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The Bartleby team reviews and selects creative art pieces to be published in its annual journal. Photo courtesy of Tanya Olsen.

Creative arts journal, Bartleby, changes submission review process

With the beginning of December marks the deadline for submissions to Bartleby, UMBC’s student-run creative arts journal. Every year, in April, Bartleby is published with over 50 pieces of student art. These pieces are divided into four subcategories of poetry, nonfiction, fiction and visual art.

This year, Bartleby’s review process has undergone a massive change. Previously, every submission was reviewed digitally via email submission, a process that usually lasted about three weeks. This year, the pieces will be reviewed by a group in a reviewing session. Each subsection will have a specific group of Bartleby staff that will be tasked with reviewing each submission in a group discussion.

Morgan Zepp, Senior Editor of Bartleby, and English and global studies double major, has led the change from completely digital reviews to group discussion reviews. With the new review process, it is expected to end earlier. Zepp said, “The sessions will be held in person before finals, making it faster.” Originally, the digital reviews took until about New Year’s Eve to complete, but with the group review sessions, the staff hopes that the review process timing will be more efficient.

The review sessions are divided by sections and are estimated to last two hours each. There is an exception for poetry, which will likely have two sessions due to the large amount of submissions that are received in that category. The way the review process will work revolves mostly around discussion. Zepp said, “In the sessions, the people who are [advocates] for the piece will talk and then the people who are on the other side will also have a chance to speak.”

With the change of review style, the submission date flexibility has also changed. In the past, the deadline for submissions could easily be extended by a week. With the time for review discussions set in stone, the deadline cannot be moved. The deadline for submissions was December 1.

Along with the changes in review process, Bartleby has made some changes in order to be more involved with the campus community. This semester, they held two workshops where students read their creative work aloud and engaged in a group discussion, getting feedback from not only Bartleby staff but also tutors from the Writing Center. They plan to hold more workshops in the spring to continue assisting creative writers on campus.

The guidelines for submissions can be found on their website. For submissions, there are four categories that writers can choose from: poetry, which usually has about fifteen to twenty pieces get published, visual art, which also has about fifteen to twenty pieces published, nonfiction, which has ten pieces published and fiction, which also has ten pieces published.

Bartleby will be published in April and, along with a reading event held in the Albin O. Kuhn Library, the journal will be freely available to all students on campus.