Arts & Culture / Mosaic / March 6, 2018

Knox publications span across a century

Catch has received 10 national awards, including six Pacemaker awards as recently as 2014. (Photo courtesy of Knox College Archives)

Catch — 1920s


Catch, which until 1969 was called The Siwasher, has what senior and current Co-Editor in Chief Ari Jindracek considers a “muddled history.” This is in part due to the fact that the publication has been running for over 100 years, making it the longest continually running student-run literary magazine in the country.

According to Philip Sidney Post Professor of English Robin Metz, this statistic requires further explanation. While publications at other schools began before The Siwasher started in the 1920s, many halted publication during eras of war.

“The way that it was longest depends on the words ‘continuously published,’” Metz said. “A lot of east coast magazines, like at Harvard and Princeton, they stopped publication during World War II. But The Siwasher continued publishing.”

Metz noted two stories behind the name change to Catch. However, neither can be proven to be true. He feels it’s likely that the name referenced the popular anti-war novel “Catch-22,” which was especially potent for students who protested the Vietnam War during that time. Another possible explanation, he noted, is that upon delivering a box of the publication, still called The Siwasher, a truck driver yelled “Catch!” as he threw a box to one of the editors at the time. Metz, however, is not certain of the real story.

Jindracek, as someone who is currently running such a highly esteemed publication, is trying to steer away from the misconception of Catch being ‘pretentious’ and only accepting of a specific style of writing. In their time as Co-Editor in Chief, they have been trying to encourage students to submit different styles and genres. They noticed that, recently, Catch has been publishing more fiction and drama with more experimental prose, but are still hoping to widen the publication’s range across campus.

“We’re trying to get a little more from somebody on every side of the cafeteria,” they said.



Volume 1, Issue 1 of Quiver was published Spring Term of 2013. (Photo courtesy of Knox College Archives)

Quiver — 2006


Before Quiver appeared as a single printed publication, it manifested as three separate online publications created in 2006, according to Philip Sidney Post Professor of English Robin Metz.

The online publication first included a Sci-Fi magazine titled The Third Level and a children’s and young adult section titled Wynken, Blynken and Nod. In 2007, a comedy section titled Diminished Capacity—named after a novel written by Visiting Instructor in English and Theatre and Writer-in-Residence Sherwood Kiraly—was added. In the spring of 2013, the three online sub-magazines consolidated into one print magazine, which Metz named Quiver. Metz wanted the name to represent an umbrella publication that could include different sub-magazines and still have room for more to be added in the future.

“The name Quiver … is a quiver in the sense of a vessel that holds arrows,” he said. “We thought, if we have a magazine named Quiver, we can have comedy writing, we can have children’s writing, we can have speculative or fantasy writing.”

Junior and current Co-Editor in Chief Josh Althoff feels that, though the works of genre fiction are largely consumed in popular culture, there exists a stigma against genre works in college writing programs.

“I feel like there’s sort of a viewing of genre pieces as somehow more childish or more young adult,” Althoff said. “Kids go outside and imagine that they’re fighting dragons and that’s what kids do. But I think it’s important to realize that it’s what adults do too.”

Althoff characterizes Quiver as “the person who the librarian invited to book club” and feels that the presence of genre fiction is becoming more and more acceptable. He hopes that, with publications such as Quiver, the prevalence of the genre will continue to increase.




The first issue of Cellar Door was published in newsprint during Spring Term of 2006. (Photo courtesy of Knox College Archives)



Cellar Door — 2006


Knox graduate and award-winning author BJ Hollars ’06 founded Cellar Door in 2006 with the intention of giving new writers a safe space to develop their craft. Since then, Cellar Door has continued to uphold its slogan: “Love your work.”

“There’s nothing trickier than acknowledging that you love your own work,” Hollars said. “But to my mind, it’s okay to feel proud of your work every now and again. By loving your work, I suppose I wanted writers to take their work seriously. And in every instance during my tenure, they did.”

For Hollars, the idea of “loving your work” meant fostering an inclusive atmosphere. Associate Professor of English Chad Simpson appreciates how Cellar Door emphasizes the writing process through workshops.

“I think what Cellar Door was trying to do was to encourage people to really embrace the process and love their work and to love that process,” Simpson said. “It’s like, if you submit and you come to our workshops, you get to be in the magazine because what you’re saying is you love your work and you are participating in this community-building exercise.”

Cellar Door began as a loose coalition with a shoestring budget. Hollars said he was pleasantly surprised by the support the magazine received early on.

“What I remember most is wandering around campus during our first night of workshops, mesmerized by how so many students who barely knew each other were working together to improve their craft,” Hollars said.

While Cellar Door is no longer published on newsprint, Simpson believes it has maintained its slightly unpolished aesthetic.

“I still think of it as being a little rawer or a little low-fi but in a good way,” he said. “I like hearing some of the stuff you’re not supposed to hear on the track and I think there might be something to the aesthetic of Cellar Door that I appreciate in the same way.”




The X team put up posters with “X” on them as hints toward their soon to come publication. (Courtesy of Nola Thompson)


X — 2018


An ominous X sculpture was found on the Seymour Union lawn sometime at the end of Fall Term. Students on a Facebook group questioned the significance of the X on Nov. 27, but no one came forward with answers. However, an upcoming art publication on campus has now taken responsibility for the sculpture.

Last year, a group of Knox Students were approached by Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Tim Stedman to restart the defunct art publication Folio. However, post baccalaureate Sidath Wanigasinghe ’17, senior Nola Thompson, junior Evan Economos and sophomore Patrick Steppan quickly learned there was not much of Folio to restart. Instead, they decided to scrap the project and start with a new publication they titled X.

“Folio hadn’t published for maybe two years by the time we were approached. We aren’t at all connected with the original team. We’re starting from square one,” Editor-in-Chief Thompson said.

The X team spent most of last spring deciding what kind of time commitments would be involved in creating X and what everyone’s role was going to be in the publication.

“Really everyone on the team has a design component to them, but also this dual knowledge. [Thompson] is great at management, I have sort of technical skills in web development,” Designer and Web Developer Steppan said.

Thompson added that Wanigasinghe’s business skills and Economos’ team building skills were valuable to X as well.

The team hoped to be able to open art submissions for X during this week. To create hype for their submission drive, the publication came up with a series of teasers to introduce their publication. The X sculpture that appeared on campus during Fall Term’s reading days was part of the series of teasers. The next was on Martin Luther King Day where the screens in Seymour flashed a video of a glitchy letter X.

“Our extending time before we started publishing has only helped us prepare more. That’s sort of key to where we’re taking the project because now we have everything ready to go,” Steppan said.

Sam Jacobson, Co-Mosaic Editor
Sam Jacobson is a junior majoring in philosophy and potentially minoring in creative writing or psychology. She started volunteer writing during spring term of her freshman year, and worked as a staff writer during her sophomore year.
Zarah Khan, Co-Mosaic Editor
Zarah Khan is a junior majoring in English literature and minoring in political science. She started volunteer writing during Fall term of her sophomore year.
Phoebe Billups, Staff Writer

Tags:  Catch cellar door folio literary magazine Quiver X

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