January 2013 Archives

Ivory Tower: Final Review

By Dalton Craig, Copyeditor, Ivory Tower

The past week has been a hectic one at Ivory Tower. In addition to dealing with new class schedules, the sacrifice of leisure time (for those who still believe in the concept, anyway) to the demands of new homework, and the usual beginning-of-semester kerfuffle (yes, I did seriously just use that word), our staff members have had to finalize our decisions about which student submissions will be published in the 2013 issue of the magazine. Our staff is divided into four committees: one for each category of student work submitted to our magazine (Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Visual Art). Over Winter Break, each member of each committee reviewed every submission in the category that her or his committee dealt with. We arrived in our first Ivory Tower class of the semester on Wednesday, ready to discuss which pieces we thought should go in the magazine.

In the committee I was in, the Fiction Committee, we had decided before break that each of us would come to class this semester with a list of the stories he or she liked, or at least thought would go well in the magazine. As it turned out, one of us had exceeded expectations and made a particularly inclusive list. Therefore, we decided that he would read off the names of the stories on his list, and that after each name was read off, each member of our committee would assign that story a ranking from one to five, five being the best. We would then add up each ranking to give that story a total score, and we would decide which stories got included largely by which stories had the highest total scores. A few of us liked stories that weren't on the list originally, so we added those to be voted on as well.

So we voted, and we were surprised to find that we agreed on a lot more of the stories than we'd thought we would. When we'd finished voting on all the stories and we'd put them together into a list of twenty, ranked according to their scores, we felt quite satisfied with our work. None of us felt that our opinions were underrepresented in the finalized list, and none of us felt that any stories that we absolutely needed to include as possibilities were left off the list. For example, every one of the stories that I included on my personal list made it onto the final list. We submitted the final list to the Editors-in-Chief, who have the final word about what content goes in the magazine. The Editors-in-Chief may disregard some of the rankings on our list when making the final decision, in order to vary the subject matter of the magazine (many of our top choices diverged somewhat from ordinary life, and it might be nice to have a couple pieces dealing with more relatable subject matter), but we can all feel confident that each of us will see at least one of our top picks make it into the printed issue.

Ivory Tower on the Moody Blues

By Dalton Craig, Copyeditor, Ivory Tower

The topic of this post will seem rather obscure at first, but bear with us: it does have a literary point. One of our copyeditors received an album by the Moody Blues (a rock band from the mid 60's and 70's) as a Christmas present, and he just recently got around to listening to it. He found the music to be quite good--but that's not the point here. The point is that the album included several tracks that consisted of one of the band members reading some original poetry aloud. The copyeditor thought that, despite the fact that the poems rhymed (a technique that seems to be avoided like the plague in modern poetry), some could actually be considered quite good from a literary perspective. This reminded him of his desire to see a contemporary rhyming poem that could rival our era's standard, the unrhymed poem, in literary significance.

Just to clarify: this copyeditor--a quirky, lugubrious, but occasionally entertaining sort of fellow--does not hate, or even dislike, unrhymed poetry. He just thinks that rhymed and unrhymed poetry should both be appreciated as legitimate forms of literature. So it bothers him when rhymed poetry is treated as unsophisticated and is overlooked in lieu of unrhymed poetry, or when few people bother to write polished versions of rhymed poems, figuring (the aforementioned copyeditor supposes) that rhyming is passé.

As this copyeditor listened to the poems on the Moody Blues album, he thought that they sounded like the sort of rhymed poetry that could compete with unrhymed poetry. Still, the Moody Blues are by no means "contemporary" (their heyday ended almost forty years ago), so the copyeditor still couldn't say that he had ever encountered a contemporary rhymed poem that could put a dent in the exalted position of the unrhymed poem in our culture. Then again, he's on our Fiction committee, and isn't exactly well-versed in contemporary poetry, so that could be why he hasn't yet encountered one. He hasn't read many of the Poetry submissions we've received for the 2013 issue of Ivory Tower, either, since his committee isn't in charge of which poems to accept. For all he knows, there could be a rhyming poem such as the one he seeks sitting in the midst of our Submittable pages. We've received a great deal of good poetry, and what gets published will most likely come down to what fits thematically or stylistically with the rest of the magazine. It remains to be seen whether this will include a rhyming poem.

Ivory Tower: Welcoming 2013

By Dalton Craig, Copyeditor, Ivory Tower

Well, it's the end of the year again: a time for rejuvenation, resolutions, and (of course) partying. In this particular year, it's also a time to remind the people who interpreted the end of the Mayan calendar as the end of the world that they were quite mistaken.

Everyone greets the New Year in a different way. Some people go to elaborate soirees to imbibe expensive liquor and pretend to be interested in the conversations they're having; some people attend less formal affairs and party the night away; some people just hang out with their friends, make New Year's resolutions, and wait for the ball to drop in Times Square. We at Ivory Tower will most likely be doing a variety of things, such as reading through the submissions that we've received for the 2013 issue of our magazine, and making our own New Year's resolutions. The copyeditor writing this does not know what the New Year's resolutions of each individual staff member are, but he is certain that, as
an organization, everyone on our staff has one common resolution: to decide which of the submissions we've received should be published in the 2013 issue of Ivory Tower. Granted, that was our goal before the New Year as well, but it never hurts to reaffirm it through the medium of tradition.

What are your New Year's resolutions, if you've made any? Feel free to share anything that comes to mind (as long as it's appropriate for public viewing), especially if it involves literature and art.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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