Matt Thrift

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — Winthrop University provides many opportunities for its students, including the chance to get published in the school’s literary magazine.

The Anthology, housed in Winthrop’s office of student publications, is published once per year and focuses on literature, photography, design, art and poetry.

The publication has been the university’s literary magazine for about 100 years, according to its website, and since the 1990s, The Anthology has also featured visual art.

Jason Tselentis, an associate professor of design at Winthrop, is the faculty adviser for the magazine, but says he takes a “hands off approach” in his role.

“In terms of editorial direction, it’s the students. It’s not me,” said Tselentis. “I’m there to answer questions the students have about the publication. I’m there to guide them into the final printing process and publication process. Largely though, it’s entirely driven by the students.”

Senior Téa Franco, editor-in-chief of the magazine for the 2019-2020 school year, said she chose to pursue her position, because of her interest in the written word.

“I personally have a vested interest in poetry and prose and literature. That’s what I plan on doing in the future,” Franco said. “I think The Anthology is a really interesting publication that we have on campus and there are a lot of ways that I saw that I would be able to use my skills as a mass communication major to get the word of The Anthology out a little bit more.”

Téa Franco, a senior mass communication major, is the editor-in-chief of The Anthology for the 2019-2020 school year (photo: Matt Thrift).

Franco previously served as the editor-in-chief of The Johnsonian, Winthrop’s weekly campus newspaper, which she said was a different experience.

“With The Anthology, it kind of comes with an expectation that everything in it isn’t going to be something that everyone will agree with. Poetry is political, art is political, stories are political, so we’re not getting that same pushback (from the administration). We don’t have to worry about being unbiased,” Franco said.

Ephraim Sommers, an assistant professor of English at Winthrop who focuses on creative writing, said having an on-campus magazine that focuses on literature and art “builds community among undergraduate students who are interested in” those disciplines.

“It’s not only the people who are being published that I think it works really well with, it’s also the people who are deciding what work gets published. They get to see what it’s like to run their own literary magazine, at kind of an early stage, in what might be a later career,” Sommers said.

Having an on-campus literary magazine allows students to submit their work, without having to compete against professional writers who may have been writing for a long time, which Sommers said “levels the playing field” for a group of people who are still learning to become writers.

“They’re are not going to be up against some prize winner,” he said. “I do think there is a competition. That’s an unfortunate part of writing, because I like to think I’m only in competition with myself as an artist and that anybody else who is an artist is somebody I can learn from, somebody who is a part of my community.

“Unfortunately, the mechanism is in place already; literary journals, they have to have some kind of standard. I think if you can look at it from the perspective of whether or not you get into a certain journal or into The Anthology itself, it’s not necessarily that your work is good or bad, it’s just the taste of the editors at that particular time, at that particular year,” said Sommers.

While The Anthology has been around for many years, Franco said the magazine has always lacked a presence on campus and social media.

“That’s something I’m trying to work on a little bit, so that way we get more submissions and it’s more competitive and more people are interested in reading what’s in it and looking at what’s in it. So that way the artists get their proper spotlight,” Franco said.

Sommers said while getting published is a good feeling and a necessary part of a writer’s career, he said he tells students the “worth and value” of their work “should not be defined by somebody else” or their standards.

“I think this opportunity is a really good start with getting your feet wet,” he said.