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Journal Publishing Course Taught by Published Poet Dr. Jennifer Moore

Students and aspiring writers at Ohio Northern University are being offered an opportunity to learn about the vast world of contemporary publishing. Assistant Professor of English Jennifer Moore is a published poet who recently published a collection of poems titled “The Veronica Maneuver,” selected as the editor’s choice for the 2014 Akron Series in Poetry. She is teaching this course, Journal Publishing Practicum, designed for her to give aspiring writers some insight into the publishing process.

According to Department of English Chair Lisa Robeson and Moore, the need for the class arose from a large number of graduates in the English program expressing a desire for greater publishing experience and understanding on their exit surveys, as well as a large number of graduates going to study publishing in graduate school.  Moore’s goal for the course is “to respond to an explicit student need for knowledge and skills in the areas of creative and literary publication,” as there was a concern they had not been addressing this need well enough previously.

This new focus on publishing comes as an excitement to many current English majors, as they know very well the importance of the publishing industry in their chosen field. Senior creative writing major Nick Pesetsky aspires to be an author, but notes that “the world of publishing is very vast and scary to new and emerging writer.”

Pesetsky, along with many other aspiring writers and English majors, hopes that this course will give them [ONU students] an advantage as they enter the working world. Moore has designed the course to give students every opportunity possible, covering many different aspects of the publishing industry throughout the semester. First and foremost, Moore would like “to familiarize students with the fundamental standards and expectations of contemporary literary publication,” something she is no stranger to in her own career.

Moore’s personal experience with publishing is another factor that has drawn students to the class: Senior creative writing major Kasy Long mentions Moore’s success with publishing is very inspirational, and says that “just being able to learn from [Moore] and see her process for submitting journals is very helpful.”

Despite Moore’s own experience in the field, she has also been able to acquire two special guests for the semester. Poet and editor Mary Biddinger will feature in person, and Karen Craigo, an editor and writer, will be available through Skype for interview and questions from the students. Moore is very excited about these visits, and believes that “these kinds of practices really flavor the course and broaden the conversation beyond the classroom.”

These visiting writers are not the only real-world look the students will get into the publishing world; another element of the class, and seemingly one of the most anticipated elements of the class, will be the opportunity for students to submit their work to real literary journals, and to keep track of both publications and rejections as the semester goes on. Many students, including Long and junior creative writing and literature major Kelley Lewis, already have experience working with Ohio Northern’s own literary journal “Polaris,” but they are nonetheless excited for the opportunities this course brings.

Lewis looks forward to submitting her work to multiple literary journals through this class, believing it “will help me get myself out there.” Long has similar feelings about the class, and despite her experience working for “Polaris,” she comments, “I appreciate this specific course because I’m learning the ins-and-outs of publication in a way I can focus on my own work.” The hands-on method to the process seems popular already among students involved in this class’s first semester.

As for the course’s future, Moore hopes “to be able to maintain interest and enrollment numbers, as well as possibly develop it into a three-credit course.” Although the class has a specific draw to many English majors, who aspire to be writers or work in publishing, Moore would like students to know that the class is “open to all majors at ONU, regardless of interest, skill or major.”

The course is currently being offered as a Practicum, worth one credit hour per semester.

 

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