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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Persona expands on campus

    Today marks Persona’s, an undergraduate magazine of art and literature, first submission deadline. The problem, though, is that beyond the UA’s English Department, not many students are familiar with Persona. Persona’s website defines itself as “”an annual magazine of art and literature by University of Arizona undergraduates of all majors.”” But as Editor-in-Chief Alexandra Leever says, Persona goes beyond this narrow definition. “”We’re trying to expand the scope of what art is,”” Leever says.

    Founded in 1978, Persona has always been entirely run by undergraduate students and funded by UA departments. Because of this unique club structure, members of Persona work during the fall semesters to raise funds for publication. This year, Leever is focused on expanding the magazine’s reach. She’s a business management major herself, and wants her fellow students at Eller College to know just what it is she’s always talking about. This year, Leever is spearheading a new branding initiative for the literary magazine, including the creation of a new logo and a revamping of their website, which will go up in January 2011.

    Persona prides itself on its diversity, both in club members and in published content. “”People think print journal is limited to photo and painting, and we try to stay away from that notion,”” says Leever. “”We try to include pictures of 3D sculptures, sometimes a CD of film submissions. Something we also want to do with the website is to put up an e-journal for allow(ing) videos of dance performances and theater.””

    Though Persona usually chooses about 20 pieces to publish in their annual magazine, they see an astounding number of submissions. Last year, it was near 300. Though this is an impressive body of student work, Leever says she’d like to see more variation in submissions — the club receives a huge influx of poetry. But Leever understands students’ trepidation to submit; having work read and judged by peers is disarming. “”The important thing that students should understand is that it’s completely anonymous, if they’re scared for whatever reason or have a fear of being judged,”” Leever says. “”If a staff member recognizes a piece from a workshop, they will be asked to step out of the reading process.””

    Dec. 1 is the club’s priority submission deadline, with a second opportunity to submit in February. However, if students submit their work by this Wednesday at 5 p.m., they have an opportunity to be workshopped — the Persona reading committee returns work they believe has potential to authors for revision and resubmission.

    So, is there a preference of one type of work over another? “”We definitely like experimental pieces; in the past we’ve printed poetry with different forms as far as shape,”” Leever says. Frank Cernik, this year’s managing editor, adds, “”We’re generally on the avant-garde side of things, but that’s not to say we’d reject the traditional. You (can’t) have revolutionary writing without having something to revolt against.””

    The focus of Leever’s run as Persona’s editor-in-chief is expansion, and she encourages students from all majors not only to submit creative works of art to the magazine, but also to join the club. Persona will have its recruitment in the spring of 2011, for those who are more shy about having work published. Staff members are not allowed to submit work for consideration, which, as Leever says, “”preserves the integrity of the club. That’s really important to us.””

    The club is a community unto itself. Leever says right now members are still in the process of getting to know each other. Persona is made up entirely of undergraduate students, all from different years and different majors. “”We’re drawn together by our love of books,”” Leever says. “”We just really appreciate good, solid writing.””

    For more information, visit Persona on Facebook.

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