Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Slash Pine Press to make chapbook of local poetry

Slash Pine Press, a creative internship program at The University of Alabama, will be creating a chapbook featuring poems written for Poetry Out Loud, a national high school poetry competition that takes place April 30. The chapbook will feature poetry from local high school students.

“It’s wonderful to see different ages, different types of people all writing poetry, and then we get the honor of printing it,” Katherine Kosich, a senior majoring in English, said.

Student interns working for Slash Pine Press have the opportunity to produce, edit and publish multiple chapbooks each semester while earning course credit. The program was started in 2008 by English professors Patti White and Joseph Wood as a way to showcase a broad range of poetry.

(See also “Program teaches creative writing in local schools“)

In addition to Poetry Out Loud, each semester Slash Pine holds a nationwide call for writing. Co-editors White and Brian Oliu narrow down the submissions to three selections. The student interns make the final selection and then work to choose fonts and art, print, punch holes in the manuscripts and sew them all by hand. Each semester they publish one or two chapbooks with about 125 copies of each.

“It’s all very experimental writing,” Oliu said.

Intern Mathew Pereda, a senior majoring in Engli,sh said working for Slash Pine has given him a broader perspective of career paths for English majors.

“Being able to put skills like InDesign and Photoshop on my resume is invaluable in this day and age of mass media and technology,” Pereda said. “I don’t think I would have been able to learn and apply those skills without having become a part of Slash Pine.”

Pereda said the hard work and attention to detail is rewarding when he sees the finished product.

“I’ve learned, to quote Brian Oliu, that pickiness is how we get things done in Slash Pine, so I’m not as anxious about expressing my ideas and concerns as I used to be,” Pereda said. “I had to decide which fonts looked best together, making sure they fit the ‘feel’ of the poetry itself. Everyone liked one of my ideas, and we used it for publication. I have a copy on my shelf right now, and I have to say, it’s really gratifying to know I helped produce it.”

(See also “‘Uncanny Valley’ event to combine written poetry, music“)

Kosich said the manual labor of sewing together every piece is not the hardest part.

“It’s between reading and choosing,” Kosich said. “The first stage of the entire internship, at the beginning of the semester, it’s a bunch of reading and some debating once you get in the class. Sometimes it’s difficult to see why people chose a manuscript as their favorite, but ultimately, everyone’s pretty happy with the final product.”

The fun part, Kosich said, is paying attention to the details in the production process, even if other people might find it boring.

“You know that you’re really into the Slash Pine lifestyle because you’re sitting there on the third floor of Morgan [Hall], staring at a projection screen and looking at several types of font, and you’re like, ‘No, I don’t like that G,’ or ‘The italics look really weird,’” Kosich said.

In addition to the chapbooks, which will be published by the end of the semester, Slash Pine will host a writing festival the second weekend in April, where writers from all over the country, including some published in the chapbooks, will come to read their poetry. They also host readings in town for undergraduates, MFA students and faculty.

(See also “Finding a niche with every stitch“)

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