The Barney Street 2014 release party will take place on Thursday April 24 in the Carlsten Art Gallery of the Noel Fine Arts building, honoring many talented University of Wisconsin Stevens Point writers.
“Beasts of the Imagination” is the 36th edition of Barney Street, UWSP’s annual anthology that is published in conjunction with University Writers. Students were allowed to submit prose, poems, and artwork back in December to get considered for publishing.
“University Writers oversees the entire publication process from promoting the call for submissions, hosting a fundraiser to help fund the publication, edit and select the pieces, and put the cover and interior layout together,” Erika Kolacki, a senior majoring in English with teacher certification and the President of University Writers, said.
University Writers receives all of the submissions in the fall semester on the last regular day of classes. In January, the members of University Writers take the time to read all of the submissions and judge them based on their originality and quality of work. In February, they have a big meeting where they make the final list of accepted pieces for the publication.
“In the first semester, we also have writing workshops, where students can bring their work to a meeting and get it critiqued by their peers,” Christopher Gideon, a sophomore majoring in communication with an emphasis in media studies and the treasurer of University Writers, said.
The group also went to local businesses in downtown Stevens Point in order to ask for advertisements.
“We have space in the back of our book dedicated to collecting advertisements from businesses that are willing to buy from us,” Kolacki said. “The money always goes towards funding our release party at the end of April.”
University Writers just finalized the layout and cover of the book and are ready to send it over to UWSP’s Printing and Design in order to get the book printed and picked up.
“The most stressful thing every year is making sure the book itself is properly formatted and printed by the release date,” Gideon said.
“As the president, my top priority is to make sure that we complete everything that we need to in a timely manner,” Kolacki said. “I organize all of the meetings, which are held almost every Monday.”
Kolacki also led the effort to conduct classroom visits and talk to classrooms of students about submitting their work as well as the possibility of publication.
“I had to organize all the submissions that came in and create a workable document and Excel spreadsheet for the judging of the submissions,” Kolacki said. “I set up the big meeting, worked on getting advertisements, and collaborated to create the cover and layout for the book. Besides that, I also collaborated in order to get out the invitations to all of the authors, artists and their loved ones as well as figure out the specifics of the release party. I’m sure all of this sounds like a laundry list of responsibilities, but it’s all worth it to me.”
Kolacki enjoys having the opportunity to work with like-minded people that place a high importance on writing.
“Writing is beautiful, and writing is powerful. I want to be surrounded by people that agree with that, and I think I do within this organization,” Kolacki said. “I learned that I am not entirely alone and that there are other people out there that want to continue to support writing or be a member to a campus organization that promotes writing. I’ve often been an outcast, so it’s comforting to know that there are others that feel so strongly about the positives that writing has to offer.”
Gideon agrees and says that he got involved with University Writers because he’s always loved to write short stories.
“I create a new piece of fiction every day in my head, and sometimes it’s good enough for me to put on paper and give to my friends,” Gideon said. “University Writers gave me the chance to get constructive criticism from other writers and to even get my stories published.”
Kailan Schepper, a student majoring in English with a creative writing and geology minor and the designer of Barney Street, says that she decided to get involved with University Writers when she got published in Barney Street her freshman year.
“I thought it would be interesting to see how the book was pulled together and made,” Schepper said.
The Barney Street publication features any currently enrolled UWSP students.
“We encourage anyone that likes to be creative or share something that they want to say to submit to us,” Kolacki said. “Generally, we get most of our work from English majors but that only makes sense since we are focused on creative writing. As far as types of pieces, we publish black and white art, poems, and prose. The only things that we don’t accept are academic research or analysis papers.”
During the release party, they will have an open reading for all of the writers within the publication.
“They will have the option to come up and read their work aloud to us,” Kolacki said. “Likewise, all the writers and artists get to collect a copy or two of the book for themselves. After the reading, everyone can just talk with their friends and family that came to support them and look at the art work.”
Kolacki says that she is most looking forward to seeing the reactions that she will get from the writers and artists once they hold the books in their hands and see their name in print.
“I always think it is very exciting, so I hope all of them will get as much satisfaction out of this as I do,” Kolacki said.
Gideon agrees adding that he likes seeing how happy everyone is to get their copy of the book that they’re published in.
“It’s important to them, I know it meant a lot to me, and I’m glad that Barney Street and University Writers are here to make that happen for them,” Gideon said.