Taking the Torch: My New Role & Duende Updates

by M.A. Vizsolyi

It is with honor, excitement and a little trepidation that I take over the role as faculty advisor for Duende.  When I say “trepidation,” I speak only to the challenge of maintaining what is one of the best undergraduate, student-run journals available. It’s important to note, however, the huge support I received from the continuing editors this semester, particularly senior editor Amy Sterne and managing editor Catherine Chambers, as well as my colleague and former Duende advisor, Wendy Call, and program director, Janet Sylvester.  

Wendy Call helped begin the journal over a year ago, and, for those of us who’ve ever undertaken such a task will attest to, it was a tireless effort.  It was Wendy’s work ethic, meticulous attention to detail and generosity that brought the journal the success it has garnered thus far.  Wendy, I know that I speak for all of the past and current editors when I say, thank you.  You will be missed by all of us. 

This is another reason that stepping into this position has been so hard—I have brilliant shoes to fill.  I’ve realized that I could never do that, of course.  I need to act as advisor in my own way, while maintaining the organization of the journal. 

One of the first steps I took this semester was to reaffirm my role as advisor, not editor.  It is the students who edit this wonderful journal, and readers should be aware of the kind of work that they do each semester.  With a record-level of submissions and page-views last semester, that work can be a lot, all of which is unpaid.  So, thank you Quinten, Catherine, Amy, Tyler, Cara, Jay and Sérgio.  Your work is important. 

I want to briefly highlight a major change that is taking place for Duende, beginning this semester.  We are changing our production schedule to one issue per year, with our next full issue (Issue #4) coming out early in the fall of next year.  In the spring, we will release a special feature-issue of the journal.  Our first feature issue will be released this spring.  The reason for this change is simple. All of our editors are full-time students, and many of our editors also hold down full-time jobs.  As an editor, it can be tricky to find the balance between editorial work, creative work and other life circumstances.  The hope is that this change will support a healthy balance between each of those.  Plus, that means our editors can spend more quality time with your submissions!  We are currently reading submissions for Issue #4, and we will begin reading submissions for our next feature issue this spring.  

Most of what you’ve come to expect from Duende will remain the same, however—edgy writing from authors in a global community, great art, and monthly spotlights featuring our diverse community of writers.  

Duende remains true, too, to its mission statement. We stay “committed to having a majority of the writers and artists in our journal come from groups that are underrepresented in today’s U.S. literary ecosystem.”  

All of this is to say, that there’s much to be excited about over here at Duende.  

Thank you to our authors, readers and the Goddard College community for your support.

Celebrating National Poetry Month

By Catherine Chambers

“If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger.”

– Muriel Rukeyser

As tempted as I was to write a blog post for April Fool’s Day, I decided against it in favor of another celebration starting today: National Poetry Month. Founded in April of 1996 by the Academy of American poets, National Poetry Month aims to:

  • highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets,
  • encourage the reading of poems,
  • assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms,
  • increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media,
  • encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and encourage support for poets and poetry. (poets.org)

I had the privilege, along with Kris Castiglia, of being a co-poetry editor for the latest issue of this amazing journal. We received an overwhelming amount of work from all over the world, from every walk of life, and I want to thank submitters who entrusted us with their creations. Make sure to take a look at the incredible work in both Duende Issue 1 and Issue 2. If you haven’t by now, it's alright by me if you jump ship on this blog post. Really, go. Enjoy the Duende!

To kick off the month of celebration, fellow Duendian Amy Sterne and I will be attending a poetry reading featuring Goddard BFA Program Director Janet Sylvester, along with Goddard BFA faculty members Wendy Call, Michael Vizsolyi, and Arisa White in Montpelier, Vermont tomorrow night. To get in the spirit you could also attend a reading in your hometown, or buy a book of poetry at your local independent bookstore, or (if you’re me) curl up with the 1989 film Dead Poet’s Society and cry into a pint of ice cream over the “o Captain, my Captain” scene. Poetry is for everyone and can be celebrated in just about any and every way.

In honor of National Poetry Month, I have assembled a list of the Duende Issue 3 staff’s favorite poems. Check them out! We'd love for you to share your favorite poems with us, too! Tweet us  @DuendeLiterary #SharetheDuende.

Catherine Chambers: “Twenty-One Love Poems (II)” by Adrienne Rich
Raphael Krasnow: “A Lower East Side Poem” by Miguel Pinero
Ah-Keisha McCants: “Nikki Rosa” by Nikki Giovanni
Jorn Otte: “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver
Cassie Selleck: “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou
Jay Sheets: “Caracol (Seashell)” by Rubén Darío
Amy Sterne: “Her Kind” by Anne Sexton
Tyler Woodsmall: “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg

Happy Reading!