Tori Smith – Staff Writer
Gustavus is home to a great number of talented students, including young artists, entrepreneurs, writers, poets, musicians, athletes and more.
In order to support these talents, the school tries to display students’ work whenever and wherever possible. One way Gustavus does this is through Firethorne, the literary and art magazine published annually on campus.
Firethorne is edited and published through ENG-350 course “Editing and Publishing” taught by English Professor Matt Rasmussen. Students in the course work together to create a completely new and innovative edition of the magazine using work submitted by students for the greater Gustavus community to enjoy.
Sophomore Cadence Paramore is the Photography Manager at The Gustavian Weekly’s and was a part of the Editing and Publishing course last spring. Now, she’s working as an intern for the literary magazine and is helping the current English-350 students create this year’s edition.
Paramore explains that deciding what content makes it into each edition for publishing is a big team effort.
“We started by coming up with a list of things we wanted to see in pieces of writing,” Paramore said.
Then, the entire class votes on whether or not the piece they’re looking at will fit into the final publication.
This can seem quite daunting to any new writers hoping to submit their work, but Paramore offered reassurance to those who may be hesitant.
“Everyone is super nice and super respectful, and everything is anonymous so we don’t know whose is whose,” Paramore said.
According to Paramore, last year’s course got off to a smooth start with great communication and energy from everyone in the class.
“We’d all just shout out answers to questions here and there, and it was a lot easier to have discussions,” Paramore said.
Then, COVID-19 hit in March 2020 and all classes at Gustavus were transferred to an online format, including English-350.
The biggest changes for the editorial staff was communication and moving what once was a print-exclusive journal to one being produced entirely online.
“When things went online it was a bit more difficult for everyone to vote on things and share their opinions,” Paramore said.
Luckily, the Firethorne team was able to produce a beautiful 2020 edition on their new website. Readers can now scroll through student stories, poems, and artwork with just one click.
One of the students whose work is featured in this online edition is Senior Katie O’Brien. Three of her pieces were published, two poems and one piece of prose.
“It was definitely an honor, and I appreciated that people liked my work enough to have three things in there,” O’Brien said.
Like many fans of the literary magazine, O’Brien was surprised to find out that it moved entirely to a virtual format. Although it allowed the journal to be more easily accessible, she wished she could have had a physical copy for herself.
“[The online Firethorne] was really cool, but I feel like a physical copy, especially because I love books, was the coolest part because it felt more real that you were published,” O’Brien said.
Many Firethorne fans felt the same, including Paramore herself. She agreed that not being able to publish a physical edition was disappointing, but there is still hope.
“We’re still pushing for [the physical copies],” Paramore said.
This year, the editorial staff in English-350 are preparing to receive submissions. For anyone worried about submitting their work, both Paramore and O’Brien agreed that the process is as easy and painless.
“I was nervous but also excited when I submitted my work. It’s super cool to have the opportunity to do this even if it’s a smaller scale,” O’Brien said.
She is especially grateful that she submitted now that three of her pieces have been published. She even noted that many people who read through the edition have praised her work, even people she doesn’t know closely.
“I didn’t expect it to get recognized like it did,” O’Brien said.
The editorial team also wants to make it known that students from all backgrounds, majors, and experiences are encouraged to submit any of their work.
“We really push to have everyone on campus feel like they can submit and be included,” Paramore said.
Submissions will be due by March 9. Posters for Firethorne are expected to go up around campus soon and will give even more detail about how to submit. Last year’s edition can be found at www.firethorne.org.