When most people on campus hear the word “Polaris,” they think of the shopping complex in Columbus, Ohio, or the off-road vehicle company. However, when asking Jennifer Moore, Assistant Professor of English at Ohio Northern University, she will immediately spark up a conversation about the publishing group on campus, Polaris, for which she is the advises.
Since its founding in 1958, Polaris has been a student-run literary magazine highlighting the work of undergraduate students at ONU and those around the world. Polaris combines unique stories ranging in genres from poetry, art, non-fiction, and fiction.
For those who aren’t familiar with the literary magazine, it is key to understand the creative process that goes into producing the end product that is Polaris. During the fall semester, the editorial staff sets out on a mass hunt, advertising to numerous universities across the nation to petition students to submit their work to Polaris for further review. Once a work is submitted, the team of editors and staff read the submissions and further decide if they like the work enough to include it in their genre sections.
In addition, they select their winning pieces, which either receive a $100 prize for first place or a $50 prize for second place.
Then the magic happens. Polaris is organized, edited, and turned into a small, yet powerful, collection of numerous submissions all of which are organized into a flowing experience for the reader. This is different from what has been done in the magazine in the past, which included separating the works into their respective genre departments.
Jennifer Moore adds, “Our editors-in-chief, Lucas Campbell and Kelsi Rupersburg, have organized the journal thematically, making connections across all genres in order to build a sense of shape and arc to the journal.”
This first-time process enhances Polaris by becoming a more cohesive, and ultimately, a better reading experience.
But this seems like a lot of work, right? But the students responsible for this magazine couldn’t be more thrilled to take part in the creative side of the magazine. When asking Will McCabe, a freshman creative writing major and fiction staff member for Polaris, he adds, “I really enjoyed reading the different stories from people who went to colleges and universities from around the nation and comparing and contrasting the different styles. This experience helped me see how much goes into editing and I felt how it isn’t easy picking one story over another. This was an experience I enjoyed and will hopefully be able to participate again in the future.”
While narrowing down the stories that will be showcased in Polaris isn’t easy, sophomore creative writing major and poetry staff member, Rachel Cruea, points out, “I find being on the publication side of the journal very humbling actually, because I know that whenever I send out my work to other journals, my chance for publication is in their hands. I have that same role at Polaris. Knowing how picky we can be with selecting, I believe I’ve learned to take care when helping pick pieces; I would want any journal to do the same with my work. Being able to see both sides of the process has helped me become a better staff member and also help me format my work in a way that may in- crease my chances for publication. My awareness on both sides of the process has been very beneficial.”
Polaris won’t turn you away if you’ve never had any editing or magazine experience either when it comes to be a member of their staff. It is a one to two credit hour course offered on Tuesday evenings, and you end up learning more about writing and the production process of magazine publishing than you could’ve ever imagined. Why do I know this? Because I am a second-year pharmacy major with no previous literary experience and Polaris took me in and allowed me to help put together a fantastic literary magazine. But don’t just take my word for it. Pick up your copy when Polaris releases April 25 on Ohio Northern University’s Honor’s Day.