental editing is complete, the piece goes on to be copyedited. We look everything over three times for technical errors, like grammar and spelling. Once copyediting is complete, the submissions are ready for typesetting!

In other news, we recently took our student group photo. Look for us in the Minnesota Daily under the section featuring student groups, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram!

Wondering about Wonder -- Wendy Xiong

Wonder is an expression of human sentiments. Wonder is a moment of awareness. Wonder is a reaction to realities--rational or irrational, natural or unnatural, concrete or abstract--both large and small. Wonder lets us imagine beyond the human "being."

Wonder is a mixture of pleasure, astonishment, and fear, which creates the feeling we know as "awe." Wonder for you may not be wonder for me. Wonder for me may not be wonder for you. It's still wonder, you can't deny that. (Or can you? I'll let you wonder about that.)

So why was I wondering about wonder to begin with? If you haven't guessed already, it is this year's Ivory Tower theme!

Right now, each staff member is busy with their own tasks. Some are busy editing and others are organizing Ivory Tower's annual spring Launch Party in April, (There will be free food; it will be wonderful. You should come!). I have been and still am working on designs. My aim is subtle aesthetics. Trying to make subtlety into something wondrous is easier said than done. With that, I'll leave off on a random quote (It's from an anime, of all places) that I find marvelous. It might or might not be English appropriate (You can be the judge of that):

"Living things are restrained by Chains: The laws of nature, the flow of time, the vessel known as your 'body,' and the existence called your mind. The one chain that people can wield: WORDS."

Stumbling into the Unknown - Valerie Arndt


This week marked the last week of classes and the conclusion of the semester. The submission deadline is upon us, and it does indeed seem as if everything is coming to a remarkably sudden close. This feeling of impending finality is one that is not unfamiliar, as many of us, myself included, are graduating in May. I feel, as I'm sure many of you do, a startling mixture of anxiety and excitement. Will I continue on to grad school and become a perpetual student? Will I land some sort of highly sought after entry position at a huge company? Or, will I just slug the hours away in retail? The frightening truth is that these are all possibilities.

In class this week, our guest speaker was a young woman named Sasha Grossman. Currently an assistant editor at Penguin, she was able to provide us with some interesting and surprising insight into what it is like to work in the publishing world. I felt her words were especially poignant to us as she is someone close to our age (she graduated in 2009) who was also on the Ivory Tower staff. She had attended the publishing summer program at Columbia University. There are countless stories of people who move to New York City after graduation, and it seems that they often end with empty pockets and a move back into their parent's house. Sasha's story however, is the opposite. Of course she had her share of struggles. She worked for a time at a Barnes and Noble while looking for a job in publishing. In the end, she made her way into the field where job openings are about as difficult to find as a fully clothed Miley Cyrus.

She's moved from jobs at Oxford University Press to her current job at Penguin, from editing academic monographs, to genre fiction. Either way, she is doing what she loves - and that is saying a good deal more than many other people I know. Sasha disclosed to us that a lot of the things she learned in the publishing program that she felt were the most pointless ended up being true of the field. For example, she found herself having to fill out profit sheets and predicting figures. I believe that this will be the case for many of us as we enter the workforce. We will encounter many things we never expected to, but we will take them in stride.

One thing that is apparent is that the publishing world is a bright, frightening one that I have yet to learn much about. Regardless of whether myself or many of my colleagues here at the Ivory Tower wind up working in it, I know that we are all glad to have had even a brief glimpse into what it is like while putting together this year's issue. Of course, as undergraduate students, we are all afraid of what awaits us after graduation. Afraid of failure, afraid of the unknown. Maybe one day, like Sasha, I too will be getting paid to edit in subject areas I had not anticipated. And you know what? I don't think that's so bad.

Reflections on my Semester - Cassandra King

I don't remember the original reason I registered for Ivory Tower last spring. I remember that there were only two seats open when I found the class, and after reading the description, I was excited. I had ambitions to be an editor someday and this class offered me a window into the field of editing experience. It was a nice way to dip my toes into the pool of publishing.

Now the first semester of the class is almost over, I find myself looking back on everything my classmates and I have learned. We have each had individual experiences on our committees, learning different things and connecting with different people. I can't speak for all my classmates, but for me, the most influential experiences Ivory Tower has given me have been listening to other people's stories.

The first person we met was Shannon Wolkerstorfer. She visited our class to talk about her experience working as the CLA Development Officer for the university. Her experience writing and accepting grants was valuable, as Lyly Nguyen and I were responsible for writing the grants for Ivory Tower. She told us that grants should be very clear about their motives and specific about budget. Grammar is also an important part that a lot of people overlook. She also reminded us how important deadlines are. These were helpful tips. Currently, our grants have been submitted and we are waiting to hear back.

In October, not long after Shannon visited, the Twin Cities Book Fair took place. Lyly, Lauryn Heineman, and I took shifts at the Ivory Tower table answering questions and handing out bookmarks. However, that was the quiet part of my afternoon since not many undergraduate students were there. When I wasn't at the Ivory Tower table, I wandered between the tables of various publishers and authors. This was priceless time for me to network, ask about internships, and seek advice from professionals. I talked to more people than I can name, but a few stood out to me.

There were two friendly women at the Paper Darts table whom I remember very well. They had both previously been members of Ivory Tower and were very happy to give me advice. They told me that making connections with other people was key, whether they're students or professionals. They said they wouldn't have started Paper Darts without first having been a part of Ivory Tower, and many of their current friendships started because of Ivory Tower. "We're actually going to a former classmate's wedding right after this!" one of them told me, laughing.

A month later, Laurie Hertzel, the Book Reviews Editor of Minneapolis Star Tribune, came to talk to our class. She was funny, friendly, and happy to answer our questions. She told us about her experiences getting into the field of journalism. Now, as some background, I'd like to mention that no women in my family work. I'm the first woman to go to college and seek a career. I haven't met very many passionate, professional, career-oriented women. Because of this, it was inspiring to hear her talk about the sexism she faced at a young age as she began working in journalism. It was encouraging to hear her talk about the adventures she had, the people she met, and the success she has had. As a young woman with few role models, I thought she was very inspiring.

Now it's the last month of the semester and it's almost time for winter break. This will be the busiest time for our magazine as we rush to read all the submissions that came in close to our deadline and accept the best of all of them. The path ahead of us is busy, but exciting. It's thanks to the people I've met (including my wonderful classmates) that I'm more excited than ever to move forward with Ivory Tower and continue pursuing my dream of being an editor.

Learning a Lexicon By:Delaney Churchwell

All right, I'm coming clean: I am a nerd. I suppose as an English major, I'm already a nerd of a sort. I may not wear short-sleeved dress shirts or inch-thick glasses, and for all I know Schrodinger's cat is a tabby that likes tuna, but I will make the argument that Victorian Lit and Brit Lit II are completely different classes even though the reading lists are half-identical. You may say this is more pretention than nerdiness, but let's face it: in college academics, the terms are hardly separable.

But getting excited about intertextuality and all that good English-stuff is not the type of nerdiness I am confessing. No, I am also a nerd of a sort that can be understood by anyone in any field: I am a nerd of jargon. For me, one of the best parts of learning a new subject is learning its vocabulary. It is so satisfying to finally give a name to something that I previously didn't understand or couldn't quite put my finger on. Phenomena I experience every day fit into patterns, theories, explanations, and with these come the terms that describe them so perfectly. True, jargon is difficult to work around and tedious to learn, but just think: Somebody came up with a word to describe a particular process or object, designed a specific series of letters to contour perfectly to a specific image. It's splendid.

So of course, I love learning the jargon of the publishing field as we develop this year's Ivory Tower. I had a taste of it in high school when I took a writing class that focused on getting published--unsolicited mss, SASE, query letter--but being on the Ivory Tower staff has propped open a whole new dictionary for me. I find myself now evaluating the color of a page (the ratio of text to white space); considering the caliper of cover stock (the thickness of the paper that makes the cover of the journal); and writing stet on manuscripts ("let it stand;" an editing mark to overturn a previous editing mark). There is even more to come--it's only November, and we still have six more months to develop our lexicon (and our literary magazine) before we have our final product.

I am lost in terminology, and I love it.