May 25, 2011

Knox community caught up by Catch

Catch has always been about variety, regularly featuring scientific papers and musical compositions alongside poetry and prose. In spite of this, volume 43, no. 2, released on May 20, has managed to find common threads.
To provide art for the cover of this issue, editors senior Marnie Shure and junior Hannah Benning photographed the locomotive featured outside the Galesburg Railroad Museum. It was an image that was to carry through the rest of the issue, providing a sense of place uncommon in previous editions.
“I think that this book is actually kind of a love letter to Galesburg,” Shure said. “We have several pieces about Galesburg. It wasn’t on purpose; it just happened naturally.”
Aside from Galesburg, few motifs connect the pieces in Catch. The common bond all pieces enjoy comes primarily from their quality, not their content. From junior Ben Lee’s essay “Fixations” to sophomore Josh Gunter’s starkly architectural photographs, Catch featured well-crafted pieces for every type of art enthusiast.
“I don’t think I can comfortably land on one favorite piece,” Shure said. “My dad asked me, because he didn’t want to read the whole thing, ‘What do you recommend?’ … I said like ten things right away.”
Compared to previous issues of Catch, the most recent edition features more variety in regards to genre. The traditional literary forms are joined by costume design, translations and a unique look at senior Willi Goehring’s adaptation of the German play “Woyzeck” to a modern Midwestern setting.
“That we have an aesthetic … is crazy to suggest,” Shure said. “The spread of what has been accepted is pretty vast and I’m always really proud of our ability to do that.”
Senior Krista Ahlberg, whose story “Knowing the Colors” was featured in this issue, also enjoyed the variety of pieces.
“[Catch] is always put together really well,” she said. “Specifically … I really liked [sophomore] Jules Ohman’s story a lot. She was in my workshop when she wrote that story, so it was cool seeing it in its different forms.”
Selecting what gets into Catch is not a quick or easy process, Shure said.
“The selection week is incredibly intense,” she explained. “We meet with every section editor for at least two hours, sometimes four.”
Editors’ meetings are designed as discussions, not judgment sessions. Each piece, no matter how unanimously loved or disliked, merits a conversation.
“That’s why, for most sections, we have more than one editor,” Benning said. “That way, we’re not just having one person make the decision.”
“The care that went into the collection is quite evident,” sophomore Anna Novikova said. “I would commend the Catch editorial staff and contributors for putting together a journal that is engaging, thought-provoking and a pleasure to read.”
For those students who received rejection letters in their mailboxes after the selection week was over, Benning encourages them to keep submitting.
“Everybody who’s gotten in has gotten rejected,” she said. “Sometimes they send in like 30 pieces, and they get accepted once. It’s hard to get rejected. It doesn’t feel good. But, I guess, try again because that’s what we’re here for.”
The difference between Catch and professional literary magazines, Shure said, does not lie in the quality of work. Rather, it is that the conversation does not stop with selection week. All section editors encourage students to see them to review their pieces.
“This campus is the most supportive place to submit your work,” Shure said.

Anna Meier

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