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"Jigsaw" literary magazine prints 70th student journal

by Shelby Toth
Thu, Apr 4th 2019 11:00 pm

Students at The College at Brockport have a unique opportunity to publish their works in a collaborative effort between student creatives and the college’s English Club. “Jigsaw,” Brockport’s literary magazine, is currently in its 70th year of publication. According to Professor Kristen Proehl, who has worked as the faculty advisor for the magazine since 2015, “Jigsaw” has brought together students from all across the campus community.

“The opportunity to publish creative work in “Jigsaw” is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at the college and it allows for so many opportunities for collaboration,” Proehl said. “The editors get to know the student authors and they also get to know one another as they brainstorm creative ideas, troubleshoot problems and develop professional editing skills.”

Students are in charge of the publication, laying out the magazine and choosing the order the submitted works will be presented in. According to Proehl, the students of “Jigsaw” also learn “copy-editing, formatting and creative design skills.” Graduate student and President of English club Stacey Baran was also involved in the creation of this year’s “Jigsaw.”

“The club jumped right in this semester working on it, and while it’s been a handful with working out budgets and editing, seeing the level of commitment from all members of the club is inspiring,” Baran said. “It’s always great to see a production of the student body that is so long standing and emphasized as significant.”

The current Editor-in-Chief of “Jigsaw,” senior Matthew Kensek, has been working with the magazine since the spring of his Sophomore year, the semester after he switched his major to English. Proehl had told Kensek that the magazine was looking for editors and since he had enjoyed his time at his high school literary magazine, he decided to join.

Kensek explained that the magazine accepts all kinds of work, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry and artwork. After receiving a good amount of submissions, the editors go through all of them, reading for any spelling or grammar mistakes, as well as making sure the content is appropriate. After the magazine is prepared, it goes to print.

The work behind the magazine comes from the students. Kensek himself has contributed to the 2017, 2018 and the upcoming 2019 editions of “Jigsaw.”

“My first published piece in “Jigsaw” was a short story about a father taking his young son to New York City for the first time by train, and the boy asks the father to explain what the city looks like and then dreams about it,” Kensek said. “A child’s mind is a lot different than an adult’s, so I tried to play around with how a child may think a city would be as opposed to what it actually is.”

In getting their works published, Kensek believes it gives students a “sense of accomplishment,” something Proehl also mentioned.

“Students — both the authors and editors — often feel a sense of pride and accomplishment as they complete the “Jigsaw” publication process,” Proehl said. “The student authors are usually very excited to get to see their work in print and share it with the campus community.”

“Jigsaw” is one of the only places where students can get their works published, as it is the only campus publication of its kind, according to Baran. She explained that is gives students the ability to “test the waters” of publication.

“Everyone knows how difficult it is to break into the world of publication, so having “Jigsaw” really gives our students the opportunity to experience the process and have their work reviewed by and distributed to their peers,” Baran said. “Long story short, it’s a brilliant way to give students a platform to let their creative voices be heard by an engaged and supportive community.”

As this year is the 70th edition of the magazine, the editors and the club wanted to do something special to celebrate it. According to Kensek, the cover will be a piece of artwork from a 1950’s edition of the magazine.

“The original artist actually gifted the pen-and-ink design to Charlie Cowling and the Rose Archives a few years ago, and I really loved it and asked if we’d be able to use it to pay tribute for this edition, while making sure that the artist is given credit,” Kensek said.

Another piece of inspiration taken from the archives is the use of an editorial foreword by the Editor-in-Chief. Kensek explained he saw multiple forewords when looking through past editions and was inspired to include one as well in order to acknowledge the huge milestone of 70 years.

While the editors just put in the order for the magazine, it won’t be unveiled until the annual release party.

“I think the highlight of each year has probably been hearing students read their published work at the end-of-the year celebration—our “Jigsaw” release party,” Proehl said.

According to Kensek, not many definitive plans have been made yet in regards to the party. When it comes time, the party is open to anyone who wants to attend and see the newly published works of their peers.