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College of Arts and Sciences

  • Two MFA students pose with their recording equipment.

MFA Students Spotlight

Arts & Sciences Creative Writing Students Dedicate Time to Yemassee, a National Literary Journal

For more than twenty years, MFA students in creative writing have dedicated their time to editing and publishing Yemassee, a national literary journal that features contemporary poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Yemassee staff members organize contests with high-profile judges, host readings in the Columbia area, attend national writing conferences, and create two issues of the journal per year. Student-run literary journals such as Yemassee connect universities to the larger world and provide the students involved with valuable professional experience. What is more, Yemassee gives A&S graduate students the opportunity to network with other writers and professionals in the field.

According to Arts & Sciences creative writing professor, Elise Blackwell, the staff has “taken the journal to the truly national level, while developing a national circulation for the magazine.” The current editorial staff is comprised of three chief editors and four section editors, all of whom commit many hours per week to soliciting and reading submissions, designing the journal, managing the website, and facilitating the journal’s distribution. If this wasn’t enough, staff members also produce an entertaining online Podcast via iTunes where they discuss art, writing, and culture.

Many on the Yemassee staff also teach freshman composition and/or creative writing courses in the English Department. These teaching appointments allow graduate students to share what they’ve learned about the writing and publishing world with USC’s undergraduate community. By bringing their real-world experience into the undergraduate English classroom, Yemassee’s staff members demonstrate the relevancy of the humanities in the professional world.

In addition to teaching English courses, taking classes, and overseeing the production of the magazine, the staff still finds time to focus on their own writing projects. Their work has appeared in reputable national and international publications such as The Rumpus, DIAGRAM, Tupelo Quarterly, and NANO Fiction. These Arts & Sciences students are obviously dedicated to their craft, and their experience as both writers and editors holds much value for the students they teach!

You can read work by featured writers, access the staff blog and Podcast, submit writing, and order back issues of the magazine by visiting the Yemassee website.

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