Student-run literary magazine Persona gives students recognition with a nationally renowned publication

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Daniyal Arshad | The Daily Wildcat

Persona, UA's undergraduate literary magazine, allows students and artists to publish their work.

Created in 1978, the undergraduate literary magazine at the UA, Persona, publishes submitted poetry, fiction, nonfiction and visual art.

The magazine is staffed completely by undergraduate students and is a pinnacle part of the creative culture here at the UA.

“Basically, we are a publication sustained and fueled by new artists,” said Samantha Verini, a junior studying English and creative writing.

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Verini is one of the two copy editors at Persona. Verini goes though all the submissions received and helps to decide what makes it into the magazine and what is cut.

Persona’s goal is to create recognition opportunities for aspiring undergraduate authors and artists to be published by a nationally renowned publication.

“Persona is a significant contribution to the university’s creative community because it is open to everyone," said Stephanie Torres, a senior studying English and film and televison. "Any undergraduate student, regardless of background or experience, can be published in our magazine."

Torres is one of the two editor-in-chiefs of Persona, as well as the art director for the magazine.

Torres explains that anyone can submit work to the literary publication. In the spring semester after the February deadline, the Persona staff will go through the submissions and put together the new issue.

Torres said that in between the work, the staff at Persona builds a community through their social events.

“We are a huge creative outlet for new and aspiring artists," Verini said. "Unlike a lot of other magazines, it is free to submit to Persona, and we also give a lot of constructive feedback if you submit early enough."

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Verini said that Persona exists as a springboard for a lot of students, being that the magazine is the first time that many of these artists have the opportunity to be published.

“I think we give a lot of students the confidence to continue submitting, to keep putting their work out into the world,” Verini said.

During the fall, Verini said Persona’s focus remains primarily on marketing and fundraising. Its goal is to spread the word about the magazine through flyers, meetings and workshop classes.

“This semester, we have been focusing on building a presence within the university and we hope to expand Persona to outside of campus,” Torres said.

Torres said Persona looks forward to hosting an open-poetry night in downtown Tucson before finals come around, along with a post-finals get-together before winter break.

Through the years, Persona has received national recognition and awards from the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines in 1980 and the Associated Writing Program in 1993, 1994 and 2000.

Once all the submissions have been sorted through at the end of the year, Persona hosts a release event where the staff gets to meet all of the authors of the published work in the publication.

“If you’re a general member, [the release party is] actually a fun sort of unmasking, because all of the submissions are anonymous until then," Verini said. "I actually saw a lot of people from my workshop classes last year, and it was really fun to celebrate with them. It’s a really great experience and you feel like such an intimate part of the creative community."

Persona also really involves the artistic community—another great creative aspect of the UA.

“Anyone interested in joining or submitting to Persona can get more information from our blog, uapersona.tumblr.com, or join us for one of our general meetings," Verini said. "We meet every Monday at 7 p.m. in the Modern Languages [building], 302."

 


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