Restructured Helicon seeks prose, poems, pictures to publish

Samantha Nelson

Helicon, Northwestern’s literary magazine, is seeking submissions for its winter issue after cutting and restructuring its staff last year in hopes of improving the publication.

“Basically at the end of last year we had a large staff with a lot of disunity,” said Eileen Korte, Helicon’s co-editor. “There were too many people and there wasn’t any focus.”

Helicon cut back from 30 to 16 staff members at the end of last year, totally eliminating the production and publicity staff in favor of more universal participation in the different aspects of the magazine. The position of editor also was changed to allow one younger student to receive training from an upperclassman co-editor to improve the magazine’s quality and consistency.

Korte and her co-editor, Weinberg senior Christine Choi, required all staff members to reapply last year, placing an emphasis on dedication to the group.

“We wanted to establish who would be able to devote time to the magazine,” said Korte, a Weinberg junior.

Choi agreed that low participation was one of the main problems with last year’s staff. She said fewer than half of the group’s staff members ever showed up for meetings. Distribution and publicity were especially big problems, Choi said.

“Distribution was me and Eileen pushing a shopping cart around campus,” Choi said.

Korte agreed that sometimes responsibilities were not shared equally among the staff.

“Something is wrong if we have 30 people on staff and I’m pushing a shopping cart around alone,” she said about distributing the magazine.

Former art staff member Samantha Starrett blamed poor communication for the staff’s inactivity. She said the group’s meetings sometimes were moved without notification so people didn’t come. Starrett’s application was rejected last spring and she does not plan to reapply.

“I applied before because I did (a literary magazine) in high school and I wanted to stick with it,” said Starrett, a Weinberg sophomore, “but I had a better experience in high school than I did here.”

Choi and Korte said they believe the restructuring has improved the quality of the staff through competitive applications and has made members feel more connected to the magazine and to each other.

“It’s so important that we work together to compile this magazine,” Choi said. “If you don’t have a group that works together and wants to work together, it makes it that much harder.”

Helicon received 35 applications for 16 positions, cutting out many of the former staff members.

“The staff is smaller, but we’re much more efficient,” Korte said. “We did feel really bad while making the changes, but it needed to be done for the good of the magazine.”

Helicon currently is accepting submissions for its winter issue. The magazine will publish poetry, fiction, essays, 2D art, photography and even creative AIM conversations. Written submissions should be e-mailed to [email protected] by Nov. 5 and artists can contact [email protected] for submission guidelines.