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ISSUE 117 VOL 17 PUBLISHED 4/30/2004

Digging into the literary scene

By Peter Gloviczki
Staff Writer

Friday, April 30, 2004

From term papers to essays, the act of writing is a daily activity for most St. Olaf students. But not all writing on the Hill is related to coursework  a growing number of Oles are also pursuing creative writing.

"I think this sense of community among writers at St. Olaf is stronger now than it has ever been since I came to St. Olaf in 1992," said English Professor Jim Heynen, who teaches many of the creative writing courses offered at St. Olaf.

Heynen is the advisor for The Quarry, a student-run publication which accepts poems, prose, essays and works of art.

Chris Messinger '05, co-editor of The Quarry, was pleased with this year's submissions to the magazine.

"There are a number of fine selections for this year's magazine, Messinger said. It is not easy to characterize the range of pieces, but I think that the selections truly represent the artistic impressions of the St. Olaf student body.

Messinger believes that the publication serves a larger purpose within the St. Olaf community than just providing a venue for students' creative writing.

"The goals of The Quarry are to provide a format where students are allowed to display their ideas for the appreciation and consideration of their fellow students," Messinger said. The Quarry is vital to the College's soul. Perhaps more than a museum, it makes a small portion of art accessible to the general student body for posterity."

While The Quarry focuses on creative writing and artistic expression, another publication on campus, The Reed, showcases the studies of philosophy and existentialism.

"We try to put together the best collection of existential writings  essays, poems, fiction  that we can find, both from St. Olaf and from around the world," said Dan Sinykin '05, co-editor of The Reed. "We seek both to expand the public awareness of existentialism, and to create a journal with high standards of quality and integrity."

While The Reed is best-known for essays which provide critical analysis about existentialist thinkers, Sinykin said that this year's submissions, which consider existentialism through not only academic writing but fiction and poetry as well, are exceptionally strong.

"We have several wonderful essays lined up on Heidegger, Nietzsche, and Kierkegaard in Dostoevsky. Also, the selection of poems in this year's journal is exciting. We have enough excellent submissions that it's difficult fitting [in] all we want to include in this year's journal," Sinykin said.

The Reed is set to be released during the last week of classes, and The Quarry will be released within the next two weeks. Both publications will be distributed outside the cafeteria.

When The Quarry is released, the editors will also be selling a small desk calendar, and Messinger hopes that this fundraising effort can help expand the resources for the publication.

Although both The Quarry and The Reed are relatively small at present, the editors of both journals have aspirations of expanding their readership.

Messinger encouraged students to explore the work of their peers. "I hope that The Quarry is appreciated by students and carried with them as a reminder of their college's unique artistic endeavors," Messinger said.

Heynen also expressed an optimistic attitude about the potential for growth in the creative writing community.

"I am frequently invited as a guest to other campuses to talk about writing and to meet with young writers," Heynen said. "My sense of things, comparatively, is that St. Olaf has developed a livelier student-writing community than most campuses."

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