For the past 40 years, Highline has published a literary magazine, Arcturus, with art from Highline students, staff, faculty, and alumni. But this year is different. With COVID-19, the editors face new challenges.
“Producing a physical object without ever touching the different options for cover stock or paper texture presents certain challenges,” Arcturus faculty adviser Susan Rich said. “Normally, the editors would visit with Dave Weber at the print shop. We’d also sit down with sales representatives on campus. Not this year.”
Arcturus is still planned to be released as a physical book, Arcturus webpage editor Cori Arndt said.
“Until that happens though, there are videos and written copies of pieces online at the Arcturus website that people can read or listen to.”
The theme of Staying Human / Grasping Humanity was determined based on this year’s submissions.
The cover art was created by artist Dahli Strayer. The piece, of a girl standing in a doorway, is entitled Todo Es Posible, which means “Everything is Possible.”
“We do hope many people still choose to come and enjoy what we have to offer, especially because we are one of the only, if not the only thing being published this quarter from the print shop,” PR editor Ashlee Stone said.
Submissions closed in February, just before the coronavirus hit Washington.
“We reviewed just over 300 total submissions by staff and students,” fiction editor Jerry Vorhies said.
Before submissions closed, Susan Rich mentioned wanting more comics submissions in an article posted earlier this year.
Editor Vorhies anonymously submitted one of his comic strips and was chosen by the editors for the final publication. He was the only person to submit comics.
“Between the poems, stories and art we chose 55 pieces. Seven of those are short stories, 32 are poems, and 16 of them are art and photography,” Vorhies said.
The editing process has changed since it isn’t in person, art and poetry editor Jiro Jones said.
“Probably not as much as it would if it weren’t, but enough to note,” he said. “We meet online, do all our communicating online, and every change to the text we make is shown to each other through email. We rely a lot on out-of-class responses to show up in our digital inboxes.”
“Publicity is also more of a challenge as we can’t talk face to face with students outside the bookstore or in face-to-face classes,” Rich added. “Instead, we have found new avenues for reaching Highline students.”
The launch will be through Zoom instead of in person, like past years.
“We are having people from all over campus get together in a zoom launch to enjoy poetry, prose, and works of art from those who submitted to Arcturus and would like to present,” Stone said.
The editors are preparing a powerpoint to display the art pieces, and will have the writers in attendance read out their pieces, which is much like what they would do in person, Jones said.
The editors also hope to hear from the artists about the behind-the-scenes on their work as well.
Normally, the launch would involve free food and in-person socializing, which just isn’t possible right now, Stone said.
“We have invited a few surprise guests that will make the event extra fun,” Rich said.
The launch will be a good experience for people who miss being on campus, Arndt said. “You’ll get to see other students and even some professors. You don’t need to show your face or anything, but it might be nice to wind down with some poetry and art. It’s a nice way to end the day.”
“Because this is a Zoom event, we are able to invite former Arcturus Editors from previous years who have already graduated,” Rich said. “We expect at least two former editors to be in attendance and we’re waiting to hear back from several more.”
The launch will be from 3-4 p.m., on Thursday, June 4.
The Zoom link is https://highline.zoom.us/j/91975713444
“At this point in time, this has definitely been a great endeavor, and we would love for everyone to see what we brought to life,” Stone said.
For more information on Arcturus, and to view some of the submissions, please visit http://arcturusliterarymag.highline.edu.