by Christopher Stetson Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
Redivider, like a lot of literary journals, has had a tough couple of years. The pandemic was a major contributing factor, though it was not the only factor. Operating a literary journal is a challenge for a few dozen graduate students who have their own lives and jobs and families, their own graduate studies, and, as was demonstrated in 2020–2022, their own health and safety challenges.
In 2022 we began putting things back together. I had the privilege of being in the right place and time (as both an MFA student and full-time administrator at Emerson College) to make changes and improvements, and it has been not only validating but also exhilarating that so many other grad students, as well as Emerson College staff members, have recognized the value of this journal and have joined us, or assisted us, to begin moving it forward again.
In 2022 we accomplished the following:
- Reading and responding to a backlog of hundreds of submissions in both poetry and nonfiction genres. For me, personally, this also meant learning how to read and evaluate poetry.
- Creating a completely new website, with all online issues uploaded and formatted to the author’s wishes.
- Creating an entirely new email system, file system, and communication system using existing Emerson College IT infrastructure.
- Writing a new constitution for the organization, complete with a more horizontal power-sharing structure (we are, at the end of the day, a grad student org)
- Recruiting and onboarding grad students from across the college—about 25 came on board in October and November, including students from both the MFA-Creative Writing and MA-Publishing & Writing programs, the MFA-Popular Fiction program, and even a few students from the MS-Communication Disorders program
- Judging and awarding the very-late 2021 Blurred Genre Contest submitters, fulfilling a promise to all who participated in (and paid to enter) the contest
- Producing the fall 2022 issue, 19.2 (which was originally due in the spring), with nearly all genres represented and some very handsome cover art from Mexican muralist Vera Primavera
- Submitting works for the Pushcart Prize for the first time in years
- One accomplishment from 2023: finally gaining access to our 14,000-follower Twitter account, which had been locked in two-factor authentication hell for almost a year
In January the entire Redivider staff met to talk about where the journal is now, and where we want to go, and I’m pleased to announce a few major changes.
- Redivider will suspend its Beacon Street Prize and Blurred Genre Contest in favor of paying all contributors. This was decided mainly due to the equity and inclusion problems with literary contests, which typically (and this is true of Redivider’s contests as well) have hefty entry fees. There are many logistical challenges to paying contributors, since the funds are processed by a large bureaucratic organization—which is a college—but the Redivider staff was almost unanimous in agreeing to this change. We’re hoping to institute this for our new upcoming summer issue.
- Blurred genre, however, will still have a home at Redivider, but now in the form of an online-only summer issue. We will continue to produce our spring and fall issues as in the past.
- Redivider will begin taking steps to restart its print publication, which was suspended five years ago. This will be a more limited print run than in previous iterations, but will give our MA-Publishing students a larger role and give our contributors and biggest fans a chance to hold the work in their hands. The web edition will remain to ensure accessibility to the great works we publish. We are hoping to have available a print edition in Spring 2024, if all goes according to plan.
- Redivider will begin focusing more attention on Cultural Critique as a nonfiction “niche.” This means we now divide our genres into the following categories for submission:
- Flash fiction
- Memoir & Personal Essay
- Cultural Critique
- Graphic Narrative & Illustrated Poetry
- Cover Art
There is a great deal more to do, both internally and for our public-facing portals. We are at work preparing pieces for our Spring 2023 issue, 20.0. We still have more recruiting and staff promotion to do, more design work for the website, more marketing, and more planning. But I’ve never been as hopeful for this organization and this journal as I am now.
Thank you for reading! We’ll see you all again in six weeks for Redivider 20.0.
_Christopher S. Wilson_