‘Harpur Palate’ celebrates 10th anniversary
October 26, 2010Tweet
Barrett Bowlin looked around a Library North room of working students when asked for the key to Harpur Palate lasting 10 years.
“It’s a matter of dedication among the graduate students who are committed to working for the journal as well as the undergrads who put in a lot of work as our interns,” said Bowlin, who serves as internship coordinator for the University’s international literary journal.
Those students are celebrating Harpur Palate’s decade on campus with the release of the 10th anniversary issue. The journal, established in 2000 as a semiannual publication for “established and emerging writers,” is produced by graduate students in English and publishes fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry.
“I was recently looking at Issue No. 1 and thought, ‘We’ve come a long way,’” said Matthew Burns, co-editor-in-chief. “Every issue seems to get better. We’re constantly growing and getting better (submissions).”
Harpur Palate has attracted the works of award-winning writers such as Sherman Alexie. The latest issue (10.1) includes fiction by Jen Bergmark, winner of the John Gardner Memorial Prize in Fiction, and an interview with cartoonist Bill Plympton, who discusses his new film Idiots and Angels.
“They are freely submitting to the journal,” Bowlin said. “We’re not calling them up and begging them for submissions. … We’re finally one of the cool kids.”
The journal also receives works from writers in countries ranging from Canada and Ireland to China and Thailand, Burns and Bowlin said.
Finding a balance between Harpur Palate and personal and school work is often a challenge for a staff that consists of two editors-in-chief, an associate editor, two fiction editors, a poetry editor and three interns, Burns said.
“We are all volunteers,” said Burns, who like Bowlin is a doctoral student in English. “Nobody gets paid. We’re all taking classes and writing dissertations. It’s about figuring how to budget time for everybody.”
Harpur Palate’s success has brought attention to Binghamton University and its creative writing program. For example, Burns recalled meeting a writer at a conference in Denver last year who had been published in the journal. The writer told Burns he was considering attending Binghamton University.
“(Harpur Palate) is an outlet that might not be obvious to a lot of people on campus, but I think it needs to be here,” Burns said. “People have recognized that over the past 10 years, we’ve never taken a hiatus. It’s been 10 years of constant publishing.”
The anniversary celebration will continue in April with a release party for the summer 2010 and winter 2011 issues in which authors are invited to read and discuss their works. RiverRead Books in Binghamton has hosted the event for the past three years. Burns is hoping to link the celebration to the University’s creative writing workshop, Writing By Degrees.
“We’re trying to make it an April literary-fest party,” he said.
Those interested in obtaining a copy of Harpur Palate can go to the journal’s new website, http://harpurpalate.binghamton.edu. It contains excerpts, information for ordering current or back issues and audio of contributing writers reading their works. A one-year subscription is $16; a two-year subscription is $30.