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The Poorhouse Rag is looking for writers

by Madison Sayre

Calling all writers and artists! There is a new literary magazine at WVU Parkersburg.

The Poorhouse Rag is a print literary magazine that is open to anyone in the WVU Parkersburg community who wishes to publish their writing or art. The magazine is a new and improved version of what used to be the school’s print literary magazine, Gambit.

Mostly consisting of the Fine Arts Committee, the editors are Danielle Kelly, Dr. Alicia Beeson, Dr. Lauri Reidmiller, Dr. Sandra Kolankiewicz and Joyce Stover. The editors plan to produce an issue every fall, each with a new theme.

This year’s theme is exploring writing and art related to poverty, mental illness, resilience, survival and overcoming adversity. Next year’s tentative theme is women’s suffrage due to next year being the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote.

The magazine is titled after the poorhouse farm which used to be on the grounds on which WVU Parkersburg now resides.

“There was a stigma attached to it,” Kelly said. “So if you were at a poorhouse, then you were considered to be at the bottom of the totem pole and you were pushed aside and looked down upon.”  

Kelly said that she thinks many students deal with the issues that are common themes surrounding the poorhouse, so it is a great way to relate to the students on campus.

Submitted writing must fall under the categories of prose, poetry or children’s literature; any medium of art is accepted.

As the editors go through the submissions, they will cut pieces that don’t belong within the theme of the year, as well as make grammar and mechanics corrections if necessary. The editors will also cut pieces if there are too many.

“Because this is campus-run, it really just depends on the amount of submissions we get. If there is an overflow of submissions, then you will see more cuts occur,” Kelly said. “With this being the first and inaugural issue, our goal is to include as many student writers as possible.”

According to Kelly, the plan is to have a print journal as well as an online journal that will be produced at different times. “For now, our concentration is on the print journal,” Kelly said.

Kelly said that a long-term goal for the magazine is for it to be completely student-run. She said that there is a class that deals with publishing that has not been offered in a while, so the students who take that class will produce The Poorhouse Rag. “From my understanding, it would probably be a couple years out before we are able to offer that class just because of the way our course schedule works in getting the classes we need offered,” Kelly said.

The ultimate goal for this magazine is to find a community of writers and artists within the school. “It’s to give students more of a voice, creatively, that is sometimes hard to express in your academic level classes,” Kelly said. “We all have a story to tell and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from.”

When this year’s issue of the magazine comes out in the fall, there will be a week-long celebration to prepare for the magazine. “We will have a big celebration of music and readings for those who were placed in the magazine and possibly even refreshments to make it a nice to-do for all of our students, faculty and staff who got involved,” Kelly said.

“We want to celebrate the writing and the art of everyone on campus, because we have submissions from students to alums, to faculty and staff that are putting pieces in for consideration,” she said. “It’s definitely going to be a collection that represents WVU Parkersburg’s community.”

The Poorhouse Rag is accepting submissions until May 1. Anyone who would like to submit their work can email it to thepoorhouserag@wvup.edu. Any further questions can be directed to the editors.

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