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Prologue honors students’ creativity

May 9, 2008

Campus media — when students hear this term, many of them may think of such news organizations as WRFW and the Student Voice. But there is one campus medium that has a more creative bent: Prologue.

Prologue, UW-River Falls’ literary magazine, is published once yearly every spring. It showcases creative works submitted by UWRF students, including poetry, short stories, essays, non-fiction, two- and three-dimensional art and even a graphic story.

Students submit their work to the eight-person staff for review. Prologue staff members rate each work on a scale of one to five, five being the best. The average of scores is taken and used to determine which pieces get published.

“We don’t have a magic number of pieces we put in; that all depends on the lengths of the pieces,” senior Prologue editor Alli Malkmus said.

Though there is no technical standard the works have to meet, the staff is looking for quality.
“Originality is the biggest thing,” Malkmus said.

There are other requirements as well.

“It has to grab your attention almost immediately,” co-editor Brad Brookins said.

Brookins also said that works must be grammatically correct, address issues and not be cliché.
Because of the stress put on grammar and literary merit, staff members are chosen out of the English department or other major fields that require strong English language skills, Brookins said.

Student exhibitors, however, can be from any department on campus.

“[Prologue] gives all students an opportunity to creatively express themselves,” Malkmus said.
Jenny Brantley, Prologue’s academic adviser, said that the magazine also acts as a historical record.

“It serves the University by providing a history and future record of the accomplishments of our students,” Brantley said in an e-mail interview. “It has become a community constant — changing with the times yet still providing a link to the past.”

The publication is an opportunity for creative writers on campus to get their work into the public sector without having the difficulties associated with higher-end publications.

“It’s a way for somebody who’s serious about writing and is good at writing to get published,” Brookins said. “Your work has a much higher chance of getting published with us.”

Brookins will take over the senior editor position next year.

“Typically there are two editors for Prologue,” Malkmus said. “The senior passes on the ropes to the junior to keep the Prologue traditions going.”

While most of the traditions will remain the same, Brookins said that he plans to start accepting submissions much earlier next year, beginning as early as December and possibly earlier, as opposed to waiting until spring semester.

“We’d like to get a head start on it,” he said.

Malkmus has also made suggestions, including using color on the cover and developing a multi-member art staff. Traditionally there has only been one art editor to select and edit non-text submissions.

Brantley also said she hopes to see some new developments, including color art, longer issues, and contributors from every department.

“I know that every department on campus has a writer,” she said, “and they need to go public in Prologue.”

This year’s publication has met with high readership.

“In half a week we have handed out more Prologues than we did for a week last year,” Malkmus said.

She also said that “the quality of the work this year was a lot better than last year.”

“This issue is the strongest of the last couple of years,” Brantley said. “Prologue has its ups and downs, but I give it the highest marks.”