Students, Pros Grace Pages of Eclipse

Jesse Gutierrez

Eclipse is putting GCC on the literary map with its nationwide success.

Eclipse is one of the few community college journals that publishes student work right alongside the professionals, said English Professor Bart Edelman, who is also editor-in-chief of the publication.

Eclipse started back in 1990, publishing only student work until the year 2000 when the journal went national and started to include the works of nationally known writers. “We wanted to do something unique, really put the college on literary map,” Edelman said.

Edelman never thought when he started the journal back in 1990 that it would be this big today, “Former President John Davitt and former Vice President Chris McCarthy helped us gain money, and we even got a grant from the Professional Development Center,” he said.

The support for Eclipse still has not wavered even when Davitt retired. “What’s really great is the incredible support that we are receiving from [interim president] Dawn Lindsay,” Edelman said.

Eclipse is not just a unique opportunity for students to be published alongside writers that they may be reading in their own textbooks, but it will give them a leg up on the competition when trying to get their works published in other places.

For student and Eclipse staff member Arin Keshishian, it’s “a fulfilling experience. It really inspires me to do my own writing,” he said.

“I took a creative writing course with Bart, and for one of the assignments we had to write a poem, and he really enjoyed mine and asked me if I would like to have it published.”

A poem about the essence of drumming and the feeling of being on stage, it appears in the current issue of Eclipse.

“We will look at anything that is sent,” said Edelman. “However, if you’re a student at the college you have a better chance to make it in.”

It’s not like they will accept just anything though. Edelman and his team are very selective, and like every journal, they only publish about one or two percent of what they receive.

“I read thousands of poems and short stories,” Edelman said. But he does not do this all alone. Other members of the faculty assist in the selection process.

He has a student assistant and he occasionally brings some of the poems into his creative writing class so that the students can take a look at them as well.

“We are looking for student work. We are always looking for more student work,” Edelman said.

As an added incentive for students, as if having their work published is not enough, they even offer cash prizes to those students who excel in poetry or fiction writing.

However, even Eclipse cannot escape the current budget crisis. “It makes me have to go outside for private donations or foundations,” said Edelman.

Eclipse currently prints 1,200 copies, down from a previous run of 1,800.

Even though the budget has affected the journal’s circulation, it has not affected its influence. It can still be found in a majority of bookstores, but if it not on the shelf, it can be special ordered and brought in within three days.

For something that started with such a humble beginning and has grown into such a huge success, it’s something that the entire school can look at with pride.

Students who want to submit their work to Eclipse may drop by LB216. Edelman says that students are always welcome to submit their work for consideration.