Magazine experience helps students succeed

Penn State Greater Allegheny (PSUGA) is celebrating 15 years of visual art, poetry, short fiction, nonfiction, essays, photography and more with the publishing of the ABSENCE review this spring. ABSENCE is an annual review of the best literary and visual art produced by students, staff, faculty and alumni of the campus each academic year.

ABSENCE also prepares students for careers in academia, publishing and journalism, and document design — both paper and digital — while offering opportunities for students to earn Penn State credit for their editorial work. Several student editors have gone on to careers in publishing and academia.

Clifford Manlove, faculty adviser to ABSENCE, said, "In the 10-plus years that I have served as faculty adviser and publisher for ABSENCE, I have been evermore pleased by the quality and beauty of the creative work submitted by students of all majors at PSUGA. Not only has the number of submissions from students increased more than fivefold, but the quality of their work, the diversity of genre and technique have more than improved fivefold since 2002. But, as important is it is for the students of PSUGA to have a place to publish the best work produced by the campus community, it is even more important to provide our students at this campus with the opportunity to learn how to produce, edit and publish this creative work (both in paper and electronically). Learning the skill and art for editing and publishing can lead to careers in academic and trade publishing, and can strongly enhance applications to graduate and professional school. The knowledge learned in the process of editing and publishing can be used to advance any career that relies on writing or critical thinking. That is why advising ABSENCE for more than 10 years has been so important to me."

Courtney Handlovitch is the student editor for ABSENCE. "As editor for the magazine, this leadership position will benefit my career in the future,” she said. “What's going to be the most difficult part of my job will be deciding what we cannot add due to the limited space of the magazine. This is a type of responsibility I haven't experienced yet. People are submitting their personal words and their personal images to this magazine. How do you turn that down?”

ABSENCE is published each April and is unveiled at an annual Celebration of the Arts: A Reading and Reception, which features the creative work of each year’s authors and artists. Copies of Volume 15 will be available for the first time at this year’s event, which will be held from from 7 to 9 p.m. April 24, in the Ostermayer Room of the Student Community Center. The free event will feature artists and authors presenting and performing their work from the 2013 issue, live performances by the campus choir and drama club, and scenes from Jay Breckenridge’s spring theater production. Light refreshments will be served. 

The eighth annual Chancellor’s Prizes for the Best Literary and Visual Arts will be awarded at this event (totaling some $1,000 in scholarship money). Some of the submissions will win awards, some will be published and still others will not make it into this year’s review. Handlovitch said, “I'm a huge (Kurt) Vonnegut fan, so I incorporate him at every possible opportunity. He says, ‘To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.’ I guess what I'd like to stress is that no one should be discouraged by the rejection of their art. If you want to paint or write or draw or whatever it is you do, do it. Love it, and love the time you dedicated to it. Being published isn't the only way to measure success. It takes courage to submit work, and I admire that.”

The deadline for submissions for the 2013 issue has been extended to Feb. 21. Submissions should be sent as email attachments to Clifford Manlove, senior faculty adviser at The Student Editors of ABSENCE 2013 are proud to announce a special section devoted to the Teaching International themes for 2012-13: “The Celtic Nations” and “Water.” Submissions for this section are due by March 8. Acceptance for publication by the student editors is selective and competitive, holding at a rate of 20 to 25 percent since 2006. 

Handlovitch is excited about the upcoming publication. She said, “I have a great group to work with, and I'm very confident we're going to publish something spectacular.” 

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Last Updated March 27, 2013