Temple’s Hyphen literary review is the best opportunity you’ve never heard of. Scratch that, it was an opportunity — you might have just missed it.
Hyphen is Temple’s undergraduate literary review, and it’s uber-important for the school. What serious liberal arts department doesn’t have a literary review? Lit reviews get colleges known. More importantly, they get students known — sometimes they launch careers.
“The main artists and poets launched by Hyphen are Jaclyn Sadicario and Tyler Antoine,” Hyphen Managing Editor Mark Inchoco said. “Those two Temple students are now major players in the Philly arts scene.
Inocho said the review is an outlet for 15 to 20 classes of creative writing students as well as non-English majors.
“Each year’s magazine consists entirely of the creative output of Temple students,” Inocho said. “We love poetry and photography that explores the way that we as students relate to Philly.”
Inchoco, a senior English major, spends his afternoons reading and publishing poems by us, for us. Good gig, right? Not quite. All semester, Inchoco said he’s been ripping his hair out and subsisting on coffee.
“My goal’s been to create a magazine that sustains a literary community here at Temple. We’re admittedly obscure right now, but that will change,” Inchoco said. “The only hitch is that we have absolutely no money.”
Try steering a publication out of the annals of the English department and into the hands of Temple’s 40,000 students. Sound hard? Try doing that while also rescuing said publication from financial disaster.
That’s right, disaster. A monster threatens to strangle the literary voices of one of America’s largest undergraduate student bodies. It’s called the paperwork monster. Artists and paperwork don’t mix. Here’s the rub:
After confusion with Hyphen’s 2011-2012 printing bill and budget that cost the group its university funding, roughly 500 actively submitting poets lost their shot at publication.
Now, Hyphen can either raise $5,000 or suspend operations entirely, ending a 12-year tradition of annual Temple literary reviews.
How has fundraising been going? Pick up an old oatmeal can labeled “Hyphen’s budget” off Inchoco’s desk and shake it. Hear those quarters clink? Hyphen’s raised funds all right: 8 bucks worth. But Inchoco said he is not deterred.
“We held an open mic at Saxby’s on Liacourus walk from 6 p.m. to 8 on Sept. 15,” Inchoco said. “It was good mix of student poets, fiction writers, musicians, even comedians. We’re hoping to host more open mics as well as a reach-out party sometime in October or November.”
Inchoco’s making all the right marketing moves: email blasts, social media and website development. Heck, if worst comes to worst, Hyphen can always e-publish, right? Inocho said not if he can help it — he’s made it his mission to avoid turning poets into bloggers.
“To ask why Temple needs Hyphen is to ask why people need art,” Inchoco said. “Temple poets need a printed, bound publication to showcase their work. To have a poem that 34 fellow students judged worthy of publication is a serious achievement and deserves more than a few pixels on a monitor.”
Right on, Inchoco. My column, my opinion: Hyphen rocks. Poems rock. Poems by your friends about your city rock. Writing poems is even better and getting them published is the best.
That’s exactly what Hyphen helps you do. If you’d like to publish a poem sometime this year, drop some quarters in the “Hyphen Budget” oatmeal can.
Carl O’Donnell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.