This 2020–2021 academic school year, the students and staff contributing to Clarke University’s literary magazine, the Tenth Muse, have decided to maintain tradition and produce a physical copy of the magazine. This year the staff will be producing two separate volumes, the first being Volume X from 2019–2020 and the second being Volume XI from 2020–2021.
In the past, like with many things at Clarke, there has been a tradition in place. Concerning the Tenth Muse, started again by former English professor Anna Kelly in 2010, the tradition has been this: first semester of the course is used to promote the magazine and gain interest and submissions while second semester is dedicated to editing the accepted submissions and producing that year’s volume, followed by a launch party. However, the pandemic sweeping the United States at the beginning of 2020 put that tradition to the test.
“It’s important to sort of maintain that tradition and maintaining that tradition means submitting or creating a physical copy of the Tenth Muse,” says Steve Bellomy, Assistant English professor and overseer of the first semester of the course. However, with students and teachers being put into quarantine last spring and online school becoming the main method of attending class, the second semester staff needed to come up with a different way to promote the publication.
So, they decided on holding a Facebook live reading event. The staff members and accepted submissions were read aloud, through the Tenth Muse’s Facebook livestream. Ignoring a few early on technical issues, the live reading was a huge success. So successful, Eric Wold, Graphic Design professor and teacher of the second semester class, DMS 214, sees it as being a new piece of tradition.
“A lot of the success from last year’s virtual reading I feel like is probably going to be a new tradition,” Wold comments. “That’s an opportunity that arises out of something like a pandemic that none of us had really thought about a year ago,” Steve added.
Expectations for this pandemic-driven publication still have not changed. With high expectations for everything, Steve Bellomy and Eric Wold both expressed how they think the current situation is going to impact the Eleventh Volume of the Tenth Muse.
“In terms of quality, I don’t perceive the pandemic affecting that really at all,” Steve stated, “I think we’re going to put forward the best work that the students at Clarke will put forward.” He hopes to represent everyone who submits to the Tenth Muse, both from this upcoming volume and from the postponed volume from the previous year.
While those who were accepted into the tenth volume did have the opportunity to have their works shared during the virtual reading, not everyone was totally represented. Many people who contributed to Volume X were unable to see their work on a published platform. This is one of the main reasons the staff in charge of the Tenth Muse this year have stayed with tradition and are determined to provide physical books of both Volume X and Volume XII.
A former member of the Tenth Muse staff states, “Keeping with tradition is a big part of the Tenth Muse. To me, it’s only fair to publish both this year’s accepted submissions alongside the volume from last year. We worked hard despite the pandemic, and, while the virtual reading was a success, it is still a satisfying feeling to see your hard work as a physical object.”
Traditions, like many things, shift with big moments is history. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way the Tenth Muse had been run, for both better and worse. While there was no physical Volume X to be admired at the end of the spring 2020 semester, a largely successful virtual reading was able to take place, allowing contributors who were unable to attend the launch party to read and show off their works.
“This is a student-driven publication” Wold states. “Some of the ideas coming out of the class are being implemented, but there are other parts of this that are tradition.”
Staying with traditional Tenth Muse ways, there will be a copy for students and staff of Volume X from the 2019–2020 school year available, as well as a physical copy of Volume XI, following safe guidelines and tradition. Keeping with the new tradition, there will also be a virtual reading of selected accepted pieces of Volume XI, allowing more contributors to interact with the Tenth Muse.
Submissions for consideration into Volume XI can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.