Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Evolution of Mount Holyoke Literary Magazines. Part I

Many of you may be familiar with Moneta, the Mount Holyoke literary magazine. You may not know, however, that Moneta was not always the literary magazine of Mount Holyoke College. In fact Mount Holyoke has an expansive history of literary magazines, with each embodying their own take on the creative outlet.

The Mount Holyoke
Mount Holyoke Monthly
Mount Holyoke literary magazines began with what was originally known as The Mount Holyoke. This publication dates back to 1891 and continued successfully for many years. However The Mount Holyoke was very different from the literary magazines we have come to know today. Instead of a collection of only student writing, it served as a combination of newspaper, student writing, and alumnae content, making it an all-encompassing publication. By 1917 this composite form of student writing branched out into various singular publications, such as The Mount Holyoke News, Alumnae Quarterly, and, Mount Holyoke’s first stand-alone student literary magazine, Mount Holyoke Monthly. Mount Holyoke Monthly became the primary platform through which the original literary club, known as Blackstick, published student works they felt were worthy of recognition. At this point, however, Blackstick was very selective, choosing only the best and most notable works to be published. As a result, content primarily consisted of work that received awards and recognition by either faculty or writing contests. For this reason, the works in Mount Holyoke Monthly are an excellent source for reviewing what would have been considered notable student writing at the time.

The Challenge
The selectivity of Mount Holyoke Monthly’s content may have contributed to the addition of a new literary magazine, or in this case journal, on campus in 1932 called The Challenge. While still a publication of student works, this new literary magazine held a different and more specialized theme to its content. In the introduction, The Challenge states that its primary purpose is to “challenge some of the existing problems on the college campus and at the same time to present some interesting and constructive ideas” and to “promote sincere and intelligent thinking.” Many of the articles hold up to the name and challenge the thinking of the Mount Holyoke community. For instance, one article, titled "On Law and Order," challenges how the student community is "all too ready to complain... however, when an opportunity arises to reconstruct these phases of our community life, we are unwilling to assume any degree of responsibility or readiness to act." Much of the content in The Challenge is also influenced by the state of the economy as it began in the midst of the Great Depression, which was from 1929 to 1939. The editor of The Challenge remarks that the works in this journal are a reflection of a group of students who “feel an intellectual, cultural and social stagnation, as in the outside world we all feel the economic depression.” This literary journal was received with interest and criticism by faculty and students before ending in 1936.

As time went on, Mount Holyoke Monthly evolved into a new student literary magazine named Pangynaskean in 1942. Although Blackstick was still a contributor to Pangynaskean, content became less selective around this time. Therefore, independent writing became even more common and progressed towards the open and expressive form of literary magazine we know today. Like The Challenge, Pangynaskean was also influenced by WWII and therefore strived to include "the humor and lighter spirit" that students requested from the new magazine. The editor comments on the "justifiability of a purely creative effort during war-time" in the opening issue, saying that while "the arts and their outlets seem to lose their importance...it is certain that sooner or later, when it [the war] is ended, the demand for creative work and thought will be greater than ever." For this reason, The Challenge and Pangynaskean are great sources of student writing influenced by war. 

In 1948 Pangynaskean came to its end and was followed by Pan and then Tempo in 1951. Both were very similar to their predecessor, however, the need to increase student subscription, participation, and criticism lead to the new design and names. Tempo’s first edition describes its hope to make the revamped magazine “a campus wide interest” and its attempt to “counteract the feeling that the magazine is primarily published for English majors,” which shows the developing interest in making a magazine open to all kinds of content and student expression. This aim to extend student contribution continues into the 1950s when Mount Holyoke literary magazines once again take an old magazine and make it into something new. Literary magazines from the 1950s to the present will be continued in The Evolution of Mount Holyoke Literary Magazines Part II blog post next week.

Brittnee Worthy is a student Archives Assistant in Archives and Special Collections.

To explore Mount Holyoke's literary magazines in person, visit Archives and Special Collections in the basement of Dwight Hall!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Glascock Intercollegiate Poetry Competition April 1-2

Kick off National Poetry Month in style by joining us for the 93rd annual Kathryn Irene Glascock ’22 Intercollegiate Poetry Contest! Poetry collections by this year’s distinguished judges, Matthea Harvey, Joshua Mehigan, and Carl Phillips, are now on display in the Stimson Room on Library level 6.

Display of books by poet judges

Meet the judges in person during A Conversation with the Judges in the Stimson Room on Friday, April 1 at 3:00 pm.  Attend the competition itself later that evening at 8:00 pm in Gamble Auditorium. This year’s poet-contestants are:

Zoe Bodzas '16, Hamilton College
Peter LaBerge '17, University of Pennsylvania
Angela Nelson '17, University of Rhode Island
James O'Connell '17, Emerson College
Rachel Schmieder-Gropen '18, Mount Holyoke College
Nina Shallman '18, Amherst College

Come cheer them on! The announcement of the winner and Judges’ Reading from their own works will take place on Saturday, April 2 at 10:30 am in the Stimson Room.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Happy Open Education Week - What's an OER?

    March 6-13 is Open Education Week!  The tenets of open education offer promise for expanding educational potential  in several areas, but one of the most tangible and immediate is the opportunity to help students with the spiraling cost of books for their courses.   This is made possible through the growing pool of resources (textbooks included) that are made to be shared openly, collectively labelled open educational resources.  To quote the description from OER Commons (one of the largest repositories of OER at this time):
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost. Unlike fixed, copyrighted resources, OER have been authored or created by an individual or organization that chooses to retain few, if any, ownership rights.
Besides the ability to use and re-use them freely, OER can also (generally) be remixed and revised to suit a particular course’s learning goals, further leveraging their potential.   

  With all the promise of OER, there are still challenges to their adoption.   Among the greatest are the scattered nature of OER repositories and the lack of standardized process for evaluating them.  But strides are being made on both fronts out in the open education community and awareness is growing.

 To increase the opportunity for people to know about and explore the possibility of OER, we’ve created this brief Open Educational Resources Guide.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Artists' Books in the Archives: Ōyōki by Jun'ichirō Sekino

Ōyōki by Jun'ichirō Sekino
Check out this artist’s book from our collection! Ōyōki by Jun'ichirō Sekino is a miniature book that was published in 1956 and contains woodblock prints of houses, animals, flowers, and people. When you first look at this book you realize it is small, but picking it up reveals that it is still surprisingly lightweight: the exact opposite experience of handling Ship Wreck!

Inside, you can see that the woodblock images are printed on thin handmade paper. From what I have been able to gather, the style of binding is called fukuro-toji, which is “bound pocket” or “pouch binding.” I found a blog post from the Fort Collins Museum & Discovery Center that discusses 20 small books of Japanese fairy tales in their collection that have this binding too. This style of binding speeds up production and allows printers to use much thinner paper because they are only printing on one side.   

Fukuro-toji style binding