April 25, 2014
RiverCraft launches, student writers honored at reading"While you're there, you don't always realize that SU is one of the top creative writing programs for undergraduates in the country, and for that, SU should be commended," writer Salvatore Pane said. Pane is an alumnus of Susquehanna and was the guest speaker and visiting writer at this year's RiverCraft launch.
RiverCraft is one of four magazines released annually by Susquehanna's creative writing program, displaying students' poetry and fictional prose. Its fellows are Essay, which contains students' nonfiction works, The Susquehanna Review, a national publication, and The Apprentice Writer, a publication which that features submissions of high school students.
RiverCraft has had 51 editions to date. According to Professor of English and Director of the Writers' Institute Gary Fincke, RiverCraft began its journey under the name of "Focus," and it provided an outlet for creative writers to produce their works. Since 1963, RiverCraft has grown, not only in thickness, but also in excellence.
Fincke said: "I've been advising the magazine since 1983. I swear that every year is better than the year before."
Fincke also said that RiverCraft has an extraordinary quality for an undergraduate magazine. It competes at a national undergraduate level each year. His only regret is that it does not have a wider circulation at Susquehanna.
"I think non-majors perceive that our writing is only meant to reach those who appreciate literature for its high-brow aesthetic, and this simply isn't the case," junior Kristen Brida, one of this year's poetry editors, said.
"While our journal produces work with strong language, intricate plots and experimental poetry, our journal is also meant to entertain our reader, and I firmly believe that those outside the major will find this to be true when they pick up a copy of our issue," Brida continued.
Brida is one of six main student editors that assisted with RiverCraft this year. The main editor was senior Sarah-Jane Abate. The fiction editor was junior Chris Rodriguez. Poetry editors included Brida, senior Kirstin Waldkoenig and sophomore Christine Guaragno. Production editor this year was senior Nicole Powers.
The launch was performed in Isaacs Auditorium in Seibert Hall and featured readings by Pane and selected works within the magazine, presented by the writers. Three students in particular were recognized that evening.
The climax of the ceremony was the presentation of the Juliet Gibson Memorial Award, a $400 prize that is given to an outstanding writer in RiverCraft. The award is in memory of Juliet Gibson, a Susquehanna student editor who died in a campus accident in 1987. The judge for the award each year reviews each piece of poetry and prose submitted to RiverCraft. This year's judge was Sarah Turcotte, a Susquehanna alumna from 2010.
Each year, there are two finalists chosen for the award, one in poetry and one in prose, as well as the Juliet Gibson winner. This year's prose finalist was sophomore Eric Hollen for his piece "Do You Remember Jamaica?" The finalist for poetry was senior Deb Gravina for her piece "Admittedly." Susquehanna's Juliet Gibson Award winner this year was first-year Sarah Harshbarger for her piece titled "Lambing Season."
Harshbarger said: "It's surreal. I didn't even know if I would get into the magazine, so it was a surprise."
Many involved in this year's edition of RiverCraft said that this is an opportunity for all Susquehanna students to express their creative abilities.
Brida said, "To see our contributors' enthusiasm and to see students hold and read our 2014 issue really displays how important literature- more importantly, emerging literature- is to the Susquehanna community."
Powers said, "I think a lot of people outside of the writing department just don't even realize that these magazines are something that we produce every year."
"If you're not a huge writer or reader or someone who is familiar with the writing department, I think it's just a cool way to see what other departments on this campus are up to and the great writing that's produced every semester," Powers continued.
Submissions for the 2015 edition of RiverCraft will be accepted until January or February of next year.
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