by Christine Kalafus
Last spring I received an unexpected email from the outgoing Editor-in-Chief of The Pitkin Review. It read:
“I wanted to ask if you’d be interested in filling the position of Editor-in-Chief next semester.”
I nearly choked on my tea. Then I had two thoughts:
There must be someone more qualified.
If I said yes, I would have something else in common with Anna Wintour besides big sunglasses.
I came to the Goddard MFAW program as many do—from a career in something other than literature. In my case it was the consuming world of interior design seamstressing. Therefore, my first semester at Goddard was intimidating. As I surveyed the residency landscape of its prolifically published faculty, graduates, and fellow students, I was overwhelmed. “These people are scholars,” I thought, “And I have spent the last fifteen years applying dressmaking techniques to bed skirts.”
Talking to myself is one of my habits.
Another habit of mine is saying yes, which is how I found myself as the fall 2015 Editor-in-Chief of The Pitkin Review. In doing the job I have made several discoveries. First, I discovered that the role is largely what I have come to think of as Keeper of the Legacy. Goddard alumnus Anthony Connolly (MFAW 02) the founder of The Pitkin Review recently reached out to me. He started what was then called pitkin in progress in 2000 “…to answer that residency question every student heard: What are you working on? Since we only saw each other twice a year, the journal was to provide the residency with a tangible and quick way to celebrate what people had been working on—poetry, prose, plays, and everything in between.”
Since then the magazine has maintained its focus of celebrating student work and has evolved into a teaching publication– one that enthusiastically encourages students to submit their prose, poetry, and art while maintaining a protocol of anonymity.
Besides upholding these ideals I also decided to say yes as often as possible.
Early this fall I had the opportunity to do just that with the expansion of The Pitkin Review’s distribution. We had the fantastic luck to have Ariel Basom as this semester’s Distribution Manager. The position of distribution has traditionally required modest involvement. However, Ariel—who works for Small Changes, his family-run business on the west coast, came to us with a big plan: get The Pitkin Review into west coast bookstores. Due to the extensive efforts of Pitkin Associate Editor (WA) Will Sweger and Ariel, I was able to sign a contract with Small Changes which began distributing The Pitkin Review to select bookstores and co-ops in Seattle and San Francisco.
The Pitkin Review is extremely fortunate to have this opportunity. This means that the magazine will enjoy exposure past our two campuses in Vermont and Washington and therefore our writers enjoy this exposure as well. We began distribution with the spring 2015 issue.
Besides the Goddard Plainfield and Port Townsend campuses, look for The Pitkin Review in Seattle at:
Elliott Bay Books
First & Pike News
Left Bank Books
Queen Anne Avenue Book Company
Ravenna Third Place Books
In Lake Forest Park at Third Place Books and at Green Apple Books & Music San Francisco. The spring 2015 issue is in stores now, and, as is customary, the fall issue will be available for purchase just in time for the spring residencies in Plainfield and in Port Townsend and immediately thereafter at the bookstores listed above.
I made another discovery as our editors and I complete the final edits, prepping the fall issue for publication: the genius of being Editor in Chief for just one semester is both limiting and expansive. Whatever changes are made must be maintained by the next in command—the Keeper of the Legacy.
I encourage all MFAW students to not only submit to The Pitkin Review but become involved in its production, become part of its legacy. Think of your innate talents and contribute as a staff member. Say yes to all opportunities to expand your education beyond your thesis and critical writing. I thank all of our current staff for their earnest and thorough efforts from Genre Editors to Associate Editors.
You are all valued and your time appreciated as we say yes to expansion of our legacy, yes to a magazine founded on educational principles, and yes to a high-quality, collaborative publication to be proud of.
Christine Kalafus is an essayist, storyteller and serial home remodeler. Previously a seamstress for the Interior Design industry, her work has been in Vogue, House Beautiful, Edith Wharton’s home The Mount, a designated national historic site, and has been quoted in several newspapers including The New York Times. She writes the humor blog Your Monday Moment and is an MFA candidate at Goddard College. Christine is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the student-run literary magazine The Pitkin Review and is an editor for the independent literary and arts journal PAGE.
She is a Boston regular, appearing onstage at storytelling competitions with The Moth and in August 2015 was featured on their podcast for her story “I Hear You Make Cakes.”
In 2014, Christine founded Writing with Support, a series of writing workshops for those surviving cancer. She lives in Connecticut where she teaches creative writing, is working on a memoir, and when the mood strikes she moves all the furniture around.